Saturday, May 31, 2014

We Were Liars

Each summer, Cady Sinclair's family lives on an idyllic private island. The Grandparents: Harris and Tipper. The Aunts: Carrie, Bess, and Penny. The Children: Johnny, Will, Mirrin, Liberty, Taft, Bonnie, and Cadence. Cady. And there's Gatwick. Gat. The boy Cady loves. On the surface, everything seems beautiful. Perfect.

But there is a hidden underbelly to this life. This story. The dark and ugly part outsiders don't see, because to show weakness and imperfection is SO not the Sinclair style. The aunts quarrel constantly over the large inheritance, and the cruel and senile grandfather fuels these arguments for his own sick amusement. Cady and Gat's budding relationship is forbidden because Gat is an outsider. A foreigner. And, even though no one will come out and say as much, the wrong color. But Cady doesn't care. She sees through the adults' shallowness and pettiness. She, Gat, Mirrin, and Johnny. The Liars, as they call themselves. Then, their 15th summer on the island, the four devise the perfect plan to punish the adults and make them see the error of their ways. Make them see just how shallow and petty they really are. It's foolproof.

Only something goes very wrong.

Cady is found on the beach, half-clothed and with mysterious injuries no memory of what happened. 

She is taken away, hospitalized. For two years, she is not allowed to return to the island or even speak of it. No one will tell her what happened that night or why she can't remember anything. Her emails, letters, calls to Johnny, Mirrin, and even Gat are ignored. She can't imagine why the people who matter most to her have abandoned her when she needs them most, and she's desperately hurt by it.

Then the summer before she turns 18, Cady is permitted to return to the island. The grandfather (grandmother is now dead), the aunts, the Liars, and the younger cousins are all there...and everyone is carrying on as if nothing happened years earlier. It's obvious something is very and profoundly wrong, but one will tell Cady anything.

She must get on with her life, they say.

She must remember on her own, they say.

And then she DOES remember. And nothing can ever be the same again. 

We Were Liars is an amazing story with the most shocking, unpredictable twist I've encountered in a long time. Read it! --AJB

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