Pick of the Week: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Cady, Johnny, Mirren and Gat -- the Liars -- were four inseparable teens who spent every idyllic summer together since they were 8 on Grandpa Sinclair’s private island off Cape Cod. Each family had a separate home and dinners were served every evening after cocktails by their grandparents’ cook at the big house. Cady is the beloved granddaughter of the proud and wealthy patriarch and she is reminded regularly to maintain a stiff upper lip because she is one of ‘the’ Sinclairs, whose ancestors were some of the first settlers in New England. World travel and the Ivy League are assumed to follow high school. Life was good.
Yet, two summers earlier, known to the family as Summer 15, Cady had been found one evening
floating in her underwear on one of the island’s private beaches, and is still unable to remember why she had been there in the first place. A traumatic brain injury is the cause of her memory loss and of her debilitating migraine headaches, according to the myriad of doctors Cady has seen since. As much as she tries, Cady cannot remember anything about Summer 15 or what had caused her accident. Now it’s Summer 17 and Cady will be going back to the island, hoping that being there again with the rest of the Liars will help her
remember her accident and perhaps help her heal.
The story of Cady and her family is full of twists and turns, unreliable narrators and is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Cady is a strong yet wounded character and the reader goes along for the ride as she describes the summers her family spent together and feels Cady’s frustrations as she tries so hard to remember what caused her accident. She tries to get answers from others who were there, but her extended family is having serious problems of their own, and so she withdraws into her pain and continues to puzzle over the events of Summer 15. As Cady begins to remember bits and pieces, the reader also begins to realize what really happened that night.
I could not stop reading We Were Liars until the ending and what an ending it was! Brilliantly plotted and wonderfully written, this book will appeal to adults and teens alike. It would be great for book discussion and excellent for mother/teen daughter book groups since there is so many family issues to be chewed over. Highly recommended.
Ellen Jennings, firstname.lastname@example.org