Friday, July 4, 2014

Book Review: We Were Liars

We Were Liars is a fairly quick and easy read. It is well written and beautifully executed. The characters are interesting and the plot delivers an unexpected twist. While it probably won't be one of my favorite YA reads for the year, I do think the story line will stick with me for a long while.

Cadence Sinclair Eastman belongs to an established family who summer on their private island off the coast of Massachusetts. They are well-to-do but with plenty of wrinkles. Grandfather Sinclair has three daughters, each of whom has been unable to manage to cling to marriages or provide for themselves. They are relying on the patriarch to fund their existence and the rivalry between daughters is typical of a family with money. But Cadence is the eldest grandchild. Surely she must get something for this grand position. Or will she?

Every summer for years, she hangs with her two cousins, Johnny and Mirren, and Johnny's mother's boyfriend's nephew, Gat. Cadence is in love with Gat. Gat is in love with Cadence, despite the clear indication that such a relationship is not acceptable but reminiscent of the relationship between Heathcliff and Cathy in Wuthering Heights. Together the four of them are called "the Liars."

Cadence is returning for summer eighteen on the island and is struggling to put together memories of a past she can't quite grasp. During summer fifteen, she sustained a traumatic head injury in the water and hasn't been the same since. As time goes by she begins to remember more and more of the fateful summer that changed her life forever.

I was deeply disturbed by the bickering among the grown daughters who are fighting over everything - grandmother's jewelry, statues, tablecloths, houses. It was thoroughly realistic and sickening. Money has such a way of reducing families to grabbing, self-interested, territorial behaviors. I would have been as disturbed as the liars were in this situation. The liars must learn to make their way in this tenuous, privileged world. It was worth the read, but not full of terribly endearing characters.

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