We Were Liars

a novel by E. Lockhart

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My full name is Cadence Sinclair Eastman.

I live in Burlington, Vermont, with Mummy and three dogs.

I am nearly eighteen.

I own a well-used library card and not much else, though it is true I live in a grand house

full of expensive, useless objects.

I used to be blond, but now my hair is black.

I used to be strong, but now I am weak.

I used to be pretty, but now I look sick.

It is true I suffer migraines since my accident.

It is true I do not suffer fools.

I like a twist of meaning. You see? Suffer migraines. Do not suffer fools. The word means

almost the same as it did in the previous sentence, but not quite.

Suffer.

You could say it means endure, but that’s not exactly right.

The Plot

The book deals with the rich, American Sinclair family, that seems to be perfect.

The Sinclairs are handsome, fascinating, and mysteriously successful. People look up to them, and see a strong family with an impressive history.

However, the family seems to be, underneath the surface, full of hatred and envy.

After the sudden death of their mother, each of the aunts try to get their father's attitude and show him she deserves the most of the family's capital and assets, and the greatest part of the inheritance.

With no hesitation, they trample on each other, bring up old and new offenses and tear the family apart, in an irreparable way. Their father, overwhelmed by his power, only arouses his daughters.

The grandchildren are caught in the battlefield, with their mothers trying to take advantage of them just to prove their grandfather that they are the most promising grandchildren, and convince him they need his financial support the most.

The aunts turn the kids against one another and they feel helpless.

So helpless

that they take a desperate step

which ended as a tragedy.

the characters

The main characters in the story are Cadence, Johnny, Gat, Mirren, Harris and the aunts (Carrie, Bess and Penny).

Harris is the head of the family, father of Carrie, Bess and Penny. He is wealthy, arrogant, stubborn, manipulative, subversive, intriguer and selfish. He is a racist and a control- freak.

The story surrounds him, even though it doesn't seem this way at first, for he is the cause the controversy. He lets the anger rise as he stands aside and watches his daughters despise each other until the whole family was torn.

Carrie, Bess and Penny are the daughters of Harris and Tipper, and both of whom have the same role in the story. The three of them are typical Sinclair daughters, all blond and handsome and tanned and tall. They were raised at a wealthy family, and because of that each of them is scared to death to be left with no big inheritance. After the death of their mother they begin to fight, as they are depended on their fathers' money, and see the materialism and pretending more important than their family. Each of them is selfish, and they are so afraid to stay powerless that they prefer to ruin the whole family.

The Liars: Cady, Gat, Johnny and Mirren are called in the family the Liars. It is never described in the story why, and the readers can only assume it's because they somehow "live in a lie" when they meet every summer on Beechwood Island - a lie that their life is flawless.


Cadence is the protagonist, she is Penny's daughter and the eldest grandchild - "Heiress to the island, the fortune, and the expectations". She is intelligent, loves books and has a sense of humor. When the family starts to fall apart, a different side of her is shown: she is critical, bitter, firm and stands for her values, and stands to her mother as she tries to use her in order to slander her cousins. She is also very emphatic, as she is able to see the situation from other peoples' point of view.

Johnny is Carrie's son, and he is about at the age of Cady. He is lighthearted and tends to treat serious or frightening conditions with humor. He is fully committed to things that matter to him, such as his mother and brother, the Liars, running and his values.

Mirren is Bess's daughter. She is cheerful, caring and yet hot-tempered and sometimes even bossy. She wants to enjoy life, travel and experience new things, she is ambitious and wants to be active. In addition, she is spontaneous, hasty and tends to act before thinking.

Gat is the nephew of Carrie's new partner (which makes him Johnny's cousin-in-a-law), who started visiting Beechwood since he was eight. He is Indian and dark-skinned, and notices the racist way Harris treats him and his uncle. He is Ambitious, sharp, smart, stubborn, notices every single thing and analyzes situations precisely. He sees beyond others, and gets the hidden meaning in people's words and actions. He is vigilant and seems like he never stops thinking, never stops questioning things and trying to fix the evil and injustice in the world.

He and Cady share a complicated relationship: they are in love, but after the accident things change between the two of them.

"Welcome to the beautiful Sinclair family.

No one is a criminal.

No one is an addict.

No one is a failure.

The Sinclairs are athletic, tall, and handsome. We are old-money Democrats. Our smiles are wide, our chins square, and our tennis serves aggressive.

It doesn’t matter if divorce shreds the muscles of our hearts so that they will hardly beat without a struggle.

It doesn’t matter if trust-fund money is running out; if credit card bills go

unpaid on the kitchen counter. It doesn’t matter if there’s a cluster of pill bottles on the

bedside table.

It doesn’t matter if one of us is desperately, desperately in love.

So much

in love

that equally desperate measures

must be taken.

We are Sinclairs.

No one is needy.

No one is wrong.

We live, at least in the summertime, on a private island off the coast of Massachusetts.

Perhaps that is all you need to know."

the truth

The story is told from Cadence's point of view.

It begins with Cadence telling the readers about about the horrible disaster that had happened to her two years before, of which she can't remember a single thing.

That disaster, the readers later find out, is the consequence of the split in the Sinclairs family.

All Cadence knows is that she's been in an accident on the family's private island, on which they have spent every summer together, and that she seems to be suffering from headaches and migraines. The story is divided to five parts, every one of them revealing another part of the incident until the whole picture comes clear.

In the fourth part, Cady remembers the accident, how she and the Liars decided to burn the house that belonged to their grandparents. They did so as a desperate action to save the family, given the fact that the house was worth a lot of money and held inside a lot of assets and furniture the aunts had fought over.


On a night when Granddad and the rest had taken boats across the bay,

when the staff was off duty

and we Liars were alone on the island,

the four of us did what we were afraid to do.

We burned not a home, but a symbol.

We burned a symbol to the ground.


However, on the fifth part she remembers the most crucial part of the story.

Cadence realizes why Gat, Johnny and Mirren have'nt contacted her ever since the accident, a thing she was so frustrated about.

She realizes they died in the flames, and that she is the only one left.

Criticism against the society

The story criticizes the way that the Sinclairs give priority to reputation and pretending, to assets and money, and prefer them to human affection, compassion and love.

It also gives a different perspective about other subjects, such as arrogance, egoism and racism, in a way that makes the reader feel somewhat uncomfortable and even guilty.

my opinion

This is one of the best books I've ever read.

It is extraordinarily unpredictable, and each part of it is more fascinating than its former one. The book is written in such a good manner that I felt as if I was part of it. It is full of complicated characters that change during the plot, and it keeps the readers thrilled until the very end.What I liked the most about this story is the fact that the plot has two major twists that leave the readers surprised and shocked. The first comes as the details of the accident get revealed, and after that the readers see the arson as a good act that managed to keep the family together, teach the adults a lesson and show them what is really important in life - as planned. Then, the shocking [art comes, when Cady and the readers together find out about the horrible consequences of the fire. I felt guilty with Cady, and I could really feel for her.

The amazing way E. Lockhart uses in order to describe feelings and the concrete metaphors she uses makes the story even better, and drew me.

This novel is one of the few books that made me lie in bed a few nights after I finished reading it, wondering the situations mentioned in it. I read this book a few times, each time understanding even more hidden parts of it.

It's worth reading!

My full name is Cadence Sinclair Eastman.

I suffer migraines. I do not suffer fools.

I like a twist of meaning.

I endure.