This book has been buzzing all over the internet in the last years and I simply had to read it. All I knew was that it was about a family who spent summers on a private island and that there was an astounding ending.
Cadence is the narrator; a teenage girl who has no memory of what happened to her two summers ago on her family’s island. She has dreadful headaches, spends a lot of time in bed, and is on powerful medication.
She is unreliable and untrustworthy, but we want to piece together those events which she cannot remember. Cadence is one of the Liars, along with her love interest, Gat, and her two cousins, and their families argue about who is to inherit their grandfather’s money and bicker about who has the best house on the island.
I whizzed through this book; it’s a short novel which is just desperate to be devoured. I raced through it in about a day, my heart pounding as I reached that heady conclusion; the brutal truth that Cadence and the Liars had burnt down their grandfather’s house, and the other three had perished in the fire.
As a reader, you’re left asking, how did I miss that? And, how did they ever think that such a dangerous idea would bring their family together?
In truth, there are lots of clues. I suspected that Gat was perhaps ill or dead; it just didn’t ring true that he would stop contacting Cadence without a good reason, as their tentative relationship blossomed.
Cadence’s grandfather’s house had been rebuilt; Cadence’s aunts and mother pussyfoot around her and have been immeasurably chastened by the death of three teenagers.
Perhaps the biggest shock of all is not the revelation about the fire, but the fact that the other Liars are not ‘real’ but are figments of Cadence’s imagination, or hallucinations.
The whole book is blurred and uncertain in light of this. Cadence may have our sympathy, and be the object of our disbelief, but she never earns our trust.
What are your thoughts about We Were Liars if you read it?