We Were Liars

Guys. Guys, it’s We Were Liars. I have been waiting for this book for months. MONTHS. AND NOW I HAS READ IT.

And, y’know, promptly had my brain broken.

I have a question: Why do all the good books hurt?

This book. This freaking book. I swear I’m going to try to be coherent about it, but I’m not making any promises.

We Were Liars is narrated by seventeen-year-old Cadence, the oldest grandchild in the rich Sinclair family, a group of square chins, stiff upper lips, and old-money Democrats. Where:

No one is a criminal.

No one is an addict.

No one is a failure.

Cadence spends her summers on Beechwood Island with her extended family. There, she and three other residents form the Liars, a group including Cadence, her cousins Johnny and Mirren, and Johnny’s best friend, Gat. “Most years on the island, we’ve been trouble.”

Their time at Beechwood is described as a “summer idyll,” a time of blueberry pie, swimming, and excursions to nearby Martha’s Vineyard. But something happened during the Liars’ fifteenth summer there. And Cadence can’t remember it.

When Cadence returns to the island when she is seventeen, things are very different. She has migraines that feel like a witch beating her head with an ivory goose. No one will talk to her about what happened. Her grandfather is losing his mind, and one of her beautiful aunts wanders the island at night. The other one cleans obsessively.

The Liars are still there, but they too are hiding things from her.

Like Colette at Refuting the Intolerably Stupid, I’m wary of telling you anything too in-depth about this book. Even the summary on the book itself is vague and secretive. Cadence’s world is one of murky waters, in a family that isn’t nearly as beautiful as it looks.

E. Lockhart has really delivered with this one. The characters are unique and well-written, and Cadence’s voice as a narrator is also very good. Believe me when I say this is unlike any other book I’ve read. Cadence seamlessly slips between prose and poetry, even slipping in short, clever variations on fairytales. I was curious as to how this would play out in the book when I first heard about it, but it really, really works. It’s all very telling and only immerses the reader more in the Sinclairs’ world.

Not to mention the prose. God, I don’t even know if that’s what I should call it. E. Lockhart writes unapologetically and originally, working in images in a way that I’ve never seen before. In a way, even the writing is shocking.

The plot. This is the part where I really feel like I can’t tell you much. There are some novels (like Code Name Verity) where the plot is so well thought-out and insane you’re left sitting there in your armchair/bed/TARDIS wondering what the heck you just read and how the author came up with it. That is what We Were Liars feels like. It’s a maze of questions and hidden answers, until you get to the end and think you may fall over. The plot is amazing. That’s all I’m going to tell you.

I still can’t deal with this book. It’s crazy and original and my god, does it get intense. I almost feel like I should warn you, because it gets serious. It gets insane. I was kind of a wreck when I was getting towards the end, and my parents can vouch for me. It’s the kind of book that can knock you over. I loved it.

Then again, I could be lying.

Bookish Quote of the Day:

“It tasted like salt and failure. The bright red shame of being unloved soaked the grass in front of our house, the bricks of the path, the steps to the porch. My heart spasmed among the peonies like a trout.

Mummy snapped. She said to get hold of myself.

Be normal, now, she said. Right now, she said.

Because you are. Because you can be.” —We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart

How to Love

Hi everybody! I hope you all are having a lovely Sunday evening! Spring break has come and gone, the week after spring break has come and gone, and, yes, I have kicked myself off Tumblr and YouTube and am posting something. Weeeeeee!

Ahem. Anyway. Today’s book is How to Love, written by Katie Cotugno!

Serena Montero has been crazy about Sawyer LeGrande for so long it’s practically engrained in her DNA. It’s never going to happen, of course–Sawyer is cool, popular, a friend of the family’s with a half moon necklace. Never gonna happen. Never. Nope. NO.

But, somehow, in some insane way. . .it does. (Cause where would the story be otherwise?) Sawyer and Reena are dating, or something like it. Maybe. It involves kissing? It’s all very complicated, and not even Reena is sure what is going on, what they have.

It is MESSY. MESSINESS ABOUNDS. LOOK AT ALL THE MESSINESS.

And then. . .Sawyer leaves. Zip. Reena is left behind in their small Florida town, a place she’s always wanted to escape. And she’s pregnant.

BOOM.

This is not the way she envisioned her life going. Especially when Sawyer returns, completely out of the blue.

I really like it when books just suck me into a whirlwind–like a tear-through-the-thing, totally-just-meant-to-read-a-few-pages, I-should-probably-do-homework-now whirlwind. (I mean, this isn’t good for my productivity. But oh well.) And How to Love delivers. Oh, it delivers. You probably shouldn’t read this if you have a big project due or something.

First of all, this book is fun to read. Obviously, the subject matter isn’t exactly fun–there is angst, fighting, issues to work through, etc. But the experience of reading it, of gobbling it up and getting sucked in like that–that was fun.

Cotugno tells the story through alternating chapters, those set before Sawyer’s disappearance and those set after his return. We’re introduced to Reena’s family and friends: Her best friend, Allie, her restaurant-owning father, the hilarious and wonderful Shelby. (I like Shelby. A lot.) The characters are awesome. I love how well-done and well-written they are, and how much originality they have. And even though I disliked some of them at least once while reading, it didn’t interfere with my reading experience as a whole. Yes, they can all be jerks sometimes, but that didn’t really cause any problems where my enjoyment of the book was concerned. The characters are human and unique, and they’re awesome.

I also love the little touches Cotugno adds, and the way she writes–the way she describes things, the way she writes about emotions in this great way that doesn’t sound flowery or pretentious. She had me interested from the first sentence:

“I’ve been looking for Sawyer for half a lifetime when I find him standing in front of the Slurpee machine at the 7-Eleven on Federal Highway, gazing through the window at the frozen, neon-bright churning like he’s expecting the mysteries of the universe to be revealed to him from inside.”

When I say this book can suck you in, it can suck you in. I didn’t want to stop reading. How to Love is a really, really good book, and I definitely enjoyed reading it. 🙂

I suppose that’s it for today. Sorry if this is a little lacking compared to my other posts, but I hope to get back in the groove and to be posting more often soon! I hope you all have an awesome night!

Book Quote of the Day: “I felt so incredibly, unforgivably stupid, was the worst part–the lamest kind of stereotype, the dumbest kind of fool.” —How to Love, by Katie Cotugno

P.S. If you visit Katie’s website, you can find some more of her awesome writing. It kind of makes me desperate for another book. Fingers crossed!