I used to consume books by reading them and finishing them as quickly as possible. I have my reading phases wherein I will read 4 to 5 books consecutively just so I can avoid the empty feeling associated with finishing a book and left with nothing else to do.
Now, I’m trying to change that by slowing down and reflecting on the book I just read by doing book reviews. This is my second book review and I hope I can improve as I go on.
I will also categorically state that while I am not against spoilers (I usually read the summary whenever I can’t stand the suspense anymore), I will not include any spoilers in my book reviews. Spoilers are easy enough to search in Wikipedia and Goodreads.
What made me read it:
I am forcing myself to read books other than my usual contemporary romance YA reads. This book is a bestseller with a lot of good reviews from critics so I thought it would be a great read and will provide a bit of a challenge and something to think about.
A 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.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award finalist, and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.
The book is written from Cadence Sinclair’s point of view. It revolves around an elite, old rich family, the Sinclair’s, and the summers they spent in their private island, Beechwood, in Massachusetts. The Sinclair’s include Grandpa and Grandma, their 3 beautiful, blonde daughters and the grand kids. There are four houses in Beechwood, the main house is Clairmont which belongs to Grandpa and Grandma and 3 houses for their daughters – Windemere, Cuddletown and Red Gate. The eldest of the grandkids is Cady, followed by Johnny, then Mirren and the rest are what they call the “littles”, the younger batch of Sinclair’s. During the year when Cady, Johnny and Mirren were eight, Johnny’s friend, Gat (who is a nephew of Johnny’s mom’s partner), started to join them in the island. They call it Summer Eight and that’s when the family started calling the four of them the Liars. Eight months before Summer Fifteen, Granny Tipper died. Right before Summer Fifteen, Cady’s dad left her and her mom. During that summer, Cady realized that she is in love with Gat and Gat is in love with her but Gat has a girlfriend back home. After that summer, things fell apart. Cady got into an accident, she doesn’t remember what happened, she got sick, sufferred migraines, and had to take a break from school. Gat didn’t visit her. Johnny and Mirren won’t answer her calls and emails. On Summer Sixteen, they didn’t let her go back to Beechwood and instead she and her dad went to Europe. On Summer Seventeen, they let her go back to the Island. She saw her Liars once again. She found out that her granddad had completely replaced Clairmont with a New Clairmont. Everybody, even the littles, are still keeping their mouth shut about Summer Fifteen and she is determined to find out. The rest of the book deals with Cady trying to recall what happened until finally, the truth is revealed and it is just better to lie about it.
The book depicts a family who seemed so perfect on the outside and in order to maintain that picture perfect image, they need to hide their feelings (even among each other), ignore and forget the bad things by using money as cover and act normal – always, even when it hurts. I like the rawness of the Sinclairs. They are beautifully messed up and I believe they are real. How some people raised by money actually end up unsuccessful. How they will fight each other on the littlest of things because they don’t know how to live without it. How one incident can automatically bond them together and make them remember that family is still family.
The finest thing about this book, however, is the Gone Girl twist – I didn’t really see (or even guessed) that one coming. And it is only because of that that I think this book is okay. I am an impatient reader and I don’t see the purpose of all the other chapters leading to the big reveal. I think it was just put there to heighten the suspense. I really didn’t get a lot from this book. The writing is just okay. I can’t relate with Cady, she is just weird. Her relationship with Gat is equally weird. It seems to me that she was bound to fall in love with Gat because Gat is the only non-relative on the Island. I didn’t feel any romantic connections between them. Everything seems forced in order to make a story or a climax similar to Gone Girl. Granted, you will really be surprised but I think it is easy to twist the facts or to make your story go that way to lead it to that big climax. If it is an original idea, I would be in awe but since the author said that she was inspired by Gone Girl, then I guess it is just that – okay.
How it made me feel/Takeaways:
Bored. Spoiled. Surprised. Calm. At the end of the day, family is still family. There are more important things than money. If we are in it together, we should all be responsible and be held accountable even for one person’s mistakes.
Johnny, he is bounce, effort, and snark.
Mirren, she is sugar, curiosity, and rain.
Gat, he was contemplation and enthusiasm. Ambition and strong coffee.
Rating: 3/5 I can’t even use my hearts because I don’t like it. It is only because of that twist that I said it was ok. Otherwise, it would have been 1/5. Maybe some books are not just meant for me.