Review: We Were Liars

We Were Liars by E Lockhart

Page Length: 277 Pages

Rating: 2 Stars

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.

After hearing great things about this book, I was so excited to read We Were Liars. I was expecting excellence and a phenomenal novel. Instead I got a confusing unoriginal story filled with pretentious characters. 

The Writing

I can't determine if I liked the writing. The first person point of view was quite convoluted. The way that the story was told was so unfeeling and gave no emotion. It was cold, empty. Sometimes I was confused and unsure as to what was happening in the book. I wasn't sure if it was actually happening or if Cadence was having an hallucination. The prose was a bit irritating at times. The imagery was way too descriptive and some scenes were described in way too much depth. The dialogue was not natural at all and didn't flow. The writing style is unique and quite different from most other books I've read. Without giving much away, I'll say that I like and appreciate the various aspects of writing used in this book. The foreshadowing. The flashbacks. The giveaway sections. The fairy tale stories. As much as I liked the various writing styles, I was a bit unimpressed and bored. Valiant effort, it didn't help the story at all though. Lockhart's writing style reminds me of Tahereh Mafi's in that both have unique (to YA books) writing styles. Both writing styles are descriptive and strange. The styles are great and interesting at first and then they become repetitive and annoying. 

The Plot

The storyline was unoriginal and way overused. Something tragic happens to the main character, but she can't remember what happened. Hmmm sounds like Mara Dyer and basically every soap opera ever filmed. Amnesia is way overused in books. I've read many variations of this plot in other books. I was disappointed. Lockhart could have done so much more, she could have branched off the plot and enhanced it, made it better. I felt as though this book went nowhere for most of the book. The plot was dragging in areas.  

The Characters

I can easily say that I didn't like any of the characters in this book. Some were greedy and spoiled while others were aloof and ignorant. None of the characters were likable. They weren't even realistic! No one in reality behaves or speaks as the characters in this book do. I do admit though, some of these characters are quite descriptive and deep. 

The Liars - I don't understand why they're called the Liars. They don't even seem that close. They don't have the familiarity with one another that they should have since they grew up together. They aren't cute. They're not funny. I don't understand what the appeal is. Apparently they are troublemakers. At least that's what the author wants us to believe. They're really not causing trouble though. They kind of just sit around and spew out random awkward conversations.

Cadence - This girl is so whiny and thinks she's brilliant and wise beyond her years. I think we're supposed to feel bad for her, but she's really just got rich people problems. Poor you. 

Gat - He's arrogant and thinks he's smarter than everyone else. He's insightful, I'll give him that. His character was the most interesting, and he had depth. I found him fascinating, I just didn't like him as a person. 

Johnny & Mirren - Both dull and boring. Their lack of care and thoughtfulness disgusts me.    

The Sinclairs - Geez this family is so screwed up. I really didn't like the Aunts, the Littles, or the Grandfather. They were annoying, self-centered, and just plain evil. And they had funny names ;)

The Enjoyability

I really just didn't like what happened in this book. Usually I can find a couple of moments that I love in each book that I read. I honestly can't say that about this book. I had to push myself to continue reading. I can't count the number of times I dozed off while reading this short book. I felt that basically nothing happened.

The Hype

Everyone claims that this book is "so original" and that the ending is "crazy" and "unexpected." I think the hype got to me so I expected more out of this book. If I'd gone into this book without feedback from fellow readers I might have liked it more. I think that once you expect excellence from a book it seems even worse when it doesn't live up to your high expectations as opposed to what your views would be if you hadn't heard previous praise. I can't help but feel that everyone likes this book because of the crazy ending. It reminds me of Romeo and Juliet. People hold that book in high acclaim because the main characters die. When something tragic or unexpected happens, society tends to love it. Everyone loves the Titanic movie... I feel that everyone likes this book because it's "different" and "dark." 

The Confusion/Rant Session *spoilers, highlight to see text*

[spoiler]So she was imagining the Liars the whole summer 17 (present day)? Her family didn't think it was strange that she always by herself, talking to thin air, spending time in that creepy house alone? What about all the things that they did together in that present summer? The cliff jumping, going to town.... It just doesn't add up. It makes no sense. Also: What fools decide to light a house on fire, better yet, what fools decide to douse the place in gasoline and then light the fires while they're still in the house? I'm not sure these people should be called The Liars, I think they should be called The Idiots. It's totally tragic, and I felt bad for the kids but still... [end spoiler]

The Ending

It was a bit mind blowing but then again it felt underwhelming at the same time. I was thinking "that's it?" There was really no physical solution, although maybe spiritually now she's found peace? Who the heck knows. I really was not impressed with the ending. The climax and denouement happened so fast, it seemed as though Lockhart just tried to finish as quickly as possible. The ending was sad (or maybe uplifting in other peoples' eyes), and it reminded me why I dislike reading contemporary. This ending reminds me of those killer endings where it ends with "And then I woke up," and then I chuck the book across the room. I felt that the ending could have been reached so much earlier in this book. I feel conflicted, while everything helped add to this crucial ending, I felt that the ending also destroyed everything that happened before and made it less meaningful.

We Were Liars is a dark convoluted beach read that will keep you guessing until the end.

What were your thoughts on this book? These are just my opinions on the book, and I'd really like to know yours! Comment below :) 


  1. Oh no, sorry you didn't like it! Now I'm a bit scared to read this. Great review!

    1. Thanks! I wish I'd liked it. It seems to be a half and half, some love it, others hate it.

  2. I am still excited to read this myself. I think that if you go into this book with high expectations you will most likely be let down, so I'm going to do my best to not remember all of the hype this book has before I read it.

  3. Sorry you didn't like it D:
    Awesome review though. I heard some great things about this book on Booksplosion, but now I'm really hesitant.

    1. Thanks! I didn't like it, but I think it's more of a matter of personal taste. I didn't like the writing while others love the writing, I didn't find the book enjoyable while others did, I didn't like the ending while others love it. I think you still have a good shot of liking it.

  4. Aw, I am sorry you didn't like this one. I have heard some mixed reviews, people either love it or hate it it seems. I am still excited for it, at least to be able to weigh in. Hope you enjoy your next book more!

    1. Thanks! Yeah I wish I liked it, but many others have. :)

  5. I actually really liked this one, but I can totally see how you may not have, because it was definitely odd. I really want to re-read it now after finding out the ending, which I was actually really ok with.
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it! It was quite odd... Yeah after reading the ending, it makes you rethink the whole book.

  6. Awh, shame you didn't like it. I loved it, the eeriness just worked for me, and I did love how it was written, it just gave it that atmosphere. Though, I can see why you didn't like it, and it's definitely not for everyone.

  7. I didn't care for it much either. When the ending came I was like, is this a supernatural book??

  8. Hi Rachel! First off, thanks for linking your review of WE WERE LIARS for the Kids' Next List Summer Reading Challenge at The Hiding Spot! Feel free to link more eligible reviews for extra entries.

    I'm sorry you didn't enjoy this one more. It was a really good fit for me, so I ended up loving it. I think part of the reason that I enjoyed it so much was that I went into it knowing absolutely nothing (I hadn't read any reviews, though I had heard it was a 'must-read') and, right from the start, I assumed I wouldn't like the Sinclairs.

    Fantastic, well rounded review! Thanks for sharing!

  9. I was contemplating whether to buy this one or not because of all the hype. Thanks for your review! I think I'm still going to check it out the ebook. :)


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