Cadence Sinclair is the eldest granddaughter of the wealthy Sinclair family. Together with her grandparents, parents, aunts and cousins she whiles away every summer on the family's private island. She spends those summers running wild with her cousins Johnny and Mirren and their friend Gat, with the four of them being known collectively as "the four liars." Then in "summer fifteen", the year that Cadence turns fifteen, something happens. Cadence has an accident which she can't remember, which leaves her sick and unable to return to the island until summer seventeen. Once she is back on the island Cadence gradually regains her memories and starts to piece together the events that led up to her long absence.
There is a lot of hype surrounding this book, which doesn't do it any favours. It's good, it's just not as good as I expected after hearing from numerous sources how amazing it was. I was expecting the plot to be more original, and I found the purple prose and odd formatting a little pretentious,though I did quite like the dramatic descriptions of Cadence's emotional state.
For the first half of the story I found Cadence an irritating spoiled little rich girl. Granted she does now suffer from chronic pain and unexplained memory loss, but she has no idea how lucky she is living in a beautiful home, never needing to work and whiling away her summers on a private island served by staff whose names she doesn't even know. It was refreshing when the working class Gat points her privilege out to her and I found that she got less annoying from then on. After the death of her grandmother, Tipper, there is trouble between the three aunts over who will inherit the family fortune, and things get a little King Lear. I can't say much more for fear of spoiling the book, but that's where things start to get interesting.
We Were Liars is a coming of age story. It's about being young and not knowing how lucky you are, and learning to cope when some of the security and good fortune you took for granted is taken away for you. Judging from other reviews I have seen it's a book that most people either love or hate. It's a quick read that could easily be burned through in the course of an afternoon if you're in the mood so if you're interested you might as well give it whirl.