Written by: e. lockhart
Publication Info: 2014, Delacorte Press
One Line: The damaged Cady, a teen from the beautiful and rich Sinclair family, tries to piece together what happened during the summer when she was 15 and suffered an accident that caused amnesia.
Brief Summary: Cady (Cadence) is one of the grandchildren in the wealthy Sinclair family, and every summer, the family gathers on their private island off the coast of Massachusetts. Each of the three daughters of Harris Sinclair, Cady’s grandfather, has her own named house on the island and Cady’s grandparents live in another. When Cady is 15 – summer 15, as she calls it – her father has just left her family and her grandmother, who tied everyone together and was the only one to do any charity work, has just died. Cady starts the summer by spending it with her two beloved cousins, Johnny and Merrin, also 15, and Johnny’s best friend Gat, who has been coming to the island over the summer with them for years. But as the aunts start to fight over their inheritance, and Cady starts to fall in love with the Indian Gat, things begin to change. Two years later, Cady is trying to figure out what happened that summer and struggling through horrible migraines, as at some point that summer, she had an accident, hit her head, and can’t remember anything else.
Thoughts: I have been hearing so much buzz about We Were Liars for months now – from book bloggers, on podcasts, on “upcoming reads” lists – that I could not wait to read it. When I realized it was being released on May
It is also a good book, a mystery/thriller in which to give away too much of the plot is to do a disservice to future readers. Of course, the more a person hears that, the more they will expect, and the book might not be as surprising, but so it goes. The language is simple but beautiful, and it evokes perfect youthful summers on the seaside very well. Fairytale retellings are interspersed throughout, suggesting the fairytale quality of this life, but also that fairytales can, and often do, go horribly wrong. Descriptions of Cady’s migraines are metaphorical and intense. Cady’s amnesia is a metaphor for her family’s unwillingness to face their problems, glossing them over and almost seeming to forget them – the way they do not mention her grandmother at all after her death, for example, not allowing anyone the opportunity to really grieve. The book at once suggests that greed can be your undoing, but not to mistake living sparsely with goodness; another theme is to “be kinder than you need to be.” More than that, though, it actually highlights the destructive nature of adolescent impulsiveness, and instructs us to cherish our loved ones and realize that sometimes, doing the thing that scares you is not the right way to go.
This is going to be a big book, and readers will surely be divided on the “twist,” but there is no denying its power.
Author Information: From www.emilylockhart.com: “I am the author of We Were Liars (May 2014), Fly on the Wall, Dramarama, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks and the Ruby Oliver quartet: The Boyfriend List, The Boy Book, The Treasure Map of Boys, and Real Live Boyfriends. How to Be Bad was co-written with Lauren Myracle and Sarah Mlynowski.
Disreputable History was a Printz Award honor book, a finalist for the National Book Award, and recipient of the Cybils Award for best young adult novel.
I currently teach at Hamline University’s low-residency MFA program in Writing for Children.”