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Saturday, June 7, 2014

Book Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Every summer Cadence goes to Beechwood Island (near Martha's Vineyard) with her family. It's a private island owned only by them. Her grandparents and her mother and her two sisters all own houses there. She loves spending the whole summer running wild, swimming, reading, and having fun with her cousins. Then something happens the summer she is fifteen. She and her mother don't go the summer she is sixteen. Now that she is seventeen they do return, and Cadence tries to figure out what happened two summers ago. Why is everything different and what did she have to do with it? But her memory is fuzzy and unreliable.

Did your family have a summer vacation tradition? Did you see cousins in the summer and only the summer? My family did. We went to a lake in Vermont, Lake Rescue. I didn't have any cousins my own age like Cadence, but I idolized my older cousins Mary Jo and Jo Ann and I supervised my younger siblings and cousins. But we just rented a cabin for two weeks. We didn't own our own island. Our summer was not on this scale.

Ms. Lockhart does a masterful job of capturing the washed-out blazing summer light, the late nights out when it feels like time has stopped, those days when it felt like the summer would last forever, and those summer friendships that felt as important as anything in the whole world. She also is wonderful at creating flawed characters, particularly Cadence and her mother. And there's a captivating mystery about two summers ago that hovers in the background until it is shockingly and unforgettably revealed. A brilliant book in its subtlety and foreshadowing, that packs quite a punch. I read it all in one sitting. Perfect for teens this summer, but perfect for their parents too as it's not fluffy or insubstantial in the least.

This review is a part of Kid Konnection, hosted by Booking Mama, a collection of children's book-related posts over the weekend.

I bought this book at my local independent bookstore, Park Road Books.

1 comment:

Laura Fabiani said...

Your review caught my attention. This one sounds good! And I could use a good summer read right now.