Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

July 22, 2015 Review 77 ★★½

Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Source: Borrowed
Pages: 240
Release Date: May 13th 2014
Genres: Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Family, General, Social Issues, Young Adult
A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—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.

If I were being generous, I would probably give this book 1.5 stars on its own. It’s that ending that made me bump it up a star.  WE WERE LIARS is a story about…summer? Youth? Lies? Guilt? I’m honestly still not sure.

“Do not accept an evil you can change.”

The only real lie in WE WERE LIARS is that it doesn’t really contain any lies. Maybe I’m wrong, but I was expecting these characters to be notorious liars and get up to all sorts of nefarious deeds but…no. Why were they called liars? No one really lied? We are just TOLD they are liars. I guess they lie to themselves? View Spoiler »

I’m missing the point, obviously. There is a plot but I am not sure I get the endgame. Is there a meaning or a lesson to be learned? View Spoiler » While a good distraction for a few hours, I am not walking away from this one with much.

Anyways. The characters themselves are interesting and I would have liked to learn more about them as they definitely had the potential to be fleshed out and really intriguing. However, the book doesn’t focus on them too much in its 200 pages, and it almost seems like this one was only written just to get to the shock value of the ending.

“Always do what you’re afraid to do.”

The stupidity of the teenagers made me so mad. There’s the “haha” regular stupid mistakes of youth and then there’s View Spoiler » Even the adults in this book are selfish and insanely manipulative and make terrible decisions.

Due to the focus on the day to day summer life of privileged teenagers, this book could be a little tedious at times.

Overall I would recommend this to people who are used to the average contemporary novel but want a wicked twist.

“Be a little kinder than you have to.”

Rating Report
Overall: 2.5

77 Responses to “Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart”

  1. Clodagh

    I was also really disappointed by We Were Liars. I was expecting a fantastic thriller, but it was actually boring for the first two thirds of the story. The plot twists were massive, but even then I didn’t find them that interesting. I loved the writing, but overall I agree that you don’t go away learning anything after finishing the book. It’s a shame because I enjoyed the other books by E. Lockhart that I’ve read.
    Clodagh recently posted…The Ultimate Book Tag

    • Alise

      I’m really glad I wasn’t the only one! The writing made the story easy to get into but yeah, until the plot twists there wasn’t much plot. Same here, I loved her other books!

  2. Maja (The Nocturnal Library)

    I felt that everyone in the world loved Frankie Landau-Banks but me, and somehow I had the feeling that the same would happen with this book as well. I’m not much of a contemporary fan so I decided to just skip this one. I’m glad to see I wasn’t wrong, I have very little patience for aimless books. The wicked twist has me intrigued, but not enough, I’m afraid.
    Maja (The Nocturnal Library) recently posted…Review: Influx

    • Alise

      I know what you mean, I totally felt like the black sheep posting this review. Aimless would be the perfect word for this book, there is almost no plot and it seems like it just strings you along until you can be impressed by the twist.

    • Alise

      You definitely aren’t the only one! I liked a few aspects but yeah, it was overall just a big question mark for me.

  3. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    I never really thought that this was a ‘me-book’ but now I’m sure! I get really frustrated by stupid teens doing ignorant things like they seem to do throughout We Were Liars. And the fact that you don’t really see the point/endgame here makes me think that I’d get through the thing and then rage like: WHY?! WHAT was the point?! WHY did I read this?? Thanks for sharing your thoughts Alise! ♥
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Harry Potter Month (7)

    • Alise

      *screeches* YES, EXACTLY.
      Not to mention these things aren’t oh, let’s egg the neighbor’s house. These are serious crimes and the logic behind them doesn’t really make any sense. Argh. Sure! :)

    • Alise

      So many people have enjoyed it so if you are still interested I say to give it a shot. Yeah, the characters made me so mad.

    • Alise

      Haha yeah, my thoughts are definitely a little outside the norm :P If you read this one I’d love to know your thoughts! Thanks :)

  4. Killian

    I really hate it when books aim for shock value as opposed to, you know, everything else that makes a book good, so that definitely puts me off reading We Were Liars a bit. While I’m sure the twist is pretty cool, if the characters’ actions and development are as poor as you say I really don’t care how good the twist is. I’ve seen a bunch of rave reviews for this book but to be honest I’m way more likely to trust your one. Like many hyped books, I’ll give it some time before I decide whether or not to read it, so thanks for the review.
    Killian recently posted…Book Review #18: The Magus by John Fowles

    • Alise

      Haha, I agree. This one lacked plot so the twist was fairly anticlimactic. I definitely felt like I was led on just to get to that point. The reasoning and logic (or lack thereof) behind the character’s actions certainly did no favors for this book. Sure, thank you!

  5. Vane J.

    I lost my interest for this book a long time ago. At first it intrigued me, but what you said about the characters’ stupid actions is something I know I would not endure. Great review!
    Vane J. recently posted…Review: Hello, I Love You

    • Alise

      I so excited to see what the hype was about but was really let down. Definitely frustrating. Thank you!

  6. Briana @ Pages Unbound

    Same. I thought the book was just generally okay on its own, but the ending saved it.

