BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

We Were LiarsGet ready: E. Lockhart‘s latest is apparently the young adult read of the summer. That John Green cover endorsement alone should sell endless copies. So when everyone is chattering about what happened, you’re going to want to join in.

An aging, wealthy, widowed patriarch spends his summers on a private family island off the coast of Massachusetts, where he holds court over his three divorced daughters and their children. Of the grands, the first-born (and therefore heir-apparent) is Cadence Sinclair Easton, who makes up one-quarter of the eponymous “Liars.” Inseparable since they spent their first summer together at age 8, the foursome includes Cady, her cousins Johnny and Mirren, and Gat. Gat belongs, more or less, to Johnny, whose mother’s boyfriend is Gat’s uncle. Gat’s Indian heritage unmistakably marks him as ‘other’ among the pale, entitled, exclusive islanders.

Part “Beauty and the Beast,” part King Lear, even a touch of Wuthering Heights, the Sinclairs of Beechwood play out quite the drama of class, race, and privilege. The three trust-funded daughters are clearly competing for wealth and position, even arguing over their dead mother’s linens and jewels. One sister actually refuses to marry her devoted, non-Aryan partner for fear of (rightfully so) losing her substantial cut. Granddad Sinclair both disdains and feeds the discontent, threatening that a posthumous Harvard building might be a better investment than his squabbling progeny. Prodded by their manipulating mothers, the grandchildren, too, have their roles to play.

And then there’s Gat … one of these is definitely not like the others. Because during “summer fifteen,” everything changes. Cady survives a horrible accident, with no memory of what happened. The resulting traumatic brain injury makes eating, sleeping, just basically functioning, a day-to-day challenge. After two years of trying to recover off-island, Cady demands to return to Beechwood and be reunited with her Liars. Once there, moments and snippets slip from Cady’s crippled memory, until the searing truth finally bursts forth.

Go ahead: give in to your curiosity – how can you stand not knowing what happened? To speed you along, might I suggest you go audible? Adriadne Meyers hits teenaged bewilderment pitch-perfectly. Whatever else you need to do – work, commute, serve the kiddies, walk the dog – just push ‘play.’ That need-to-know urge will prod you relentlessly forward.

Readers: Young Adult, Adult

Published: 2014


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