We Were Liars

Zoe N. | May 5, 2014 | Review

We Were Liars


A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friendsβ€”the Liarsβ€”whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.
Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.


We are Sinclairs.
No one is needy.
No one is wrong.
We live, at least in the summertime, on a private island off
the coast of Massachusetts.
Perhaps that is all you need to know.

We Were LiarsΒ is an incredibly difficult book to review. Not only because I loved it so much – that’s certainly part of it – but because I want to write a proper review, but I don’t want to spoil anything. It’s the type of book where the less you know going into it, the more rewarding your reading experience will be.

All I’m going to say about the book plot-wise is that it’s about a rich, powerful family named the Sinclairs who live on a private island. We Were Liars follows four friends who have nicknamed themselves “The Liars” – Candace (our narrator and the protagonist), Johnny, Mirren and Gat and how their friendship is torn apart by a series of bad decisions, lies, and greed.

Honestly, I can’t tell you much more than that in fear of spoiling something – even a minor detail – but I can promise you that the endless twists and turns this book takes are all absolutely amazing and completely mind-boggling. Everything in this book serves a purpose, and it all comes together in the end to create a horribly sad and tragic ending.

Character-wise, We Were Liars is as close to perfection as possible. Every character has depth and dimension. There are no stereotypes or underdeveloped characters. Each character has an intricate backstory that makes it easy to see how they have evolved into the person they are, and their motives and their personalities make absolute sense. From each of the four Liars to each of the Sinclair family members, each and every character was amazingly well-done. Not to mention that almost every character is harboring either a secret or are pretending to be someone they’re not, and that makes the story all more intriguing and fascinating.

There’s certainly been a lot of hype regarding We Were Liars, and I think what it comes down to is the writing. The writing is definitely something I can see as being a hit or miss for some people (Emily May’s review brilliantly describes why the writing didn’t exactly work for her), but, personally, I absolutely loved it. It’s choppy and is sometimes written in fragments, but it’s so eloquently and beautifully done. I found it worked perfectly for the type of story Lockhart was going for, and the way she was able to write so beautifully and almost embed suspense into her writing was wonderful, and it was certainly the highlight of the story.

All in all, due to the writing, We Were Liars is certainly not for everyone, but if it clicks with you – as it did me – it is an absolutely beautiful and heart-breaking tale, and I can’t recommend it enough.

Or who knows?

Maybe I’m just lying…

View Spoiler »



    1. There’s definitely been some mixed reviews and I reckon it’s because of the writing style, but if you click with it, it’s a fabulous book! Yeah! Glad to hear it’s moving up on your TBR list! πŸ˜€ That makes me so excited!

      Thank you for the lovely comment Marianne! <3

    1. Thanks Lauren! I’m so glad you enjoyed it as well! I’ll definitely be on the lookout for your review! <3

  1. Wow! How can I resist this one now? The setting sounded great in the synopsis but now I’m really sold. I’m a huge fan of twists because I love being surprised! (In books!) *suspiciously looks around* haha. Great review Zoe πŸ™‚

    1. Yeah! Glad you’re sold Alise! <3 Twists are awesome, right? Especially if you can't predict them, that makes them all the better! πŸ˜€ Haha!

      Thank you!

  2. Oh lovely, lovely review Zoe! I am really hankering to read this book but it won’t be released in Australia for a few months, I need it now! I love how reading it will be a wonderful discovery and experience. Thanks for the awesome review, Zoe!

    1. Thank you Jeann! C’mon Australia…let’s hurry it up! Haha – just kidding, but really…
      Thank you for the lovely comment Jeann!

  3. OMGGG WOW!!! I’ve recently heard about this book and everyone’s been raving about it! I can tell while I’m reading this, I’ll be creating all these possible endings/resolutions/reasons but I’m going to absolutely dumbstruck by the twists and the actual ending! Brilliant review Zoe<3 I';m really looking forward to reading this! (Let's hope I win the book on GR hahahaha!)

    1. It has been getting quite a lot of hype, eh? πŸ˜‰ Hope you end up being as dumbstruck by the ending and twists as I was…gosh, my feels have been forever destroyed!

