Saturday, July 5, 2014

We Were Liars

We Were Liars
E. Lockhart
Delacorte Press, 2014  225 pgs
Grades 9-12
Realistic Fiction

Cadence returns to the Massachusetts island her family owns for the first time in two years since the accident, which has left her brain damaged and in pain.  The story is revealed slowly, moving back and forth from the current summer to the past summer, two years ago, leading up to the events of the accident.  Cadence has selective memories about that past summer and we learn of those crucial events as she figures them out herself.  Through Cadence's journey we meet her extended family and become familiar with the island and the four houses that stand on it.  Most importantly, we meet the two cousins Cadence's age and the boy brought along as a friend, who becomes her first love.  The poetic story takes shape, bringing readers along for the ride, to the thrilling and surprising conclusion. 

It is hard to describe the plot of We Were Liars without giving away what makes it cool.  The book is written like a beautiful, narrative poem.  It starts and ends with the same words, which now make sense once you make it to the end.  Cadence is a broken and unreliable narrator.  Our heart goes out to her.  She takes us on a roller coaster ride as we live life in her skin for 225 pages.  Nothing like one of my favorite teen books by this author, the whimsical The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks, We Were Liars is very intense and dramatic.  It is intentionally and brilliantly crafted and Lockhart really stretches her writing muscles with this offering.  I call this genre "dead-girl-fiction" (where the main character is dead, almost dead, or dealing with a death), but Lockhart offers something new to an overcrowded genre.  Fans of Fault in Our Stars, Thirteen Reasons Why and If I Stay will love this book.  It will easily have an audience.  Already there is much buzz about Liars and teens will be looking for it and eating it up.  I figured out the major plot twist halfway in, but still loved it when it was revealed.  There were still other surprises I wasn't expecting.  We Were Liars will appeal to girls more than boys, but boys will like it too if they give it a try.  The beginning was a little tricky to get into and the characters were hard to keep straight, but Lockhart provides a family tree and map, which was a huge help.  This book is sure to be the next "big thing" in teen fiction and I'm expecting it to be flying off the library shelves..

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