Giveaway & Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

July 28, 2014 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 4 stars, Blog Tours, Books, Giveaways, Reviews

Giveaway & Review: We Were Liars by E. LockhartWe Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Published by Allen & Unwin on August 1, 2014
Source: Publisher
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Psychological Thriller, Young Adult
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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.

True love.

The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense that will leave you reeling.

Read it.

And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

It’s been a week and I still can’t get We Were Liars out of my head. The experience that it presented was pretty profound, and it’s rare for a story to affect me in such a powerful way. After all of the hype that the book presented, I was really wary especially after all the vague reviews. Little did I know that the vague reviews were trying to preserve my experience of the book, which funnily enough, is quite vague itself all the way through. Until the shocking ending, that is.

All you need to know about We Were Liars, is that it’s going to be a literary experience that will blow your mind. It’s told through the eyes of an unreliable narrator who has a brain injury, so what she tells us well, could in fact be a lie. It’s all done very well and grips you with suspense all the way through, with the gorgeous lilting words of the novel building up into a shocking ending.

I step away. Because I don’t remember. I hate my fucking hacked-up mind, how sick I am all the time, how damaged I’ve become. 

Halfway through reading the book, it manages to touch upon some pretty deep issues that I wouldn’t have expected, including family drama, greed and materialism. I liked this depth in the book, but little did I know what the narrator was doing was taking our mind off Cadence’s mental affliction. The way it’s presented is kind of terrifying, as the others around you reinforce what is wrong with you and it must be scary to have even short term amnesia.

The writing is filled with thick, gorgeous prose that is an artform in itself. It kind of reminds me of The Book Thief, with how it takes a risk with its prose and it really is just a matter of taste. Like Cadence’s memory herself, the writing seems to be quite choppy and jump between moments in her life. I got absorbed into the writing and once I was used to it, I couldn’t tear my eyes away.

There’s these beautiful Once Upon a Time stories that are spread throughout the novel, which are Cadence’s own version of her fairy tales based on what she is learning about her memories and her situation. They were really well done and my favourite parts of the novel, as she talks about her grandpa and his three heiresses as the king and his daughters.

I am not someone to pity, with an unstable mind and weird pain syndromes. I am taking charge of my life. I live according to my principles. I take action and make sacrifices. 

I can see why We Were Liars isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. While some of us enjoy reeling in shock and then having the pieces fall into place at the end of the book, it’s kind of vague and hazy throughout, with a loose plot. The writing really is a matter of preference, as sometimes it’s filled with really strong imagery that is meant to be metaphorical. For example, when the narrator talks about bleeding all over she means emotionally, which was hard to get a grip on at the start.

The characters are rich, snobby, privileged and spoilt. Some might say difficult to emphasise with, because of their little island full of family problems based around wealth. I didn’t find any of the characters particularly likable per se, but it was the experience which I really enjoyed.

What about the experience itself? You’ll be absorbed in this gorgeous, poetic prose like the calm on the island before it all blows up and ends with a massive shock. It feels like a massive thrill ride and when the shock comes, it’s one you’d never see coming, yet it’s done so well that you’ll see it all click into place. A well-written mystery is when you pick up on the hints after the fact is revealed, and that’s exactly what We Were Liars did. We Were Liars was a truly mind blowing literary experience.


We Were Liars offers a unique, suspenseful, enthralling thrill ride for the reader. It will reach out and grip you with it’s poetic writing, the gripping suspense, and then make you feel agonising pain when the shocking, tragic truth is revealed. The experience will be so profound, that you’ll have a massive book hangover and you’ll be feeling it for days.

And that is why we read books, so we can have these sorts of experiences. Ones that have the power to evolve from simply being words on a paper, to becoming a story, to stories that will reach out and make us experience intense, strong emotions.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5


Thank you to Allen and Unwin for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review! 

Giveaway – Win a copy of We Were Liars courtesy of the publisher! (Australians only) 

To enter, fill in the applicable rafflecopter form below. No cheating! Any fake entries will disqualify you for the prize. 

Entry conditions

  • Over 13 years to enter
  • Winners will be picked at random and must respond within 48 hours
  • Winner will be announced on the rafflecopter form.
  • Happy Indulgence does not take responsibility for packages sent from the publisher.
  • Fake entries will be disqualified.
  • Entries close on 7 August 2014 Australian EST.

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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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55 responses to “Giveaway & Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

  1. Brilliant review, I loved this book too! The writing style took a little while to get used to, but once I did I could not get enough of this book. At the very beginning, I actually sat shocked when I got to the part about her dad shooting her… then I continued and suddenly realised it as all just a metaphor, I loved that about this book.
    Reviews from a Bookw recently posted…My Weekly Book Haul: 09/08/2014My Profile

  2. Anna

    Erhmegosh someone told me that the main character cheats on the guy with somebody called Johnny I think? I don't know but reading the blurb I'm starting to think that they may have lied. I suppose it explains the goofy smile i saw

  3. I have seen so many reviews on this book and it has been recommended to me so many times. I can't wait to read it!

  4. I'm always pretty happy about books with hype otherwise I'd be in the dark..

    but when I start seeing lots of reviews, and lots of vague reviews…. of course, all the more intriguing! Hopefully I can pick this up! 😀 Thanks for avoiding spoilers!