      Thank you! πŸ˜€

      Hehe…I’ll have to go hack the Goodreads system for you! πŸ˜‰

  4. What a marvelous review, I am so happy it is on your shelf next to your other great recommended books. Just by the title of the book I wasn’t too sure about reading it, but after your review, I am sure it will be on my to read list and soon. Thanks for your lovely review, I love reading your reviews about good books because it helps me in making a good choice of books for enjoyment. Have a beautiful day.

  5. Okay, when I first saw this book, I somehow knew that I wouldn’t really feel that I would like it. But you’re review definitely made me curious. In a way it reminds me of a classic novel I knew (But I don’t remember the name, sorry! :D) The fact that the writing is different is what draws me in. I wonder if I’ll like it tho. Can’t wait to share it with you when it happens πŸ˜€

    1. Yeah! Glad you’re at least curious now Jules! Sometimes different styles of writing can be intimidating, but this was definitely beautiful and nice. Can’t wait to see what you think! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

  6. I’d read a book that has a lot of character development and depth! For me those are the vital factors in contemporaries; without those it would be like bread with no butter, you know? Okay, that probably doesn’t make any sense. It’s just that contemporaries don’t need stuff like world-building and politics, so they’re mostly character-driven. I’m glad to know that this one doesn’t disappoint in that aspect!

    1. Haha…that makes perfect sense! πŸ˜‰ If you’re looking for lots of characterization and depth, you’ll definitely find a lot in here! πŸ˜€

  7. I should read this, huh? I’ve seen this book getting loads of positive reviews, and even though your review is quite vague, it makes me want to feel excited about the release of this book! Adding this to my TBR pile and wait for it to come out πŸ˜€ I didn’t request an ARC of this, but I wish I did!

    1. Yeah! Glad you’re intrigued Dre! (Sorry about the vague review…this is the kind of book where the less you know going into it, the more you’ll probably enjoy it! You’ll understand what I mean when you read it). Super happy to know it’s on your TBR though! <3

  8. wow what a beautiful review! I’m so impressed! You really make me want to read it to discover the settings, the world, the characters. Everything sound perfect. I think it’s the first review I see about this one and I think I’ll have to check this one out! Lovely review darling.

    1. If you like twists, this has some heartbreaking AMAZING ones! πŸ˜€

      My pleasure! πŸ˜€ Thank you for the lovely comment! <3

  9. I’m really happy that you managed to connect with this one and that it just clciked for you and you liked it but for me…it just didn’t work! I don’t want to say much because i don’t want to spoil anything but my main problem was that i couldn’t connect with the MC and guessed the endings *hides*

    1. Aww…sorry you didn’t enjoy this one as much as I did! πŸ™ You…guessed the…ending? How Lily? How? Haha… LOL! But I guess I can see how you might not enjoy the story if you couldn’t connect with Candace as much as you wanted to.

      Thank you!

  10. “I can’t tell you much more than that in fear of spoiling something – even a minor detail.” – this. This is what EVERY review I’m reading is saying. You’re making me even more damn curious. I mean, as if I wasn’t craving this book enough already now I’m like AHHWHATHAPPENSTHATISSOMYSTERIOUS?!

    This book is checking every possible book for me right now and I haven’t even read it: unique pose, gorgeous setting, marvellously written characters, mysterious and intriguing plot.

    Thanks for the awesome review, Zoe!

    1. Haha! That’s what made me want it in the first place, so now I can rub it in other people’s faces! LOL…just kidding! πŸ˜‰

      Yeah! It’s passed the Allie checklist! Woo-hoo! πŸ˜‰

      Thank you for the lovely comment Allie! <3

  11. OMG YOU GAVE THIS BOOK 5-STARS???!!! I absolutely KNOW I’m going to adore it now. But haha. I’m SO buying it because I don’t want to have to review it! Everyone is giving this super vague reviews, and it is working because I desperately need it…but I can’t imagine trying to review it. x) I skimmed bits of yours, even, because I want to go in not knowing anything. EXCELLENT REVIEW, ZOE. YOU SOLD ME.

    1. Oh goodness…pressure, pressure!
      Haha…this was probably one of the hardest reviews I’ve ever had to write! I didn’t want to give away too much, but I didn’t want my review to be too vague. It’s a delicate balance, a delicate balance indeed.
      YEAH! Hope you enjoy it Cait!