    I also don’t really know what lies they’re talking about, unless it’s a general reference to the fact they were all pretending their lives were okay when none of them were.

    The focus on privilege also did not rub me entirely the right way. Mainly because the protagonist wanted to be a special snowflake about being the only one in her family to reject the privilege, and I thought the book was preachy at times. I actually would have liked it better if the book had just embraced the wealth and privilege and just said, yeah, maybe it’s unfair but some people own private islands. Deal with it.
    Briana @ Pages Unbound recently posted…The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

    • Alise

      It made me bump up my rating as well.

      That’s what I was thinking. It just didn’t make enough sense to me since it was the title of the book and made a big deal about but never really explained.

      Agreed, the main character went out of her way to sort of distance herself from that yet still continued to take advantage of that lifestyle.

    • Alise

      It was tedious, for sure. The plot twist relating to what happened to the characters didn’t surprise me but the main character’s action being the cause of that did (trying to be vague haha) Thank you!

  7. Valerie

    Oh man that sucks. I’m sorry this was such a bad read for you. I’ve never really been interested in reading We Were Liars, and I always wondered why it was so hyped. I guess because of the twist? It just doesn’t sound that interesting to me.

    I hope your next read is better Alise!
    Valerie recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday #64

    • Alise

      No worries! I’m definitely thinking it was the twist that made this one become so hyped up. Sadly, everything else was just…pointless? Thank you! :)

  8. ShootingStarsMag

    I really did like this one – I didn’t guess the ending, and even beyond that, I was curious by the book. I can see why it wouldn’t work for some though. It’s almost a love it or hate it type of read.
    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Armada by Ernest Cline

    • Alise

      I’m glad you enjoyed it, I liked the ending twist as well! The journey getting there was what I struggled with. Yeah, that does seem true.

  9. Connie

    My opinion of this book keeps flip-flopping as well. When I first read it I was completely hooked and the ending left my head reeling. While I still give this book full credit for making me feel that way the first time around, as I reflected on it weeks later and reread, I started to consider it more carefully.

    I agree, the dangerous way the main characters acted at times was pretty shocking, and I have to wonder if there was some sort of implied undercurrent of mental health problems caused by the toxic elitist environment.

    Gat was a fantastic character, I even took to writing quotes and book titles on the backs of my hands for awhile after reading the book just because I adored him so much xD

    Great review ;)
    Connie recently posted…Let’s Discuss: Translating Books

    • Alise

      The ending also shocked me, it is definitely memorable and added a very interesting twist to the plot.

      That could be possible, it was kind of alluded to that the actions the characters made were due to them being unhappy with the way their parents and aunts and grandfather were acting in regards to the money issues but it still seems a little extreme to me, especially since all of them were totally in for it.

      Gat was really interesting! I never totally got a read on him but I liked his moments and felt pretty bad for him.

      Haha, thanks!

  10. Michelle @ Pink Polka Dot Books

    I had complicated feelings about this book. I still do because I’ll read a good review and go yes totally!! loved that part and whatever. Then I’ll read a not so good one and go-I’m SO with you. I guess I just can’t make up my mind with it because it was so different and also sort of vague.

    I didn’t get why they were called the liars though and would still love for someone to explain that part of it to me.
    Michelle @ Pink Polka Dot Books recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday- Diverse Books I’ve Read

    • Alise

      Haha, conflicted feelings for sure!

      Same here, I looked into it and apparently that part of the book got cut? I couldn’t find too much about it but I think it was talked about in a Q and A.

    • Alise

      Yeah, the mystery behind the twist in this book has had me curious for ages so I can’t blame you! Thanks :)

  11. Ally R.

    Hmm. Sorry you didn’t love this one. I never really had much interest in this one, but I wanted to see what you had to say. Yeah…don’t think I’ll be reading it!

    Also, I wanted to mention…you’ve been mentioned! And tagged. On my blog. Link’s below :D
    Ally R. recently posted…New Discoveries Tag + A Special Announcement

  12. Kelly

    This is one of those books where the ending has sucked in so many readers into rating it far higher than it really should have been, myself included. Take away the ending, and it’s boring. There’s no plot, no emotion and just a pack of pretentious jerks that really have no personality. At the time. I couldn’t see it. It was the ending that clouded my judgement and I only wished I had of sat on my review for a few days and thought about it. If I reread it now, knowing that ending, I would no doubt feel exactly the same. Brilliant review Alise, and wonderfully worded <3
    Kelly recently posted…Adrift by Paul Griffin

    • Alise

      I definitely agree that most of the allure of this one lies with the ending. Yes, exactly-the whole story seems somewhat pointless, or as someone else said perfectly-aimless. Thank you :D

    • Alise

      No worries! Yeah, it was somewhat “meh” for me until the ending and by that point I kind of resented the story, ha.

  13. Naban

    This is one of books that I really wasn’t invested in, and the whole teenage stupidity thing was frustrating. It bored me to no end and when the ending happened, I was just like ?! what, okay. And since so many people love it I couldn’t help but wonder if I missed something lol. Great review, Alise!
    Naban recently posted…Book Review: More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

    • Alise

      It really was, like I understand realism and that teenagers make mistakes but this was off the wall ridiculous. Same here! Thank you!

