Usually young adult fiction wouldn’t cross my radar. However, I stumbled upon E Lockhart’s haunting mystery We Were Liars in Time magazine’s Best Books of 2014. So, because I love books set off the coast of Massachusetts, I decided to give it a go.
We Were Liars is a coming of age story. It’s about a group of wealthy children who holiday each year on their grandfather’s private island. They enjoy idyllic long summer days in beautiful houses close to the water.
The story is narrated by a troubled teenage heroine. Cadence Sinclair’s memory was damaged during a trauma on a previous summer holiday. It’s an incident that no one is willing to talk about.
Like all families, however, the Sinclairs have their secrets and jealousies. While they hide them behind an apparently perfect facade, the reader senses tension. The children’s mothers are manipulated by their powerful and wealthy father. Lockhart underlines the age-old universality of these tensions in a series of references to similar themes in folklore.
Place and atmosphere — mystery and myth — lies and truth — are more important than character in this short novel which runs to just 240 pages. The Kindle edition of We Were Liars was a steal at $1.68 when I purchased it a couple of days ago. I loved E Lockhart’s writing and while the story may fade over time, hers is a name that will remain on my radar from now on.