Book Summary: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart Book Cover

We Were Liars is a young adult novel written by E. Lockhart, published in 2014. The book follows the story of a wealthy family, the Sinclairs, who own an island off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. The novel is told from the perspective of Cadence Sinclair Eastman, the eldest grandchild of the family, who narrates the story of her family’s secrets, lies, and the tragic event that changes everything.

Chapter Summaries

  1. Chapter 1: The Family – Cadence introduces the reader to her family, specifically her cousins Johnny, Mirren, and Gat, and her aunt and uncle, who own the island where they spend their summers. She also mentions the “incident” that happened when she was 15, which has left her with a scar on her forehead and a gap in her memory.
  2. Chapter 2: The Summer Before – Cadence reflects on the summer before the incident, where she and her cousins were inseparable and spent their days exploring the island and playing games. She also mentions the tension between her parents, who are separated.
  3. Chapter 3: The Incident – Cadence recounts the events leading up to the incident, where she and her cousins were playing a game of truth or dare, and she was dared to kiss Gat. She describes the moment as magical, but also feels a sense of foreboding.
  4. Chapter 4: The Aftermath – Cadence wakes up in the hospital with a bandage on her forehead and no memory of what happened. She learns that her cousins were also injured, but no one will tell her what happened. She becomes obsessed with finding out the truth, but her family keeps tight-lipped.
  5. Chapter 5: The Letters – Cadence discovers a box of letters written by her grandfather, who founded the island and built the house where they spend their summers. She learns about his own family’s secrets and lies, and begins to see parallels between her family and his.
  6. Chapter 6: The Truth – Cadence finally pieces together the truth about the incident, which involves a drunken boat ride, a fight, and a tragic accident. She also learns that her family has been lying to her about the incident and the letters, and realizes that she can never truly trust them.
  7. Chapter 7: The End – Cadence reflects on the summer after the incident, where she and her cousins are no longer inseparable. She also begins to question her own memory and identity, and wonders if she will ever truly understand her family and the island.
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We Were Liars is a haunting and thought-provoking novel that explores the complexities of family, memory, and identity. Through Cadence’s narration, we see how the lies and secrets of the past can haunt the present and shape our understanding of ourselves and the world around us. The novel’s twist ending and shocking revelations will leave readers reeling, and its themes will stay with them long after they’ve finished the last page.

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