  14. Tanya

    This one was so ridiculously hyped last summer that I just avoided it on principle. It’s like, once that bandwagon gets started, everyone jumps on and all of a sudden it’s like The Best Book Ever Written. Ha! I’ve been burned time and time again by caving to the hype and I finally swore never again. I’m glad to hear that I’m not missing much! :) But still… sorry it was a clunker for you.
    Tanya recently posted…That’s What *He* Said Thursday #02

    • Alise

      You are definitely on to something there. I almost always do the same thing, I see all the hype and then once I eventually read the book I rarely ever like it. No worries!

  15. Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books

    These liars are not very good at lying. I don’t understand how that nickname came about! The writing was pretty nice, but the story and plot in general was pretty uneventful. I did think the ending was both mind-blowing/silly. The explanation was pretty preposterous…. Nice review!!

    • Alise

      I want to frame this comment because it’s exactly how I feel about this book. None of them really lied?! And I know, the logic behind their actions is so far-fetched!

    • Alise

      That’s definitely an explanation I can get behind-it makes sense in that context because she basically is lying to the reader.

  16. Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity

    I really think this is a book that you either LOVE or HATE, and I’m sad you were more on the hate side of it, Alise!

    I read this when it was released last year, and I adored it (it was one of my few five star reads). Although, I can agree with some of what you’ve said. The teens really did make some colossally horrible mistakes that were unforgivable, to be honest. But I really loved the way it was written, and the ending had me in tears (and I NEVER cry in books).

    I hope you like your next read a little bit more!
    Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity recently posted…Review: Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider

    • Alise

      I’m sad too, especially since you liked it! I think the ending managed to get a fear tears out of me as well, I just disliked the journey getting there, I guess I wanted a little more reasoning behind their actions. Thank you! <3

    • Alise

      I guessed what happened to the characters but not HOW it happened, if that makes sense. I was still pretty surprised but the more I thought about it the more I realized how off the wall it was, the reasoning didn’t even really make sense. Pretty much.

  17. Romi

    I can completely understand why you felt about this the way you did, Alise. I really love E. Lockhart’s work, although I’ve only read Frankie Landau-Banks and the first Ruby book; I tried this and it’s like something by a completely different author, which gave me a shock. I didn’t recognise it at all. For me the way the story was told, and the subject matter, it didn’t click for me and I didn’t finish it, although I did skim and… well the ending really took me off guard. I don’t know how I would have felt, had I grown to know the characters more, but I feel like I would have been really upset and angry at the characters for what they did, and wouldn’t have forgiven them; it’d have marred my enjoyment.
    Sorry it wasn’t as fantastic for you as it seems to be for a lot of people, but lovely review none the less. xx
    Romi recently posted…From me to you and back again -4-

    • Alise

      YES, I couldn’t agree more! I also read and enjoyed Frankie Landau-Banks and this felt totally different. There was never a point where you really got to know the characters super well so the ending still kind of shocked me that they would make such awful decisions.

      No worries, thank you :)

  18. Ella

    Omg I HATED THIS BOOK WITH THE FURY OF A THOUSAND SUNS. Partly because pretty much every other blogger had loved it to death and partly because everything about this book bugged me. I think the part where I was the only one who didn’t seem to *get* it’s wonderfulness pissed me off to no end though. ;)
    Ella recently posted…Every Move by Ellie Marney :: I CRIED

    • Alise

      Yeah, the hype was what made me want to read it originally, plus I really wanted to know what the type was. I was really disappointed though, especially since so many other people loved it.

  19. Ashtyn @ Wonderland's Reader

    I read this book and didn’t really like it up until the end. The ending just completely blew me away and left me a sobbing mess with so many feels so I gave it a pretty high rating. I also really enjoyed the writing style. While it’s definitely not one of my favorites and I definitely see what you mean when you talk about the teenagers stupidity (I was about two seconds away from jumping into the book to knock some sense into the characters), I still enjoyed it. Really lovely review!
    Ashtyn @ Wonderland’s Reader recently posted…Tea Party Talk: Authors Off the Grid

    • Alise

      The ending definitely makes a higher rating worth it, and I did think it was a pretty interesting approach. I’m glad you liked it! Thanks :)

  20. Mishma @ Chasing Faerytales

    I have a lot of mixed feelings when it comes to this book. I really loved it as a piece of literature. I adored the writing, the shocking revelation, the climax. But I didn’t enjoy the book at all when I read it! I hated the characters, the ongoing feuds and dramas.
    I don’t know if I am even making any sense. Basically, my emotions are totally mixed and confused with regards to We Were Liars.
    Mishma @ Chasing Faerytales recently posted…LITHW #6 : Let’s discuss about discussion posts

    • Alise

      That’s kind of how I feel about it as well, the surprise ending did impress me, but the journey getting there did not. Agreed. You are!

  21. Julie`s Blog

    Alise, good review!

    as for me…
    One word to describe this book: Boring. It was so slow. The ending was good, but it wasn’t enough to make up for how boring the rest of the book was. It was just very hard to get through.

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