Today I’m reviewing We Were Liars by E. Lockheart. If you’re a fan of this book, you may not want to read on…
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.
I have tried to read this book several times but I’ve never made it past the first few pages mainly because of the writing style. I gave it one last chance and finally made it to the end but there was more than one occasion where I wanted to give up.
I genuinely disliked this book which is rare for me. I quite often read books that underwhelm me or just aren’t my thing but it’s unusual for me to have such a strong, negative opinion about a book. I think the last book I read that caused a similar reaction was 13 Reasons Why and that is going back a long time.
I had two main problems with this book, the first being the characters and their background. I don’t know when or why ‘rich people have problems too’ became a trope in YA but it is just not needed. The world doesn’t need more books about rich people suffering. Its always the same, the protagonist comes from a ridiculously wealthy family, but their family doesn’t understand them, or they have mental health issues, or their family is fractured. We’re then supposed to feel sorry for the rich kid because ‘look how hard they actually have it despite having millions of pounds and a private island’, but I don’t understand how a reader can be expected to do this as the characters and the story weren’t relatable (unless of course you’re extremely rich with your own private island in which case, my bad). There were also far too many characters in this book to keep tabs on. It unnecessarily complicated what was already a difficult story to follow.
The second problem I had was the writing style. Having studied modernism at University and suffered my way through Ulysses, I just don’t care for books that are written using little to no grammar and seemingly incoherent sentence structures. I just don’t find it enjoyable to read. You can get a sense of what I mean just from the synopsis but if you’re struggling, think of those ‘poets’ you see on Instagram whose poems consistent of half-written, spaced out sentences and you have the structure/writing style of We Were Liars. I know that some people love this style of writing but I’m more of a classical kind of gal, give me proper sentence structures over this any day of the week.
Now you might be thinking, why is she tearing this book to shreds when she gave it a 3-star rating? Or, how bad does a book have to be for her to give it 1 star?
Well, one thing this book did exceptionally well was to completely take me by surprise. I never saw the plot twist coming. It wasn’t even that when I got near to the end I started to figure it out, I genuinely had no idea it was going to happen or that there was even going to be a plot twist which is some amazing storytelling on E. Lockheart’s part.
This is what earned We Were Liars 3 stars and made me think, perhaps I should have just listened to the audiobook.
Thanks for reading! I know this book is popular so please accept my apologies if I’ve just slated one of your favourite books. If you’ve read this book let me know what you thought (good or bad) in the comments below!