  5. Annalise

    I can't tell you how hard it was not to read spoiler reviews when looking at this book. I only have so much self control haha

  6. Ha right? This one is so hard to review and I'm glad that you didn't stumble on one that spoiled you – this is one that I hope many go in blind. I also really enjoyed it and how powerful it was. I especially loved the writing style. It's so different and had me hooked from the start!! So happy you enjoyed this one too! 🙂 Now I have to get off my butt and read The Book Thief, huh? >.<

  7. This novel really surprised me too. The written style and the narrative of the novel really intrigued me. Even though the hype did spoil it slightly for me, I really enjoyed it in the end. The ending as well as some of the plot twists really shocked me. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one, Jeann! 🙂
    Emma @ Never Judge a recently posted…REVIEW – SIEGE AND STORM by Leigh BardugoMy Profile

  8. I'm SO so happy to hear you loved this one, Jeann!! It was 0.99 € in Amazon's summer reads, so I just got it last week! Now I cannot wait to read it! I love unreliable narrators!!
    Pili recently posted…Tell Me Tuesdays #5!!My Profile

  9. I'm glad you enjoyed this! I wished I liked it too… I really enjoyed the Once Upon A Time stories and how they paralleled to what was happening in the book. The writing is quite unique, and I love the prose. The ending of this book was absolutely crazy! Lovely review, Jeann 🙂
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  10. I read this a little while back and absolutely loved it. It's such a powerful, beautiful read and the writing is absolutely an art form. Like you said, it's definitely not for everyone (the writing is unique and a bit different), but if it is your cup of tea, you're definitely in for a treat. 🙂 Thanks for sharing Jeann and, as always, BEAUTIFUL review! <3
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  11. I loved this book, too! I had not expected it to be like how it was AT ALL. The ending seriously punched me in the feels. I hadn't realized how invested I was until everything was laid out. This novel has definitely stuck with me, too. It's definitely one I won't be forgetting soon.

    Awesome review and thanks for the giveaway!

    Ashtyn @ Wonderland’s Reader!
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  12. I wasn't particularly a huge fan of this, but like you said, the writing is not for everyone and is definitely a matter of preference. One of my issues was figuring out what had happened early and I know the writing was supposed to be an indication of the main character's mental state, but I thought it was choppy. I also think the hype was another reason why this failed to resonate with me like for everyone else. I was sad that I was a black sheep when it came to this book, but we all have different tastes (thankfully!). I'm glad you enjoyed this so much, Jeann. Lovely review! 🙂

  13. I absolutely loved it. ^-^ I'm still reeling, too, actually, and I read it like 2 weeks ago! THAT ENDING OMG THAT ENDING. And actually I'd forgotten about those little rewritten fairy tales that Cadence told! I usually skip that kind of stuff, because I don't usually find them interesting, but those…those were really entrancing. And they actually told a LOT about Cadence and the story too. I still…that ending? No, just no. I'm really glad I didn't see any spoilers because I think that would've completely wrecked it for me! XD IT WAS BRILLIANCE.
    Cait @ Notebook Sist recently posted…Breaking Butterflies by M. Anjelais || Also: Breaking My MindMy Profile

  14. I keep hearing great things about this book! And because of that want to read it. I want it to mess my head and experience whatever this thing all these people keep going on about. It's also the reason I've been skipping reviews for it, even yours! I did read your epilogue though and that makes me want to read it even more. Plus you gave it 4.5 stars!!
    Bec @ Readers in Won recently posted…Merchant’s Ransom: The Burning Sky by Sherry ThomasMy Profile

  15. What a brilliant review, Jeann. I feel slightly sorry for myself because I didn't love this as much as you did. It's just that my mind practically told me what's about to happen and it robbed me of the emotional impact the book might've given me. I did enjoy the Once Upon a Time stories by Cadence and I agree with you that the writing is reminiscent of The Book Thief. I actually appreciated the writing all throughout, what I really would have wanted was me not figuring things out before the reveal. *sniffs*
    Sarah @ Smitten over recently posted…Review: Quintana of Charyn (Lumatere Chronicles #3) by Melina MarchettaMy Profile

    • Thanks Sarah, that's a shame that you didn't enjoy it that much, I loved it so much. It felt like an artform you know? Although I kind of know why there are some who didn't enjoy it similarly.

  16. Oh I would surely love to have my mind blown. Those kinds of books easily sneak into my favorites list. I personally loved The Book Thief so I think the writing in this one should be right up my alley. I'm so glad that all the reviews I read about this book has been preserving the integrity and not letting anyone know what to expect. We just know that the ending will be something, and I'm really really curious. I wish I lived in Australia so that I could join your giveaway. Haha!
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    • I know right, they are the most impactful I think. The Book Thief is right up there as one of my favourite books. Haha hopefully you get the chance to read this, it sounds like you're really curious! I'm glad no one has spoilt it for you!

  17. I couldn't get it out of my head either when I was done reading it. It definitely left an impression on me, not going to lie. THAT ENDING O________________O "It’s told through the eyes of an unreliable narrator" yep. She was definitely up there with Mara Dyer. I enjoyed the tackled topics too! Those OUaT stories though. They totally killed me even if I wanted to read more about the actual story in present than those made up by Cadence. Agreed. It's more about the characters than the actual plot and what can happen when greed, obsessions and everything like that take over one's life. I'm glad you enjoyed this one, Jeann!

    Siiri @ Little Pieces of Imagination