We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

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We Were Liars explores the dynamics of the dysfunctional Sinclair dynasty – a rich, beautiful family full of old money and dark secrets. The novel is centered on the almost eighteen-year old Cadence Sinclair Eastman. Two summer before the novel begin, she experiences a traumatic event while summering at Beechwood Island. But in the aftermath she has no memory of what happened and the family is keeping it all quiet. She is kept from the island and extended family for two years under the pretense of healing before convincing her mother returning is what she needs to fully recover. But everything has changed.

Every summer the family, headed by the patriarchal grandfather along with his three daughters and their children, summers on a private island off the coast of Massachusetts. Growing up the island was a safe place where everyone was happy and everyone had fun. She ran around with her cousins and dogs, careless. Now the adults are grim and her cousins are whispering about her behind closed doors. So she sets out to uncover what happened several summers before and discovers this perfect family has a truly ugly side.

Throughout We Were Liars, money, greed, and power play large roles. As Cady slowly uncovers what happened to her, the reader gains greater insight into the family history and dynamics. Familial wounds cut deep and the Sinclair family is bleeding out. Right and wrong may seem very black and white but to the Sinclairs everything is tainted and altered by money. Cady learns to resent this addiction and forms her own opinions of what is right and wrong, but are her views any better? The reader follows Cady as she matures, gaining two years of lost memories in the six weeks she has to discover what happened to her and what her secrets her family is hiding.

The chapters are short and fast-paced. The mystery will keep you turning pages until the tale is completely unraveled. How good are your own detective skills? Can you determine what happened to Cady before the plot twist at the end reveals it all?

By Grace Molino

Citation: Lockhart, E. We Were Liars. New York: Delacorte Press, 2014.

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