  12. Now you’ve done it. Set my expectations so high they will never be reached! Haha, just kidding… I expect them to be reached. I’ve had this book on request from the library for about 3 or 4 months now and feel like it’s taking FOREVER to come out. I appreciate the vague but still awesome review =)

    1. Oh goodness…that’s a lot of pressure on a girl! Haha, just kidding! Hope your expectations are met though! πŸ˜€

      6 more days! πŸ˜€ We’ll all be anxious together, okay?

      Thank you! <3 (Sorry about the vague review…this is the kind of book where the less you know going into it, the more you’ll probably enjoy it! You’ll understand what I mean when you read it).

  13. This is the first honest-to-goodness glowing review I’ve seen for this book. Much have grumble on the oddity of the writing – which, if I may be honest, is what probably would draw me in to reading a book.

    Great review, Zoe. I’m adding this to my pile. πŸ™‚

    1. Yeah! I’m the first! πŸ˜€ I can definitely see how some people might not enjoy the writing. It can be hard to click with, and if you don’t click with it, the whole story just simply falls a little. Personally, though, I really loved it so I think that was what made me love this book so much!

      Yeah! Glad you’re intrigued Joy! <3

  14. This is interesting to read. I’ve heard some negative things about this book, but you make it sounds promising. I might go ahead and read it after all πŸ™‚ I especially like the mysterious characters with their secrets πŸ˜€

    1. There have definitely been some mixed reviews, but I’m glad to hear I’ve intrigued you Mel! πŸ˜€ If you’re into that sort of thing, this is definitely something you’ll (hopefully) enjoy! <3

  15. Sweet! You considering this book a favorite of yours is praise enough. I love that the characters are almost all harboring secrets and there are so many twists.
    The quote you gave makes me think that even though others don’t like the writing I will. Kind of reminds me of Tahereh Mafi’s writing or maybe I’m thinking about the Shatter Me series too much lately. Great review!

    1. πŸ˜€ Aww…thanks Adriana! If you’re into that kind of thing, this is definitely something you should check out!

      Yeah! If you click with the writing, that’s pretty much what makes the story the awesomeness that it is. It reminds me of Mafi’s writing too – some people liked it and some people didn’t, and that’s definitely reflective in the reviews. πŸ˜€

      Thank you!

  16. This book sounds so brilliant and beautiful, and the more the hype builds, the more excited I am to finally read it. Your review made me anticipate it even more. I love it when you read a book and can’t help but note the setting – it makes the book atmospheric and absorbing. I love how you ended this review, but I, for one, hope you are NOT lying. πŸ™‚

    1. Yeah! Glad you’re excited to read it! I agree – not many books focus on the setting, but this one did, and it certainly pays off.

      Haha…thank you! πŸ˜‰

  17. Lovely review. But still I am unsure whether I’ll love the book or not. Could it somehow be a realistic fiction? I do love twists, but I always hate slow writers. I’ve never been quite a fan for slow developments nor do I like straight to the points. So hm….I’m afraid now. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. πŸ™‚


    1. Thank you Chyna! Yes, it is a realistic fiction story. πŸ˜€ It’s not quite a slow read; just the 2nd half is faster paced than the 1st, but it’s not an action packed book by any means – it’s a character driven story through and through.

      No problem! Anytime! πŸ˜€

    1. Thank you Carmel! I’m glad it sounds up your alley as I know it can be very split. YEAH! πŸ˜€ No problem – anytime! πŸ˜€

  18. I have read some mixed reviews on this one and like you said this book won’t appeal to everyone. I am most curious about the writing because I am always such a sucker for unique and beautiful writing. I must check this out now. Thanks so much for your review.

    1. It definitely isn’t for everyone. It depends on your writing tastes; and whether you’re able to adapt to new and unique writing styles. If you’re a fan of beautiful and unique writing, this is definitely something you should check out! πŸ˜€

      No problem! Anytime! Thank YOU for taking the time to leave such a lovely comment.

  19. Gah! Writing a review was so hard for me too. Mine was basically so, yeah…it’s good. I loved how not knowing anything going into makes it a better read. Plot wise I really loved it, I just wish there was more character development. I was like meh about the characters.

