We Were Liars

By E. Lockhart,

Book cover of We Were Liars

Book description

The TikTok phenomenon and #1 New York Times bestseller.

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends-the Liars-whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars…

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Why read it?

12 authors picked We Were Liars as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

E. Lockhart's book is a really stunning blend of tragedy and mystery, set against the backdrop of a seemingly perfect, affluent family.

The story revolves around Cadence Sinclair, a young woman who spends her summers on her family's private island. After suffering a traumatic head injury, she struggles with amnesia and is desperate to piece together what happened during the summer of her accident.

The narrative is both haunting and beautifully poetic. It makes the shocking truths that slowly unravel feel even more impactful. What I love most about this book is its deep dive into themes of family, privilege,…

From Jane's list on YA books for any age reader.

I wasn’t sure what to think of this novel. I picked it up in a bookstore after reading the back cover with no recommendations from anyone. I should do that more often.

This book pulled me in quickly with its well-crafted mystery and buildup of suspense. I thought I knew what was happening, who to suspect, who to love, and who to despise. I didn’t want to put it down. Then, in the end, the author turned everything upside down and broke my heart.

It left me questioning the validity of my perceptions and my own reality for a long…

From Lori's list on thrillers with twists.

This novel is told in first-person, following the story of Cadence, who suffers an event that leaves her with scattered memories of her fifteenth summer at her family’s prized island.

My daughter loved we were liars because of the mystery, family, and friend relationships, and plot twists. She told me that it fills its readers with contentment and sadness. Lockhart paints such a scene that she felt as though she was watching the story unfold before her. 

I found this book interesting because life was so different from anything I had ever experienced. 

E. Lockhart spun a tale of how bonds are built among children. How to a child it is the parents who build the social walls. How it doesn’t matter what material your clothes are woven from, lies are lies. Privilege doesn’t mean anything when a crime is committed, or a marriage is destroyed.

Children are dragged around the dirt of the secrets and soon become their own secrets and lies. Every turn was a building block of different social aspects and the lives it…

We Were Liars follows Cadence Sinclair of the picture-perfect Sinclair family as she returns to her family’s island off the coast of New England for the first time since her tragic accident a few summers before. Because her memory is faulty post head wound, she doesn’t remember her accident. As Cady puts together the pieces, so do we. Read if you love unreliable narrators, prose so strange and lovely you’ll want to frame it for you wall, and old money families with secrets.

OK, I admit, I’m cheating a little with this one because the plot doesn’t technically mess with time, but the storytelling itself does since the narrator is remembering events that happened in the past. This is one of those Big Ending Plot Twist stories so I can’t say too much, but the thing that happened in the past has everything to do with the present in a way that completely blew me away. Wildly clever plotting (something I find super hard to do well). I loved this book. 

From Carolyn's list on that mess with time.

This novel’s ending is everything! But it wouldn’t be as powerful without Lockhart’s lyrical build-up. It’s best to go into this one without knowing too much. But, without spoiling anything, the novel involves privileged teens who take matters into their own hands to stop their mothers from fighting over the family assets. Unfortunately, the consequences of their plan are devastating and far-reaching.

Speaking of normal-seeming families that aren't, in Emily Lockhart's beautifully written young adult novel, every member of the wealthy Sinclair family is made to repress any unhappiness for image's sake.  Cadence suffered a head injury in her fifteenth summer and has only just returned to the family's summer estate in her seventeenth. Still recovering, she finds piecing together various secrets and lies even harder than usual... This is a great one to read if you're being gaslit by family members who are more afraid of word getting out than of you getting sick from secret keeping! (Always know that your…

I never got to study Shakespeare’s King Lear at school so I missed that this is a retelling of the tragedy when I first read it. But I’m not sure if it mattered. If you want a book that makes you gasp as it reveals itself, almighty twists and turns and “OMGs” then this is it. I wish I had written it! Amazing.

I picked up this slim YA novel, which one of my kids had brought into the house, without knowing anything about it, and that may be the best way to read it. It’s about a teenage girl named Cadence who spends her summers on her family’s private island with a close-knit group of friends and cousins. But during the summer when she’s fifteen, Cadence is involved in a catastrophic event that remains hazy and fragmented in her mind. A riveting book, beautifully written and utterly compelling.

From Carolyn's list on characters dealing with grief.

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