Author: E. Lockhart
The Sinclair family is known for its money and perfect smiles. Harris and Tipper Sinclair, along with their three daughters and their own children, rendezvous to Beechwood Island every summer. Cadence Sinclair Eastman, the oldest of the Sinclair grandchildren, is starry-eyed and in love. But when an accident leaves her with partial memory loss and debilitating migraines, her neat little world crumbles. Cadence hasn’t been to the island for two years, hasn’t seen her cousins or the boy she was in love with. When she finally returns, she isn’t sure what to expect, and the gaps in her memory are pressing down on her, demanding to be unlocked.
“Don’t cause distress, she said. Don’t remind people of a loss. ‘Do you understand, Cady? Silence is a protective coating over pain.'”
E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars is a story of privilege, pain, and plastic smiles. If you’re a Sinclair, you’re born into money but also high expectations. You smile when you hurt, you never mention family scandals, and you always put the Sinclair legacy first. Cadence, her cousins Mirren and Johnny, and the outsider Gat have always had each other when the expectations of the family patriarch have felt overwhelming. But distance has grown between Cady and the others ever since her accident, and she cannot understand why they abandoned her afterwards or if things will ever be like they were before.
Harris Sinclair has passed on an ugly mentality to his daughters and the wealth he’s accumulated has bred greediness. While Cady, Mirren, Johnny, and Gat have had each other with their youthful vigor and ideals, the Sinclair daughters have been weighed down by adulthood and its practicality, which has eaten away their love for each other. Lockhart does a wonderful job of contrasting these two generations: love vs. money, dreams vs. practicality, and recklessness vs. forgiveness.
It took me quite a while to read this book. Many book bloggers have been singing its praises for months and I want to say how much I appreciate it not being spoiled for me. I got to enjoy reading about the Sinclairs with their old money, pristine façades, and secret hurts. And the moment you think you have these characters figured out, Lockhart surprises us all.