    1. It’s SO hard to write a review for this one. It’s a balance of trying to include as much information and details as you can, but at the same time trying to keep everything as vague as possible so everyone can go in blind. I personally loved the character development, but I guess I can see where you’re coming from. πŸ˜€

  20. Ahh this book *runs around hyperventilating* I agree, one of the best books I’ve ever read and that ending twist was epic in all ways. It makes complete sense now, doesn’t it? LOVE LOVE LOVE

    Brilliant review, Zoe! <33

    1. YES! SUCH A GOOD BOOK, RIGHT? <3 Yes! It absolutely does. It was like a light-bulb moment for me - haha!

      Thank you Mel! So glad you liked it as much as I did! πŸ˜€

      *Fangirls with you!*

  21. It’s going to sound pathetic, but I’ve had this book for months and still haven’t picked it up! I love Lockhart’s novels, but the mixed reviews surrounding this have made me SO SCARED. I just need to suck it up and pick this up this weekend, though, and hopefully it’ll join Tiger Lily on my shelves as one of my favorites. Lovely review! πŸ™‚

    1. It’s not pathetic at all Keertana! I completely understand! Hopefully you end up enjoying it! Thank you!

  22. I really loved this one too and it’s one that’s so hard to review bc of spoilers – you did good though! I loved the characters, too – even though it took a while to get the large number of them and their families straight haha. I’m glad you loved it too, Zoe!

    1. Yeah! Glad you enjoyed it as much as I did Giselle! <3 Aww...thank you! It's so hard because as a reviewer, you honestly want to give a thorough review, but like you said, it's so easy for spoilers to slip out... 😐

      Haha - I agree. πŸ˜‰ That aspect of things kind of almost reminded me of the characters in The Westing Game, because it’s so hard to keep track of everyone, but once you do it’s fabulous.

      Thank you!

  23. Ahhh, there’s so much hype surrounding this one that I’m almost scared to read it. All of the reviews I’ve read thus far mention being afraid of spoiling something. SO THAT MEANS SOMETHING HUGE AND PLOT TWIST-Y MUST HAPPEN. Aghh. I’m so curious and excited to find out what it is. I’ve got this one ready for my roadtrip to Vegas tomorrow, I’ll be reading it and probably be dying from emotions. That’s what your review suggests anyway (: The snippet of writing included in this review also makes me believe I’ll enjoy this one and its writing.

    Great review! I can’t wait to read this one omg. Everything about it seems wonderful.

    1. Larissa- don’t be scared to read it!

      Darn it! I can’t keep anything from you! [spoiler]Yes, something big & twisty does happen.[/spoiler] Oooh! Yeah! I look forward to hearing what you think when you return! πŸ˜€ If you click with the writing, that’s pretty much what makes the story the awesomeness that it is. πŸ˜‰

      Thank you!

  24. OMG Zoe, you are such a tease! Every reviews I’ve come across for this book says the same thing “you’re better off not knowing” or you’ll be spoilered. NOOOOO! That in itself is WAY too interesting, and has me hooked already. I’ve just sent through my request for a copy for review, so hopefully I can join you on this bangwagon soon! xx

    1. Muahaha! πŸ˜‰ Actually, that’s one of the reasons I requested it in the first place. Between the summary and the early reviews, everything sounded so interesting!

      Yeah! I’ll be crossing my fingers for you! Hope you get a copy so we can discuss it together! xx

  25. I loved how you ended your review, Zoe! πŸ˜€ I’m reading this one now, and like Emily, I’m not really loving the writing. I really like the setting, though. It’s pretty interesting. We’ll see if I end up loving it. πŸ˜‰

    1. Thank you Aimee! <3
      Aww...sorry you're not really feeling for the writing. πŸ™ I think that's where most people got thrown off by this one, but I hope the setting and the characterization (and a certain evil plot twist at the end of the book!) makes up for that.
      I hope you do! <3

    1. It’s definitely been getting quite a few mixed reviews, probably because of the writing. Yes, it’s absolutely just like that! πŸ˜€ I hope you enjoy it too Bee! *crosses fingers*

      Thank you! <3

  26. Incredible review Zoe, you had me at all time favourites. The location and world building sound fantastic and love an author who puts thought and time into developing her characters properly. Can’t wait to read this one, your review has me chomping at the bit.

