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Books & Chocolate

I love to read just about anything, as long as it's fiction. I read for me - that means I read what I want, when I want. My reviews tend to mostly be based on how I'm able to personally connect with the story/characters. They are not intended to influence someone to read, or not read, a particular book. I always encourage people to take a chance and make up your own mind.


Oh, and I love chocolate.

We Were Liars

We Were Liars - E. Lockhart

Where to start with this book... I'm between a 2.5 and a 3. Since I liked it more than some of the 2's I rated recently, I'll go with a 3. 


I enjoyed this book.

I didn't enjoy this book.


Sorry, but I had to do it. I started to write more, but I just can't make myself go there. I think style is my ultimate complaint about We Were Liars. I didn't like it at all. It sounded pretentious, but maybe that's what Lockhart was going for since Cadence was a Sinclair. Even though Cadence was 'different' than her mummy (and who actually says this in America?) and aunties and didn't want her grandfather's money, she sounded like a spoiled snob. It's not that I didn't like her, I just couldn't connect enough to care anything about her or anyone else. That's why I say the style is what made this book not work for me. 

It wasn't just the "We were there. We were never there at all." Or something like that, anyway. It was also the over-the-top dramatic descriptions of everything she felt. The first one that got me was:


"My father put a last suitcase into the backseat of the Mercedes (he was leaving Mummy with only the Saab), and started the engine.


Then he pulled out a handgun and shot me in the chest. I was standing on the lawn and I fell. The bullet hole opened wide and my heart rolled out of my rib cage and down into a flower bed..."


At first I was, "What?? He shot her??" Then when it got to the heart in the flower bed part I realized it just the author's way of describing that Cadence's heart was breaking over her father leaving.


This over-the-top dramatic writing might win some awards or impress professors, but for this reader it made me want to laugh. It was written as though it actually happened, not stating that that's how it felt - and that for me was just too much of a distraction to actually have the effect that the author probably wanted me to have. 


I will say that I did not guess the ending. I'm usually pretty good about figuring things out, but not this time. Maybe it's because I was so disconnected from the characters that I wasn't really trying all that hard to solve the mystery. Either way, that's what bumped this up to a 3 for me. I like when a book can surprise me.


The rest I'll have to review as a spoiler. So if you plan to read We Were Liars, don't read the rest of my review. It really is best to go in blind. I'd suggest reading the sample of the book and if the style doesn't bother you then go for it. 



Some of the other issues I had with this book is that I can't believe that the liars didn't know that the way they planned to burn down the house was a really bad idea. Really? They were supposed to be intelligent teenagers. Even intoxicated, I'd think that they would KNOW not to light the fire until all were together and out of the house. Were they really so stupid to think that they had to light the fire from all 4 floors when they were leaving a trail of gasoline everywhere? Just... no. I think the same result could have happened with a different approach - such as Cadence lighting the fire when she didn't know the others were in the house (like the dogs). Or that they changed their minds and were going in to stop her... something other than utter stupidity.


Another thing... Cadence burned her hands and feet in the fire. Are there no scars? Wouldn't she have seen something and wondered what happened? I've had minor burns from ovens that have resulted in scars that lasted years. I just don't believe there was nothing there, but I'm no doctor so maybe I'm wrong.


I also find it hard to believe that the aunties would 'forgive' Cadence so easily. Even if they didn't suspect she was the one to light the fire, she survived and their children didn't. These women hated each other over houses, am I really to believe that they wouldn't hate each other over the loss of children? I just expected there to be some resentment that she would have felt. 


Finally, the liars. The ones who died. Were they ghosts? Imaginations in her head? In some ways I like that Lockhart tries to toe the line between the two and doesn't tell the reader. However there are certain parts - like when they go to the cliff where Cadence claims she has never been before or how they said it was getting harder for them to stay - that make it seem as if they are ghosts. I suppose I would have liked it better if she either picked one and told the reader for sure at the end, or played it gray the entire time. Did Cadence leave the mess at Cuddledown? Since the mess was there sometimes when she arrived, it seemed as though she didn't. How would ghosts eat chips? It was just too inconsistent for me. 


(show spoiler)