YA an I, we don’t go well at times. While there have been some excellent books in the YA-categorie, I’ve read some abysmal ones as well and half of those that see the publishing light of day don’t really spark my interest. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart has been such a book. Nevermind the praise it got everywhere, I didn’t feel compelled at all to pick the book up and read it. When we got a Dutch ARC, however, I decided to give it a try before handing it to my sister, who would enjoy this a whole lot more than I would.
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.
This book reminded me a lot of The O.C. Rich kids having the time of their lives on their island, enjoying themselves and their shallow lives. In fact, the plot of We Were Liars could easily have been a story-arc in one of the seasons. It’s all there, even the odd one out – being Ryan on the show. This Ryan’s called Gat, but the rest of his story could as well been Ryan’s. Falling in love with the rich girl? Check. Being a thorn in grandfather’s eye? Check. Bickering rich women? Yes. It’s not that it’s bad per se, but The O.C. has done it all before and perhaps better at that. There’s not much more to say about it. All the buzz about this book, however, is centered around this big plot twist at the end of the novel. The problem here is, the buzz killed the bee. This book would be a whole lot more enjoyable if it weren’t for every other person raving about this big plot twist that is fifty shades of jawdropping. The thing is, the plot twist isn’t all that amazing. It’s not bad, but not to make a big fuss about either. Knowing that there would a twist made me guessing throughout the book, and most of my guesses were far off but also far more exciting, if I’m being honest. While there are some hints here and there about it all, it’s a kind of twist you can’t really figure out before it hits you, I think. Which deprives the reader of the possibility of of crying out in joy because you had it right. Bit of a shame, really, but oh well.. I’ve read worse and I enjoyed myself on the go.
I can be quite short about the characters. If not bland, then they’re annoying. I would have liked them to stray from the stereotypical rich kids, but alas. The bunch is shallow, looking for thrills once in a while, don’t know how the help is called and behave like brats. It’s not their fault, though. They are a mirror of their parents and grandparents, all of them people I’d love to punch in the face and make them stop talking about how amazing their family is and whatnot. Also, I don’t get why they call themselves liars? It’s an oddly chosen nickname and as a title, it suggests something that’s not there.
This novel’s strength lies in its writing. It’s very fluent and engaging. It’s been a long time since a YA-novel, and a contemporary at that, managed to suck me in and made me want to pick the book up whenever I settled down for some reading. While it may suck you in and speed you through it, it’s no stellar writing either. All very plain and simple, no big words and the like, but it works. The one thing that annoyed the hell out of me was how some sentences were cut and spread over multiple lines.
I don’t know how
this kind of writing adds
anything to what you are
trying to bring across except
annoyance with the reader.
All in all it’s fair to say that I started this book with a fair amount of scepticism because of the hype, but I liked it more than I had anticipated. Would I recommend it? Not necessarily, I mean, you can easily watch The O.C. and get more drama and better characters. But it is what it is, and if these books are your thing, then I think you could do far worse than We Were Liars.
★ ★ ★
Live the li(f)e of the rich here.