In “We Were Liars” – What You See Isn’t What You Get

Young adult novel keeps you guessing


Ally Snow, Contributor

The young adult book “We Were Liars” by E. Lockhart (an alternate pen name used by adult fiction author and picture book writer Emily Jenkins) has become a New York Times best seller. Lockhart has had some other notable works such as, “The Ruby Oliver Quartet” and “The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks,” which won a Printz award honor book and Cybils Award for best young adult novel.

The story follows Cadence “Cady” Sinclair, a 15-year-old member of the Sinclairs, a rich, beautiful, athletic and privileged family. There is only one problem; Cady has amnesia. She narrates the action as she tries to figure out how she lost her memory. Cady doesn’t know and neither does the reader.

We follow Cady’s thought process as she struggles to remember how she lost her memory.

— Alyssa Snow

The title “We Were Liars” might make you wonder who the author is referring to, especially since it is about a girl with amnesia. How would she know? Perhaps it is because the Sinclairs are liars. They make everyone believe they are perfect, but they are far from it. The Sinclairs have been plagued by addiction, death, and tragedy, but they hide it. So, everyone thinks everything is just fine.

This story’s style is surprising. At times it can be poetic, like when Lockhart describes Cady’s cousins as “bounce, effort and snark,” or “sugar, curiosity and rain.” Other times the words express choppy thoughts that come to Cady as she suffers from terrible, amnesia driven migraines. We follow Cady’s thought process as she struggles to remember how she lost her memory.

I would tell you how it ends, but in an author’s note Lockhart writes “If anyone ask how it ends just lie.” I suggest you read it to find out what happens, because this book will leave you guessing until the very end.