Thursday, May 1, 2014

We Were Liars - E. Lockhart

We Were Liars - E. Lockhart
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: May 13, 2014
Source/Format: Netgalley (Thank you, Random House!) || e-galley
[I received this book for review from the publisher. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review.]

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.
(from Goodreads)

Even after a few days have come and gone, I'm still not sure what to make of We Were Liars. I can definitely say that I liked some of it, as it was one of the more unique contemporary I've read. But the characters fell flat for me, which really affected my reading experience. Basically, the novel toes the borderline for me between liked and really liked - which translates to an average read.

The novel's strongest aspect lies in its storytelling. Lockhart employs a disjointed, dreamy narrative, where readers will find themselves unsure of what is truth and what is a lie. While I'm sure this style won't appeal to everyone, I liked the fact that it was different, and jarring. It also contributed to the overall feeling of mystery and the deep-seated emotion that something was very wrong.

I also really loved the setting. The idea of a family island that's your summer vacation spot every year sounds lovely. Who wouldn't want to have a private place to bond with family and enjoy the summer? There's something so familiar about the thought of summer traditions within a big family (even though this is probably a little more excessive than most of the summer traditions you or I have).

However, as I've mentioned, I was unable to connect with any character. They are fascinating in the way that celebrities are when you hear a story about them. But the characters felt like caricatures of real people, with certain traits or situations they were involved in all that was emphasized. I did feel a smidgen more connected to the four Liars, but I did want a little more.

We Were Liars swept me up immediately with the fluid writing, and dramatic story. While the style Lockhart employs might not work for everyone, it is, objectively, a really solid contemporary tale. Even though I didn't wind up falling for it as hard as others did, I can admit it was, at least, compelling. If the premise sounds at all interesting to you, it would do you good to try reading it for yourself to see if you like the way it's written!

Rachel and I have decided to collaborate on this new feature, since we often end up having a lot of the same ARCs. We've decided to read them around the same time, so we can discuss them, and we're sharing answers to one burning question related to the book, author or series with our reviews!

Our question: Share about your favorite family summer vacation or a family tradition!

Oh wow, this is actually hard! I'm going to go with summer vacation, but only because I always have a lot of fun with my family when we go. We've been a lot of places together - Boracay, Singapore, the good ol' US of A, Thailand among them. But I think my favorite family vacation was a big one we took in 2006! We went to Hong Kong - my parents, my sisters, my cousins, my grandparents, my aunt and uncle. It was so fun, as we got to go to Hong Kong Disneyland, Ocean Park and see the sights. Best part? We were all together and just had time to bond.

11 comments:

  1. I'm borderline really liked and loved with this book. I know it didn't work for everyone, but it really worked for me. The writing was what got me the most; I love a good crazily written book! Glad you enjoyed it!

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    1. The writing style was very distinctive, and I definitely consider it one of the positive things about this book! I just wish I'd been better able to connect with these characters. I'm glad you liked it!

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  2. I'm really looking forward to this one! The synopsis is awesome but vague at the same time.

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    1. Going into it blind is probably best, as I know that really helped for me. I hope you enjoy it!

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  3. I love this feature you guys do! Yes, writing is epic but the connection to characters totally lacked...sad face. Think of amazing it would have been to REALLY have been able to connect to them and then find out what happened...oof.

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    1. Thanks, K! I absolutely agree. It would have been totally amazing to really connect and empathize with these characters. I feel like everything would have felt more important, you know?

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  4. I really agree! I wasn't able to connect with any of the characters either.. A lot of them blended together and they just didn't jump off the page like the writing did. I think the book really could have benefitted from a few more pages of character development since it was so short!

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    1. Additional pages would not have been a half-bad idea! I did like the idea of the story, and how it was written. But I do wish I could have connected to at least one character, in particular, one of the Liars.

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  5. I agree with you on this one. I loved the writing and the story itself - my mouth dropped open at the end. But everything else about it kind of fell flat - the characters and the setting for me too. I was between a like and really like for me too (in fact I gave it 3.5 stars!)

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    1. It's really hard for me whenever I lack a connection with a book character. I really wanted to like this one a whole lot more, but sadly, just didn't.

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  6. It's hard for me as well if I don't connect with the characters, so I can see how that would make it fall a little flat. I didn't necessarily connect with all of them either, but somehow it worked. And the writing style just worked for me. I'm still recovering from the punch in the gut that was that ending!

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Thanks for leaving a comment! I love seeing what you have to say, and will try to reply (here or on Twitter) as soon as I can :)

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