This suspense novel for teens won't leave anyone indifferent. It keeps us on our toes the whole time, making it impossible to put the book down. Always saying "just one more chapter and then I'll stop".
Suspense novels for young people have been booming in the past few years. There are the classic lifelong topics, authors and stories such as the Enid Blyton sagas or the Sherlock Holmes adaptations for children, as well as children's and teens' literature by some of the most important authors of crime and detective fiction.
We Were Liars is a disturbing teen novel, very disturbing! The author knows that she's writing for a teen audience and so she has to keep the lid on some of the more controversial images and passages. Although the plot is complex, it stays true to the more or less classic idea of a teen novel with a social critique, telling the story of a youthful rebellion against adult hypocrisy.
This isn't your average mystery or adventure novel. The tone is dark, dramatic and soon enough the events lose the feel of a summer adventure to hide (not reveal, the author doesn't let the cat out of the bag until the end) a nasty secret.
What can you say about a story that keeps you in the dark while reading? We Were Liars is a mystery teen novel that doesn't approach its genre from a fantastic or investigative perspective; rather, it uses mystery with a dramatic and realistic tone. The plot is based on the classic story of a rich and powerful family that has everything you need to be happy: the trappings of a perfect life, money, resources, beauty and every opportunity within their reach. However, the book's power lies in how the story is told.
Apparently, it's the tale of a romance, although really it's a story about the stuff of truth and lies. The main character and the setting that the author creates, together with the other characters, forge an atmosphere in which the fine line between truth and lies is blurred; the family tells lies that are half-truths; and we witness the lies that people tell themselves.
The ending has been much talked about; it even went viral on the internet. It's one of those endings that subtly creep up on you thanks to Elisabeth Lockhart's prose, showing her command of suspense fiction. Even though we see it coming, it still shocks us.
If you want a book offering a social critique of the destructive power of hypocrisy with a youthful rebellion at the heart of its mystery, you've found it!