WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart
Candace Sinclair Eastman lives with her family on a private island off the coast of Massachusetts during the summers. The Sinclairs are rich, powerful and well-respected. Coming from a family of such distinction, there will always be a bunch of offspring rebels – The Liars – Candace’s cousins, Mirren and Johnny, as well as their friend, Gat. The four of them together are known as The Liars.
Something terrible happens that summer when Candace was fifteen, but she can’t remember. She gets splitting headaches and gets sick all the time. She takes medicine to dull the pain but nothing ever works. She has to wait until the migraine subsides, which could take days. On the days she does feel better she has a hard time remembering what exactly happened that summer. She knows something terrible happened that changed her family forever…but why can’t she remember…?
Welcome to the beautiful Sinclair family.
No one is a criminal.
No one is an addict.
No one is a failure.
…and I saw Gat, and I saw that rose in his hand, and in the moment, with the sunlight from the window shining in on him, the apples on the kitchen counter, the smell of wood and ocean in the air, I did call it love. It was love. – page 15
We looked at the sky. So many stars, it seemed like a celebration, a grand, illicit party the galaxy was holding after the humans had been put to bed. – page 21
Mirren. She is sugar. She is curiosity and rain…. Johnny is he bounce. He is effort and snark… [Gat] He is contemplation and enthusiasm. Ambition and strong coffee. – page 65
I avoided being alone with him, too, because my whole body sings to be near him, because every moment he makes is charged with electricity. – page 123
My mother and her sisters were dependent on Granddad and his money. They had the best education, a thousand chances, and a thousand connections, and they still ended up being unable to support themselves – page 161
Review (My thoughts):
I kept seeing this book everywhere. I follow a lot of book blogs and everyone was saying how fantastically creepy it was. And I am a sucker for all things fantastic and creepy. So, I gave in. And I am very glad that I did. We Were Liars is about a filthy rich family. Period. But the layers underneath the money are so disgustingly great that it makes you realize how much money can’t buy.
E. Lockhart did an amazing job of character development. Candace was fine with the life she was living. It was normal for her to go to summers at the lake house, and she loved the fact that her parents/grandparents/aunts/uncles could buy anything they wanted, whenever they wanted. Until she met Gat, Johnny’s friend. An Indian boy who didn’t look like the rest of the Sinclair’s. Candace fell for him. He began to point out all of the things she’d been missing about her family. How rich they were; how he was unwelcome; how so many people in the world starved while they spent their summers lounging on private beaches on yachts; how her family was falling apart at the seams because her aunts had never make provisions for themselves. They were content being housewives and never having to work until the money ran out. And that’s when things got ugly.
The Liars – Candace, John, Mirren and Gat decide to do something about it. They were sick of their parents squabbling over the trust fund that had been promised to them. They had begun forcing their kids to be nice to their grandfather just so they could get the upper hand in his estate. All of it – everything – was about money.
I loved the imagery in this book. It’s so realistic and descriptive. The language is beautiful, sometimes to a fault. I took some of what Lockhart was saying literally. There was a part in the very beginning of the book where the narrator said her father pulled out a handgun and shot her.
But, it was just a metaphor to tell how Candace was feeling. I knew then not to trust the “literalness” of the writing in the book. So when Candace mentioned that she “bled” or something to that effect, I immediately went “not literally” in my head. That sucked, because I hated the unreliable narrator. BUT Candace had also lost her memory so it makes sense that she would say some things that weren’t literal, after all, she didn’t know what was reality and what was a lie or a dream.
I did not see the ending coming at all! I was floored. When Candace remembered what happened that summer I nearly missed my stop on the train I couldn’t stop reading! Lockhart does a wonderful job giving us little nuggets of truth wrapped up in Candace’s dreams. So when the truth is revealed everything hits you all at once!