Why your next read should be “We were Liars” by E. Lockhart


Joella Torres, Staff Writer

A patrician New England clan decamps to their private island off Martha’s Vineyard for the summer. Of the dozen or so Sinclair family members in residence, “No one is a criminal. No one is an addict. No one is a failure.” Three lies, the first of many, provide an irresistible premise for this ticking bomb We Were Liars, written by E. Lockhart.

All the Sinclair’s are rich, athletic, and beautiful. They have servants, money, and stiff upper lips. They go to the right schools; play excellent tennis; and are as brittle as porcelain; ready to shatter into a million pieces under the strain of rivalry and greed.

This story is mainly about the powerful patriarch and his three beautiful, useless daughters, all of whom drink too often and feud over who will get the biggest slice of the family fortune. Meanwhile, the next generation — Lear’s grandchildren, as it were — raises the moral ante by falling inappropriately in love; fomenting revolution; and refusing to participate in the traditional Sinclair game of vying for granddad’s money.

The novel takes significant cues from Shakespeare’s King Leara tragedy about a king and the strenuous relationships he has with his children. The aforementioned Lear in “We Were Liars” is suitably named after Shakespeare’s tragic character.

The liars of the title are three teenage cousins — Johnny, Mirren, and our narrator, Cadence — together with an outsider by the name of Gat Patil. Gat is handsome, dark-skinned, and charismatic, with passionately held political beliefs such as: “Not everyone has private islands. Some people work on them. Some work in factories. Some don’t have work. Some don’t have food.” Cadence’s grandfather cannot even bring himself to address the interloper by name, but for Cadence, it is love at first sight.

Betrayal is a common theme in this story, with arguments occurring all throughout. Cadence goes through a traumatic journey after a life-altering injury she experienced. She goes from being the rich, youthful, and elegant girl to the pale, emotional, and self-deprecating version of herself. She is abandoned by friends and tells us all how she deals with loneliness.

With the entire book having terrific and in-depth writing, it will be an enjoyable read.