A dark­ness spreads be­neath glit­ter­ing sur­face

The Herald on Sunday - Sunday Herald Life - - Books - by Gemma McLaughlin

We Were Liars, by E. Lock­hart Dell Pub­lish­ers

I have no idea where to start with the beauty of this book, on the cover and of course within. De­spite the mys­te­ri­ous and al­most ter­ri­fy­ing cover and blurb there is noth­ing that could have pre­pared me for the plot twists.

As I be­gan my jour­ney I was greeted with an al­most poem-like be­gin­ning, a theme prom­i­nent through­out the book, that be­came clearer with ev­ery word as I pro­gressed through a roller­coaster of a plot. I found my­self flip­ping back to the first page many times, bring­ing clar­ity to what was once no more than an exquisitely writ­ten warn­ing.

There is such certainty and con­fu­sion mixed in with that be­gin­ning poem, some­thing that is rem­i­nis­cent of de­nial. The sense of de­nial is some­thing I found un­der­ly­ing ev­ery as­pect of the story.

The plot fol­lows Ca­dence Sin­clair, heiress to a king­dom of pri­vate is­lands, ex­pen­sive, mean­ing­less ob­jects and per­fect lies. As hazy sum­mer days on her fam­ily’s pri­vate is­land are de­picted with sweet ro­mances and a storm of debt be­neath I found the best use of my favourite story trope. The per­fect sur­face with a dark un­der­belly is clear and bril­liant in ev­ery mo­ment as we watch the four Liars grow up.

The Liars con­sist of our main char­ac­ters; of course Ca­dence, as the book is writ­ten from her per­spec­tive, Johnny and Mir­ren, Ca­dence’s cousins, and Gat, Johnny’s best friend who Ca­dence finds her­self fall­ing for over the course of the sum­mers. In the first part of the novel the reader wit­nesses the set up of the grad­ual fall of a per­fect, wealthy fam­ily and drama among The Liars but fur­ther in the plot takes a much more sin­is­ter turn.

Ca­dence is in­volved in what, as far as she is aware, was an ac­ci­dent at the lake. Dur­ing her re­cov­ery she was left with re­cur­ring headaches and an opaque mem­ory of just how she was hurt on her 15th re­turn to her fam­ily’s sum­mer home.

Af­ter the in­ci­dent Ca­dence is left as a shell of her for­mer self, she dyes her hair black, in a stark con­trast to the nat­u­ral blonde, is rarely at school and al­ways seems sickly and quiet, un­able to keep up the con­fi­dent, flaw­less act of the Sin­clairs any­more. We learn a lot about Ca­dence’s fam­ily in the later parts of the book, what they mean to each other, and just what they will do to keep up their lies.

I loved watch­ing the jour­ney of Ca­dence as she lost as­pects of her fam­ily and found her­self, and of course dis­cov­er­ing the truth of sum­mer fif­teen and all the fas­ci­nat­ing parts of the events of that day.

This is a book I would rec­om­mend to all, with a grip­ping writ­ing style and re­lat­able char­ac­ters. E. Lock­hart is ex­actly what I’ve been look­ing for in an au­thor and can’t wait for the movie of this thrilling lit­er­ary ad­ven­ture.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.