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Publisher's Summary

Number one New York Times best seller.

A modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist, and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. Don't miss the eagerly anticipated prequel, Family of Liars, available May 2022!

A beautiful and distinguished family.

A private island.

A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.

A group of four friends - the Liars - whose friendship turns destructive.

A revolution. An accident. A secret.

Lies upon lies.

True love.

The truth.

Listen to it. And if anyone asks you how it ends, just lie.

©2014 E. Lockhart (P)2014 Listening Library

Critic Reviews

"You’re going to want to remember the title. 

Liars details the summers of a girl who harbors a dark secret, and delivers a satisfying, but shocking twist ending." (Breia Brissey, 

Entertainment Weekly)

"Surprising, thrilling, and beautifully executed in spare, precise, and lyrical prose, Lockhart spins a tragic family drama, the roots of which go back generations. And the ending? Shhhh. Not telling. (But it’s a doozy)...This is poised to be big." (Booklist)

"Thrilling, beautiful, and blisteringly smart, We Were Liars is utterly unforgettable." (John Green, number one New York Times best-selling author of The Fault in Our Stars)

Featured Article: 25+ Quotes About the Power of Kindness


Kindness is the quality of being considerate, compassionate, generous, gentle, and caring towards others without expecting anything in return. Often described as a virtue, kindness is also a strength—in fact, it may be one of humanity's greatest superpowers. Whenever you need a little encouragement or gentle reminder, turn to these quotes from authors who understand the power of kindness and express it quite remarkably.

What listeners say about We Were Liars

Average Customer Ratings
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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    2,329
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

I Cannot Tell a Lie...Hated it

We were young, beautiful, and more than affluent. Blonde haired heiress to fortune falls for boy outside her WASP class and summers with Mummy and cousins on private island near Martha's Vineyard. After a traumatic event, Cadence struggles to remember what tragedy had befallen her the summer before last.

Boring is the best word for this. The writing was plain, repetitive, and if I heard one more time how pretty and rich they were, I was going to reach through my iPhone and strangle her myself. Waste of my time. Would have returned it, but purchased on sale.

90 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Careful: verrrrrrry depressing

Just a word of warning: don’t read this book if you are even the slightest bit depressed. In fact, even if you are positively elated and exquisitely happy, make sure you have a pint of Ben & Jerry’s close at hand. Clever, but very very depressing.

7 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Liar Liar

We Were Liars is about a group of four family friends that call themselves the Liars. They summer with their families every year at an exclusive island off Cape Cod. During the 15th summer everything falls apart, and our unreliable narrator Cadence (Cady) Sinclair Eastman suffers a head injury and selective amnesia. The reader follows a scant trail of breadcrumbs to put it all together, but still, the final act will likely shock you.

It took me some time to warm up to this group of privileged teens. But as the book wore on I got more curious about Cady, her cousins Johnny and Mirren, and her love interest Gat, the outsider, who only see each other in the summer and live separate lives during the school year. Issues of class, race, gender roles, and privilege are on the table among the Liars, and their old-money families are at the mercy of Cady’s grandfather who holds the purse strings.

After the mysterious incident in the 15th summer, Cady returns two years later a different person. She’s dyed her hair black, has memory loss and migraines, and gives away her belongings. And adding to the mystery angle, all the Liars and family members are instructed not to tell Cady what happened two years ago. My mind was going to all kinds of dark places, but I was still way off base.

With the setting and Cady’s foggy headspace there is a dreamy quality to the book that is further enhanced by the dark fairytales that Cady references in the story.

E. Lockhart’s writing is smart and poetic, and the book is cleverly crafted. I did feel detached from the story and the characters at times, but I’m thinking that’s part of the design of the book. Even if you feel a lack of connection to the story at first the mystery has a great payoff in the end that gives you all the feels.

Narrator Ariadne Meyers made Cady’s confused state of mind believable. Her tone of voice is convincing when portraying these blue blood type characters. The pacing was fine and the male and female voices and age ranges were distinct. One reason you might want to go with the print version instead though is to flip back for reference. With a high concept book like this with so many surprises, the audio makes it tricky to go back and re-listen if you need to. However, listening to the story does make it feel more mysterious and chilling and Meyers does a good job selling this story.

Listen to We Were Liars if you like: High concept mystery, literary YA, unreliable narrators, and twisty stories.

34 people found this helpful

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Why?

Is there anything you would change about this book?

This is not a spoiler, but early on the protagonist says her father shot her and left her bleeding when he abandoned the family. While meant figuratively, I thought for a second it was literal, and was entranced that the story might be a journey to learn why he shot his daughter. It might have been more interesting.

Would you recommend We Were Liars to your friends? Why or why not?

The book is very well written, and has well defined, fully realized characters. Having said that, this is a dark book without any particular depth or meaning, although the events and extreme emotionality almost simulate them. The younger the reader is, the more they may be hoodwinked, although I wouldn't recommended the book to anyone under 15. It touches on racism, elitisms, hypocrisy, friendship, family, charity, nostalgia, and fleetingly with forgiveness, but not to any true sense of resolution.

Some have commented on the twist(s) or the predictability, and I have to admit that if you combine two very popular movies together you've locked in on this books key gimmicks. I have mixed emotions, because they were undeniably well executed. Memory repression & selective amnesia have been somewhat of a cliche over the past 30-years and I wonder if they happen much more in movies and books than in real life. The chief mistake of the book is that the reveal is so close to the end that there is only time for minimal resolution. There is not a compelling message or resonance to the book.

Perhaps young people are idealistic and sometimes very foolish and old people are sometimes controlling and as childish as young people, but why did the author think this particular story was important to tell? What could have been a mystery, a horror novel, or a coming of age story gets somehow stalled as a character development piece. Ultimately the book reads quickly and maintains interest, so I don't discourage reading it--just know that it is more or a tragedy than an HEA.

Two examples (not YA) of books that are fully fleshed out, but better developed tragedies with some similarity to this book are:
The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death
&
An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England

Which character – as performed by Ariadne Meyers – was your favorite?

The narration was excellent and all characters were done very well. