Monday, April 28, 2014

We Were Liars, Big and Small

"Always do what you are afraid to do."

The Have-Nots always assume a life of privilege is easy, happy, carefree. Money buys happiness, right? Or does it lead to more problems? In e. lockhart's We Were Liars, a girl born into privilege experiences the last summer of her innocence, however feigned it may be. 

Cadence is coming back Beechwood, her family's private island off the coast of Massachusetts, but this summer will be different from the previous summers. This summer isn't carefree. This summer won't be the same even with The Liars. This summer she is recovering. After her accident where she was found washed up on shore with no memory of what happened and the same night her grandfather's house on the island burned down. Now it has been rebuilt, and her aunts and their families are in their respective houses, and Cadence and her mother have returned to their house, Windmere. The problem is the island is haunted by something deeper and darker than just the burning of a house and a lifetime of memories. Something darker happened, but Cadence can't remember anything from that fateful night. 

While her mother obsesses about what Cadence eats and her sleeping habits, Cadence is only interested in the Liars. While she was gone, recovering, she emailed them. Her cousins Johnny and Mirren and Johnny's "stepfather's" nephew, Gat, are the only ones who truly understand the life of a Sinclair. While Gat is technically still (and always will be) an outsider, his summers on the island over the year have given him an insight into their lives that no one else could understand. For Cadence, Gat is the one who could both understand where she comes from and take her away from it all in one fell swoop. Gat is different. But the truth of the night of Cadence's accident hangs over the Liars. As her memories become clearer, she gets closer to the truth and all the nightmares it contains. 

They Were Liars, but most importantly, they couldn't lie to themselves. The Liars saw the darkness that lay within the privileged life on Beechwood, and it was controlling their lives. Their mother's and their family had suffered in ways that couldn't be quantified, yet there was an air that they didn't deserve the sympathy, which set the backdrop for this really amazing story. I have to admit that even I struggled for a bit with this wavering sense of pity and envy. You have everything! How could you want more?! But as you got closer and closer to the big twist, it was hard to even put the book down. The book was written in this beautiful, poetic, deep, flowing language that made me feel like I was a wave lapping at the shore of the island. It was quite the tumultuous ride to get to the end of this book because there was so much depth and bittersweet beauty, it was hard not to linger. 

When you read this book, be prepared to get bowled over. It takes no hostages. Cadence is a deeply damaged girl who can't dig her way out of the carefully medicated oblivion her accident left her in, and the rest of the family is no better. I think I would give this book to those students who needed something to think about, something to ponder, because they will certainly find it in this novel. It is rich with emotion and devastation that can't be fully explained here, so go out and get a copy. You will understand what I am talking about!

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