Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Title: We Were Liars
Author: E. Lockhart
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication date: May 13th 2014
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

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 is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

(Image and summary taken from Goodreads.)


This book told me to lie but I am going to be honest with you and tell you how much I disliked We Were Liars. Which is a huge disappointment for me because I have been an E. Lockhart fan for a really long time, her Ruby Oliver series was pretty much my teenage Bible. But no matter how much I liked E. Lockhart's other books, I could not muster up even the slightest bit of like for this book and I did not even bother trying to. Everything was just wrong.

A lot of people will tell you how absolutely amazing this book is or how completely genius it is but all I felt while reading it was irritation, frustration, confusion and a constant feeling of self-hatred because I was forcing myself to finish reading it (unfortunately, I never DNF books). The hype for We Were Liars is incredible and when you look at the book in bits and pieces, it works but as a whole, it felt like E. Lockhart took a bunch of random things that should never go together and threw them all together and hoped that she got enough pieces right to make a bestseller. There was a obvious disconnect between the prose, the characters, the plot and the whole "Liars" business.

About ninety-nine percent
the book
was written like
and oh my god,
I did not
understand why
why are you
so damn

If anyone tried to speak to me like that, I would most definitely smack them in the face for being so pretentious and annoying. Can you imagine around 200-plus pages of this kind of narration? The book was filled with these kinds of streams of thoughts and I wondered what the use was, the way Cady narrated the story did not even have a significance to the story. It felt like a cliché oh I'm a damaged protagonist so let me speak in a "lyrical" but actually annoying way to add more mystery to myself. Too much purple prose for me, sorry (I'm not sorry). It was really tiring reading that. The only reason I managed to last to the very end was because of the "insanely crazy/amazing/genius plot twist" everybody was talking about. I barely held on.

I was also really confused as to why they were called "Liars" in the first place. There was no explanation or even a small hint as to why they called themselves that. E. Lockhart mentioned in an interview that she wanted to create a name for them that would solidify and connect the four teens as a group but I never saw that or even understood it. The cousins and Gat literally just spent the summer together and that's it. (Also, lots of teen girl angst about whether he likes me or not.)

And now for the controversial twist. I am going to be honest and say that I never expected it. Nor did I appreciate it when all was finally revealed. The reason I did not see it coming was because of the obvious disconnect between the narrative to the twist itself. There was a certain flow the story was following, it was smooth albeit really boring but the stream was there and then E. Lockhart suddenly hits you with this insanely random twist which just felt out of place. It felt like E. Lockhart knew that her book was boring so she decided to look for and use a last-ditch twist to save her book. I was left unimpressed and really disappointed. And I have a question, was Cady pretentious even before the twist or was that an effect on her?

Reading We Were Liars was a learning experience for me: one, that not all books that will mind fuck you are good reads and two, my tolerance for pretentiousness is not as high as I thought it was. Even though I really did not enjoy We Were Liars, I feel like there is still a big audience that will like it so I recommend that readers still try it out to see for themselves.