    1. Thank you Kelly! πŸ˜€
      They are SO fantastic! And I agree…yeah for authors who have awesome characters! πŸ˜€
      Thank you! πŸ˜‰

  27. I think you’re the first person that’s actually managed to REALLY get me to consider reading this one. I don’t know if it’s the hype, or just the premise, but I haven’t been interested in it at all until now! I think the writing could work for me, and I absolutely love the sound of the setting. I’m glad you enjoyed this, Zoe. A great review, as always! πŸ™‚

    1. Really? YEAHH!!! Haha!

      It really all comes down to the writing, so if the writing sounds like something that might work for you, than definitely give it a try Sam! The setting is quite amazing, so I can’t wait to see what you make of it as well!

      Thank you! <3

  28. I’m glad you liked it Zoe! The setting was definitely fantastic and I loved the friendships. I was able to guess what had happened early on so that unfortunately contributed to how I felt about the book. I can definitely see how amazing it is to others though. Great review πŸ˜€

    1. Thank you Charlotte! I’m so glad you found the setting intriguing as well. It was quite fascinating, right? And yes! The focus on friendships was AWESOME, as that’s not typically something we see in YA.

      Charlotte…you…guessed the…ending? HOW?

      Thank you!

  29. Amazing review! I reviewed this review and had the EXACT same problem as you did. I struggled so hard to review it because I loved it so much, but because I also did not want to give even one little detail away. Such an amazing, beautiful book, it had me sobbing at work.

    I absolutely fell in love with E. Lockhart’s writing, even if it took a little while to get into. At first, her metaphors through me off, especially near the beginning where I thought a character actually did something horrific – I stopped reading in shock – but once I continued I realised my mistake and felt like an absolute idiot.

    Brilliant review, you’ve not given anything away but you’ve probably intrigued people so much that they’ll have to pick this up. I hope so, this instantly became one of my favourite reads too.

    1. Thank you! Gah…I’m so glad to hear that! I thought I was the only one. Obviously, as a reviewer, you want to lay everything out and explain everything, but on the other hand, you want to be vague as well. It’s definitely a delicate balance. πŸ˜€

      I know! Such a sad, beautiful book, right? And that ending was just cruel!

      I agree. It was a bit hard to jump in to, as it isn’t the style of writing I’d normally read, but once I got into it it was absolutely beautiful.

      Thank you! πŸ˜€ That means so much! Hopefully everyone ends up enjoying it as much as we both did!

    1. Yeah! So glad you’re hooked Lily! <3 Your enjoyment of the book really all comes down to the writing, so if the quote I used worked for you, definitely give this a try!

  30. I skipped reading your review and jumped straight to your ratings, I was avoiding any spoilers(sorry!). I was planning on reading this book this week and it must be really good because I saw you mentioned that this is now one of your favorite books. And after seeing your high ratings, I am now more excited to read this one!

    1. It is fabulous! I’m so glad you’re excited, and I hope you end up enjoying it as much as I did! Thanks for stopping by!

  31. Oh fantastic review!

    You know why I think the hype around this book is so high though? It’s not just Lockhart’s fantastic writing (which I do agree is a hit or miss), it’s the fact that EVERY review I have come across, everybody has kept to keeping it as vague as possible so as not to spoil it.
    I am so grateful to everyone for that and so far I think we’ve done a great job of lying so that when people get to the end, they are as amazed as we were.

    1. Aww…thank you Jaz! <3

      Absolutely! That's actually why I was intrigued in the book in the first place. All those vague reviews are so darn tempting! Haha, yes! πŸ˜‰ Muhaha...they're in for a treat when they finish!

  32. Aw πŸ˜€ Amazing review sweetie! And that quote! I love it. <3 Thank you for sharing. I'm so glad you loved this book. It sounds AWESOME. But I am worried, lol. But I love the cover so much. Sigh. Gorgeous.
    Thank you so much for commenting on my blog a while ago. <3
    Love, Carina @ Carina’s Books

  33. OH MY GOD, ZOE! Thank you so much for the FANTASTIC review! I’ve wanted to read this book since I first read the synopsis and saw everyone falling in love with it – now, your review has got me even more excited for it! Let me just say, I am so, so glad that I ordered it last week. I can’t wait to read it! Thank you so much for sharing. πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you for always leaving such lovely comments Ebony! <3 Glad I've made you excited! πŸ˜‰ And YEAH! You ordered a copy! Hope you enjoy it! <3

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