Hello there! Okay, this review is late, because I literally finished ‘We Were Liars’ by E. Lockhart, A WEEK AGO TODAY, BUT, last week I was in a meh mood, still am, if I’m being totally honest, but I knew I should at least take those meh feelings and use them to write something. Alright, enough rambling. I need to talk about this book because OH MY GOD.
I did enjoy reading this. The chapters were short and sweet, but laden with loads of story. But I will be honest in saying that there were a few things that bugged me. So the story is told through the point of view of a preppy, wealthy seventeen year old girl named Cadence. The story opens up with Cadence reminiscing about the summer of her fifteenth year. Something happened to her, and she doesn’t quite remember what that is. The only thing she lets us know in the beginning is that one night, during that summer, Cadence wakes up on the beach alone.
Throughout the novel, Cadence goes back and forth between summers current and past. She tells of spending her childhood summers at her grandparent’s summer beach homes on the island of Beechwood in Windmere. For some reason they have three beach houses which is like, MUST BE NICE, but also, how would you not feel small like a piece of furniture, barely used knowing you have 3 beach houses to occupy? (That’s just me) Well, Cadence comes from a pretty wealthy family so that’s why.
Cadence lives in Vermont with her mother. Her father left them a year before. Cadence spent her all of her childhood summers with her cousins Johnny, Mirren, their younger siblings, and Johnny’s friend, Gat, whom comes along with Johnny the summer of their eighth year and returned every summer since. The flashbacks to these early childhood summers reminded me of my summers growing up, spent at the local pool with my cousins and sisters or spending a week at my aunt’s mother in law’s lake house. Those summers will forever be engrained in my brain because at the time I thought they would go on forever. It always seemed that the closeness of our relationships with one another would stay the same way forever. Sadly, they haven’t and it’s something I wish for and reminisce every day.
Okay, back to the book. Cadence takes a liking to Gat over the years. When they’re fourteen, Gat and Cadence kiss for the first time even though Gat has a girlfriend back home in New York. I really liked Gat. He’s a very honest character and he didn’t shy away from talking about the truth. One day Cadence’s grandfather sees Gat and Cadence kissing in the attic and he tells Gat “to watch out for his head on the way down the steps”. Gat realizes he is saying this because Cadence is the oldest of the family and she is the one to inherit the money and estates, something her mother reminds Cadence of constantly throughout the novel. Cadence assumes he means the low ceiling, but Gat knows what he really meant: “stay away from my privleged, white, granddaughter you poor, Indian boy!” (this part made me angry and was the straw the broke the camel’s back in terms of my dislike of the grandfather in this story)
Another thing I liked about Gat was that even though Cadence was pretty clueless about what her grandfather said to Gat in that moment, Gat knew that her grandfather didn’t really enjoy him being there and he tells Cadence later in the novel that she doesn’t know him or about his life back home in New York. They’re from different worlds, and she needed to understand that who he is on the island is not who he is in New York. Cadence takes time to process what he says and she eventually confronts her grandfather about this which I loved.
I did like Cadence’s character a lot because she come to the realization that she is a member of a very privileged white family. There’s a moment where she decides to give away a lot of her things, partly because her mom hates when she does so, and also because she realized that she has so much and that not every teen her age is in her position. The feeling of realzing who she is from a privleged standpoint and not wanting to turn out like her mother and family is an inducement for what happens towards the end of the story.
Cadence suffers from bad migraines due to a brain injury. Cadence spends the present summer back on the island. Only half the time she spends it in bed taking painkillers and trying to remember why things are different from they used to be. Her mother and aunts spend every day drinking and fighting over the houses and her grandparent’s things. Her grandfather can’t seem to remember her name. He keeps calling her “Mirren” as if Mirren weren’t there too. I don’t want to spoil anything in the novel. But I will say that a few things are not as they seem. And the ending is kind of twisty. All in all, I’ll give it a 4/5 stars.
The writing was good. The only part that annoyed me a bit was how Cadence talked to and about her cousins and Gat. It was too polished and refined for a seventeen year old girl in my opinion. However, I did enjoy this and it is a good, quick read, especially for the lat spring/summertime. I reccomend it if you like tories that make you think and twists at the end.