Titles and straplines are funny things. “Which are lies? Which is truth? You decide.” This is a novel of repressed memories, of withheld facts but lies? I’m not even sure why the close-knit group were named ‘the liars’ by their family. I get that whenever tragedy strikes there is gossip and twisting of facts. That those involved have their own perspective of events. But if you’d asked me what the title hinted at, it would be children weaving a web of lies. A novel challenging the reader to differentiate between lies and truth.
Saying that my strapline A Boy, A Girl, A killer is embarrassingly basic. Regarding titles, I named RANDOM ATTACHMENT in a minute. I don’t deliberate, if my first idea fits the brief then onward I go – writing is what I love…or my imagination is limited! The strapline was harder than writing the book; I failed the challenge miserably but I think it’s pretty clear what the story is about.
I enjoyed WE WERE LIARS. I read it over a few days. The story is beautifully and brilliantly told. I didn’t see the twist coming which is a credit to the author’s skill. I was intrigued by what was being kept from Cady but I didn’t feel desperate to find out. But that can be a good thing because you were with the characters whist they idled their holidays away.
I need to connect to characters. I liked Cady but I wasn’t gutted for her. Yes she had headaches that immobilised her, yes pain was severely affecting her life but I knew by the end of the book her issues would be resolved.
Her love for Gat felt more like a crush – it didn’t burn within her. It was more a response to a close friendship and an awareness of physical changes as they blossomed. I didn’t feel he was the love of her life. Had I, the conclusion would have hit me harder.
The fairytale concept I liked but they were too long and one too many.
I wasn’t totally convinced by Cady as a character. THE REBIRTH OF HENRY WHITTLE (TRHW) has multiple pov’s. RANDOM ATTACHMENT is a third person narrator; sometimes the young adult voice is lost within an adult narrator and I felt this true of WE WERE LIARS. The writing is quality but there was no differentiation between the eleven year old cady and the fifteen year old. I think that is common of YA books and it’s not always down to the writer. My former agent loved the premise of TRHW and Phoenix’s voice. Yet throughout the editing process, bit by bit, she toned it down to the point it was lost.
Here’s what HotKeyBooks had to say about TRHW “This has a pretty dark premise at its core, I actually really liked the story. It was weird and twisty…but Phoenix’s voice ended up feeling a bit self-conscious.”
And so began the withdrawal of my agent who’d steered the book in the direction of ‘making Phoenix’s voice more palatable’ because it was in part angry and frustrated. It was at this point I decided to self publish. I couldn’t go through another year of editing to find out it’s not what publishers want. My years are too precious and I love my writing too much to lose control again.
WE WERE LIARS was hugely successful and I see why. I’m glad I read it. I enjoyed it. I didn’t love it but I would highly recommend it. I’m not going to hold the publisher HotKeyBooks against e.lockhart. Instead I’m giving WE WERE LIARS an 8.5 out of 10. My 10/10 would be a book I miss once it’s finished, a book I wish I hadn’t read so I could read it again, a book like Laura McHugh’s THE WEIGHT OF BLOOD or Sarah Pinborough’s THE DEATH HOUSE and undoubtedly 13 REASONS WHY which I read in a night I was so engrossed and in despair for Hannah. These are books that have huge crossover appeal, anyone over 14 could love them.
Opinions are subjective; I would never severely criticise a writer because what I dislike another reader could love, so I simply don’t review. I have read many more books both YA and ADULT that didn’t meet my blogging standards. So to all those authors on my pages I salute you for the fantastic books you’ve written. WE WERE LIARS would make a great Christmas pressie for the 11-15 age group. Thank you e.lockhart for a wonderful read.