REVIEW: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Title: We Were Liars
Author: E. Lockhart
My overall rating: 2/5
Get it here from Amazon
First thoughts

This book was kindly given to me by my best friend for my birthday, which kinda makes me feel bad for disliking it so much. But that's what reading is all about, right? Forming an opinion?

'My mum and my sister raved about this book and said I should read it,' my friend said, 'but I don't read books, so I thought I'd get it for you'. At least she wasn't emotionally attached to the book. That way my negative review won't completely destroy her feelings.

Good bits

We Were Liars is a semi-enjoyable holiday read. It is super easy to read, not requiring too much effort to understand the plot (probably because the plot is stupidly boring but we'll get to that later). I could have finished it in a day if life didn't get in the way, so if you're planning on bringing this with you on holiday I'd recommend bringing a back up... for multiple reasons.

The main thing I liked about this book was the plot twist (spoiler-ish alert). I am a HUGE psychological thriller fan when it comes to books and films, and even though I wouldn't say We Were Liars was an actual psychological thriller, the plot twist definitely had elements of one. I've recently taken an interest in Cortazar's work and so when E. Lockhart revealed that not everything is as it seems, I was living for it. It makes you question everything you had read over the last 200 pages.

Bad bits

However, the plot twist is about the only good thing about the book. I'm under the impression Lockhart had this amazing idea for a plot twist without knowing the actual plot, so she wrote the story around the big reveal. This makes the first half of the book just plain boring and quite honestly without a story line because the characters' only purpose is to play a part in the ending. There is barely any character development, leaving all the characters unlikable and hard to sympathise with. I have no idea how so many people cried at the ending! I wasn't attached to any of the characters because it felt like Lockhart wasn't either, so I wasn't actually that bothered when it was revealed they weren't real.

I'm not the first person to question why the title is what it is. It has no relevance to the actual story line - especially because they don't exist, they are a figment of Cady's imagination. Furthermore, why is their little gang called the 'Liars'? What is so special about them? None of them are particularly close given they basically grew up together. There are way too many flaws in the plot line.

Speaking of Cady, she is probably the most annoying 'heroine' I have ever encountered. She doesn't have any redeeming qualities and, as aforementioned, I can't sympathise with her illness because she just isn't likeable. She's just an immature, spoilt, rich girl.

Also, I couldn't help but think Lockhart doesn't really know how to write in the voice of an 18 year old. In the beginning of the book, Cady says she is nearly 18 and yet speaks as though she is 10. Lots of the language is broken and childish. I had recently turned 19 when I read this book and it was almost offensive to think that's how an adult thinks 18 year olds talk. We know how to form proper sentences, you know. The romance between Cady and Gat is also very immature and babyish, but I never really paid that much attention to it anyway (boring, again) so it didn't bother me too much.

Another pressing question: why is there a map on the first few pages? It's not as if Lockhart describes the setting much anyway. The setting is not important to the story line, so why must there be a map in the beginning? Is Lockhart trying to appeal to fantasy fans? In contrast, I wasn't as annoyed with the family tree. However, I think it kind of backfires on Lockhart because it shows just how many unnecessary characters there are. If you need a family tree for a sub-250-page novel, then something's gone wrong.

Afterthoughts

It is very hard to figure out who this book is aimed at. The main characters are all in their late-teens but speak like children. The first half is about the boring, everyday life of a white family while the second half explores much deeper themes of mental health and survival. We Were Liars definitely doesn't compare to other coming-of-age novels (such as Catcher In the Rye, my one true love) and so I'm simply confused and unsatisfied with this book.

To my best friend: sorry I hated it, don't take it personally.

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