Review: We Were Liars – E. Lockhart

Release Date: August 1st 2014 (Aus) / May 13th 2014 (US)
Published By: Allen & Unwin (Aus) / Delacorte (US)
Pages: 225
Goodreads: Add it to your reading list
Purchase: Click here to purchase

Rating: 5 out of 5

Synopsis: 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 that will leave you reeling.

Read it.

And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

Review: You have all seen raving reviews for We Were Liars, right? The vague synopsis has grabbed your attention? You are wondering what all the hype is about? Both synopsis and reviews are vague, and you want to know more details? Well sorry, you are only going to get vague from me as well. I will tell you what I can, but you really need to go into this book with as little knowledge as possible. The mystery is a huge part of the experience, and wow, what an experience it is!

So here is what I will tell you: We Were Liars follows Cadence (Cady), the eldest granddaughter of a wealthy and distinguished family. Every year they spend their summers on Beechwood Island, where Cady is reunited with “The Liars”, Mirren, Johnny and Gat. On her fifteenth summer on Beechwood Island, there was a mysterious accident. Since then, Cady suffers from migraines and she cannot remember the accident, nor much of the summer leading up to it. But two years later she returns, desperate to seek the truth of what happened two years prior.

If anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE”. Well, here are some truths:

Truth: The writing is astounding. Emotional, raw and powerful. Filled with heartache and love, mystery and determination, suffering and lies. The characters are flawed and damaged, with complexities that are slowly unravelled. Some people may find the writing a little choppy at first, but trust me, you get used to the style and it really draws you in. This book is a nice quick read - but do not think that it is any less powerful for it. You will get sucked into this book, you will feel, you will get invested, and it will punch you in the stomach. The chapters are short but concise and powerful. E Lockhart’s writing is a blend of metaphors and raw emotion - concise and lyrical. Oh, and along the way you are treated to some little fairy tale stories from Cady - I adored these. They were the perfect representation of Cady’s journey.

Truth: Cady is damaged, she is scared and she is scarred- and all of this does make her unreliable. But the intensity of her emotions and confusion shines throughout the whole story. She is privileged, sheltered and suffering. She is scared and she is desperate to find the truth of what happened to her on her fifteenth summer. She will take you on this journey with her.

Truth: The plot is ridiculously clever and intricate. Nothing is as straightforward as it (or they) seem. Family intricacies, sufferings, secrets, feelings and desperation: We Were Liars has it all. At the beginning of We Were Liars you are thrown on to this private island with multiple family members. This can be a little confusing at first, trying to remember which people belong to which part of the family and to which house - but never fear - the book has a lovely map and family tree at the front to refer to if you get a little lost. But I will say, that even though at the start you might be a little confused, this doesn’t last long as you get to know Cadence and the others - it all slips into place nicely.

Truth: The twists in this book totally blew me away. Slowly but surely secrets are discovered about this perfect family, the secrets that they have kept and the lies they have told.


How it ends? Well, I am supposed to lie. So…

Lie: The ending of this book is totally predictable and emotionless.

But I have previously promised you I would be honest with you, so…

Truth: The ending of this book will shock you. It will have you reeling. It will totally blind side you, but yet, amazingly, it totally makes sense.


First love, family dynamics, lies, friendship, secrets, suspense, power and fairy tales; We Were Liars is stunning, in every sense of the word. We Were Liars is unexpected. It is shocking. It is devastating, It is beautiful. It is totally and utterly mind-blowing. We Were Liars is masterfully written, and every word will draw you into this phenomenal story. You will hate, you will hurt, you will love. You will be left speechless and in awe.



“We are liars. We are beautiful and privileged. We are cracked and broken.”

“Do not accept an evil you can change.”

“Be a little kinder than you have to.”

“There is not even a Scrabble word for how bad I feel.”

“If you want to live where people are not afraid of mice, you must give up living in palaces.”

“Always do what you’re afraid to do.”

“Better than chocolate, being with you last night. Silly me, I thought that nothing was better than chocolate.”

“I suffer migraines. I do not suffer fools.”


Please come to back to visit us on 18 August, when E. Lockhart stops by Book Nerd Reviews on her Australian Blog Tour. There will be a Q&A, and an amazing giveaway!!!

What do you think?

  • I read this book two months ago and I’m still thinking about it. When I just finished the book all I wanted to do was scream. The ending was amazing. Well, the whole story was.

    Great review, Kristy !

    • Kristy says:

      Thank you Vanesa. It is a really hard book to review, so I am so glad you enjoyed it!
      It is certainly a book that leaves you stunned, and yes, you continue to think about it long after you have finished. It is very powerful :)

  • Kelly says:

    I absolutely loved this one too. It was incredible and so difficult to review. You did brilliantly. One thing I loved was the writing, the short and choppy chapters drew me in, but as it unraveled, the longer and traditional chapters kept me enthralled. Like you, I was left reeling and still think about it to this day, months later. Brilliant review Kristy <3 Makes me want to reread it again.

    • Kristy says:

      Awwww thank you Kelly! We Were Liars is brilliant, but it is incredibly difficult to review! I was uncertain about how to do it… so your lovely comments, especially that it makes you want to reread it, is so touching - thank you!

  • Leila says:

    I checked this one out of the library and returned it a couple days later after having only read the first ten pages or so. The whole privileged kids on a private island and their so called problems annoyed me. But it seems I missed the point. While your review is vague, it’s still detailed enough to give concrete reasons for me to give it another try. As if my TBR list wasn’t already long enough.

    • Kristy says:

      Wow! Leila, I am SO honoured by your comments! It was extremely difficult to review (you will see why if pick it up again), so the fact that my review resulted in someone picking it up, is the highest compliment possible!!! Especially in the case where you already started it… picking up a DNF is big decision. Thank you so much! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
      Sorry about your TBR list :)

  • I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS BOOK TOO! I can’t believe that ending. Did you cry? Most of us did, and I would have if I weren’t at work :/ oops. I definitely agree with the writing, it takes a little to get used to, but then it just makes the book so much better. It gives it this depth and this tone that is so good for Cady and makes this book so much better. Brilliant review!

    • Kristy says:

      Thanks Gina :) I didn’t cry, I think the roller-coaster of emotions in me didn’t actually know what to do. I think I just sat there stunned for a little while. It is a crazy good book!

  • Romi says:

    Kristy, this was SUCH a good review. It was absolutely phenomonal and now, for the first time since I heard of it, I really want to read this book. You’ve done it! I’m going to keep an eye out for your competition, but also mark it to read and see if my library has a copy. You’ve totally made this sound like an incredible, unmissable read, and even if I don’t like it I thank you for that, because it’s a wonderful thing to be able to do. xx

    • Kristy says:

      Romi, I have no idea what to say to you… besides thank you!!! I am lost for words for the honour you just bestowed upon me. That comment, right there, is exactly the reason why we blog! Thank you so much!!!
      (I really do hope you like it as much as I did)

  • Adrianne says:

    I’ve just read it as well! and I love it :D your review basically sums up what I think about the book :)

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