Review: We Were Liars – E. Lockhart

We Were Liars

The story in 50 words or less:

A family, an island, lots of lies. I cannot say any more without spoiling anything. (I tried for so long to put more things into words, but somehow after ten minutes this is the only description I managed without feeling like I’m giving away too much)


My take on the book:

This book was all the hype some time ago, so I decided to not pick it up back then and just wait until everything settled down a bit (and angstily avoided reviews as to not get spoiled, though now I’m getting around to reading the reviews most of them just talk about a big twist nobody saw coming and that’s it, so I needn’t have worried as much). Then I bought the book for my sister and now I’m borrowing it off of her (it’s like gifting a book twice, once to her and once to myself, it’s awesome!).  So I read the book and I liked it a lot. The writing took some time for me to get used to. It also wasn’t the most consistent of writing styles (I think it was intended this way, don’t worry. Sometimes it read pretty easy and at other times it would get a bit choppy. It’s not that I minded either style (the choppy one was of a more poetic variety) but the combination and the switching between the styles just made it a bit harder for me to get into the book.

The characters in the book weren’t a lot to my liking. The main character was very theatric, but then again, who wasn’t during their teens? She calls her cousins (and a friend) the “liars”, though to me it never becomes super clear why. There’s a bit of an explanation there, but for me that just wasn’t enough. I didn’t feel it and it also felt a bit forced. The “Liars” themselves weren’t really all that fleshed out, which is sad, because I think it would have added to the book to get to know more people in the story. We only get to meet other characters on a superficial level. This was a book without a very strong plot (action-wise) and I missed that at times.

But there were definitely some things that I did like about the book. For example: it has a map right at the beginning, also a family tree. I think that was pretty cool and I know that at multiple times in the book I went back to these to see who lived where again and who was related to someone in a certain way. There are a couple of fairy tales in here, not in their original shape but fun nonetheless. I liked the memories to previous summers, it did create a more vivid image in my mind of how these times spent on the island were experienced by the main character. The twist itself was totally unexpected for me and I enjoyed that quite a bit. I also really like how it leaves the reader with a lot of questions about this particular thing (sorry to be really vague, but being spoiler free is hard work!) and how there are some full on discussions about this happening online.

My rating:

3 stars ~ In the end I’m a bit in the middle of this book. I like a decent amount of aspects of this book while I also dislike some other parts. But one thing is for sure: I loved going in blind!


4 thoughts on “Review: We Were Liars – E. Lockhart

  1. I read this one back when the hype was still fairly fresh and gave it 3 stars too, which I was surprised about because it seemed most people either loved it or hated it! Like you, though, I didn’t like everything about it, but I did like some things about it. The only thing is that to this day I’m still not 100% sure what I think of the plot twist, mostly, what I think *actually* happened. I discussed it with some other people and I never felt I had the answer as to whether it was more of a psychological or paranormal thing.

    • I think the writer purposefully leaves that a bit in the middle as to not really push the discussion in any direction. And I’ve heard good arguments for both sides. But it would be nice to know in a way, because it implicates a lot of things for the story. If it was more psychological that would make it more sad, while paranormal would give it a more comforting touch. And that would change the light in which a lot of important moments in the book are viewed.

  2. I LOVE E. Lockhart, but this book was just so-so for me. I thought it was well written, but I will only ever have read it once. I won’t go back and reread, like I do my four and five star books. That happens to be one of deciding factors for a book rating… if I don’t see myself re-reading it, it can only go as high as four stars.

    • As a frequent re-reader I can definitely see how that plays into your rating of books. I don’t think this is a book that I would re-read myself either. It was fine, but I had actually expected so much more after all the rave-reviews it got. I haven’t read any other books of E. Lockhart so I can’t really compare it to any other books. Any recommendations?

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