So if you haven't heard of We Were Liars you clearly don't spend enough time in the book blogosphere. This book has been circulating like wildfire through book blogs, booktube and goodreads. And for some unknown reason, I'd been putting it off and off and off, until I saw it on sale in K-Mart the other day and bought it. I'm glad it was only $9, because I read it in a few hours.
We Were Liars is about a brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy; a boy who is bounce, effort and snark and a girl who is sugar, curiosity and rain.
In some ways, it is about a family. In some ways, it is about a mystery. In some ways, it's a story of friendship, and of love.
I don't want to say too much, because it's really the sort of book you want to go into knowing very little. But I definitely recommend it; I'll give it 4/5 stars.
So go read it if you haven't, then come back here to read my review and discuss!
Woah. Just woah. I'm typing this approximately fifteen minutes after reading the very end of the book, and I'm still dumbfounded. My brain is ticking and whirring, trying to piece everything together and just understand everything I'd missed.
First of all, however, I'm going to talk about the characters. There are some books where the main focus of the novel is the world it's set in, or the actual storyline and events. However, there are some books, and I'd argue that We Were Liars is one of them, that focus on the characters, and their interactions and the way they deal with certain events.
The characters in We Were Liars were an essential part of the story. In fact, they were half the story. And so I was so thankful that they were so interesting and fleshed out, that they were all very different despite being cousins. I loved the way they interacted with one another, the way they accommodated each other and were all so close.
If you've forgotten, there are four main characters, the "Liars". There's Cadence, our narrator, who went through some mysterious accident and cannot remember the entirety of her fifteenth summer on her family's island; there's Johnny, the snarky, energizer bunny of the group, the outdoorsy, show-off type; there's Mirren, the calm, collected and rational peace-maker; and then there's Gat, not part of the family, very different but still very much a Liar.
I found Cadence to be rather annoying throughout the majority of the book. I don't quite know why; maybe I found her whinny and frustrating, or maybe it was because she couldn't remember things I wanted her to. One thing that really annoyed me about her was that she was giving all her things away for "charity". It was clear to see that she was giving those things away not because she was charitable, but because she was using it as a coping method, a symbol of rebellion from her wealthy, worldly family. However annoying I found her, however, I eventually managed to adapt to her narration. Despite finding her annoying, I was easily able to slip in and out of her narration style. It was clear and neat, but still beautiful and a bit poetic at times, yet still managing not to be pretentious and hard to understand. She was also very mopey, and after finishing it, you understand why, but during the book, her mopey-ness was a tad frustrating.
I really liked all four of the Liars. I love best friends and family, and I love watching their relationships strain and evolve following a disaster or something of the like. Hence why I just wrote a book about that sort of thing for NaNoWriMo 2014! (shameless plug for my novel which should be available for download sometime next year, before June... I'll let you know when). But despite loving them all, I often found Johnny and Mirren to be like the rest of their family, where Cadence and Gat definitely weren't. Johnny's love for expensive things, Mirren telling Gat to stop talking, were just two events that showed they were still very attached to the Sinclair family, whereas Cadence was already on her way to leaving and rebelling.
However, all the Liars were wonderful, and I think my favourite would be Johnny, surprisingly enough. He was not annoying like Cadence and Gat, but not as faint and pale as Mirren. Mirren, due to her "being sick", was rarely around, and she just didn't make hilarious jokes or say things that made you want to keep reading. She was kind of wishy-washy, but I did love her relationship with Cadence, and I would've loved more scenes of them together. I don't have a female cousin my age, and so it was interesting to see the dynamic and they way they interacted.
I found Gat to be a little vague at times. Overall, I did love him, and I thought Cadence and him were very cute, but he was always standing in between Cady and the accident. Of all the characters, now I look back on the story, he would've been the one to give it away (had I had any idea of how the book would end). It annoyed me that he never discussed why he left, or what had happened to him and Raquel, which I understand now, but during the book, I didn't. Throughout the book he was just very distant, more distant than I would've liked him to be. But don't think I don't like him, because I definitely, definitely do.
The whole Sinclair family were puppets controlled by Harris, or as we know him during the book, "Granddad". Snr Sinclair, as I shall call him for convenience, was just not a very nice person. Blackmail in general is not cool, but blackmailing your family is something that just made me sad. The fairytale parallels throughout the book were perfect, just perfect, and they worked brilliantly. It was easy to compare Snr Sinclair to the father figure in them all, the King, or the merchant. And the three aunts were easily compared to the three daughters. Everything about the family was sort of fairytale-like, and so these parallels, and the fact that Cadence was slowly using the fairytale stories to piece together her memory again, was just brilliant.
I just wished the aunts would move off that island, get their own places, their own jobs and stop being spoon-fed by their father, and on that note, I could relate to Cadence's frustration. Like, they needed to grow a backbone if they ever wanted to leave the emotional and stressful life of being tormented by their father.
Now the ending, what you've all been waiting for. No, I did not, in any way, see that ending coming. I genuinely had no idea what would happen, but whatever whacked out conspiracies I was coming up with, they were certainly not that.
I did not think Gat would die. Nor did I think Mirren and Johnny would. And so when I found out that not only were they going to end up dead, but they were already dead, I kind of died a little myself. In fact, I'm pretty sure my heart stopped beating. I didn't even believe it. I thought she must be lying to herself now, haven't Mirren, Gat and Johnny been a critical part of the story? Of the family? I couldn't even believe it. When I realised that this was, in fact, the truth and the dreaded, infamous end to We Were Liars, I knew I'd have to read it again. Read through the whole thing again, realising that three of the main characters were figments of the narrator's imagination. And I will do that, at some point probably next year.
I don't know how I feel about the ending, not that it makes me sad, but that it was just that I sort of felt they'd died for shock factor, but all in all, this novel was amazing and spectacularly crafted, and definitely a story I am cranky for not writing myself. There you go kids, the take-home message from today's review.
Thank you for reading my review! I hope you enjoyed it. I apologize for being so absent lately, I've just been so busy and I've fallen into a bit of a slump. Hopefully as I read more in the break, I'll have some more reviews for you!
Leave your thoughts and ideas about We Were Liars and also any books you think I should read over the holidays and I will read them. Also, if you want to contact me to talk about anything or recommend a book, you can send me a tweet/dm @lilypherondale, leave me a tumblr ask, sherlockcrumpets.tumblr.com, or leave a comment below ^.^
Since it is once again the end of the year, you can look forward to some Best Books of the Year posts and a summary of every book I've read this year (so far, I've read just under ninety, I was aiming for 100, but you know, work and etc really get in the way), and also a holiday reads post. So look forward to that, and I'll see you very soon!