Cadence Sinclair is part of a beautiful, privileged family that spends its summers on a private island. In her own voice, Cady tells us all this, and also how she fell in love with Gat in summer fifteen. There was a group of teenagers on the island, three cousins (Cady, Johnny and Mirren) and Johnny’s friend, Gat. They spent long days in the sun, fooling in the water, eating, talking. Occasionally they would spend time with their respective mothers, (three sisters), or their wealthy grandfather from whom their parents stand to inherit a fortune, or their smaller cousins ‘the littles’. Cady tells us all about it, but there are gaps in her recollections, bits she can’t quite recall because one summer she had an accident on the island. Now her head hurts all the time and her memories don’t quite fit together properly. Maybe Gat, or Johnny or Mirren can help her piece them together again?
It has been a long time since I was 16. But I can remember the summers when we all hung out, recovering from exams, drinking, being lazy and falling in love. I expect our parents wondered if we would ever morph into fully-functioning adults. We weren’t liars, but we were languid and detached, breaking away from our childhoods. E Lockhart captures that time beautifully in this book. Cady’s narrative is flawed, but somehow that makes her more credible.
I did have one criticism, which was the use of an allegorical fairy tale woven at intervals throughout the text. It seemed clumsy and unnecessary. With the author’s obvious talent, I’m sure she could have found a more effective device. Nevertheless, this was an engaging read which I really enjoyed. Internet reviews are mixed, but I loved it.
The book is apparently in the ‘Young Adult’ fiction genre So, if you are looking out of your window and can see a teenager mooning dreamily in a hammock, you could do worse than chuck her (or him*) a copy of ‘We were Liars’. It will be the perfect accompaniment to a coming-of-age summer. Stand by with tissues though, as there is a twist which may end in tears.
(*tbh I am not sure if this is a teenage him kind of book, but I may be wrong).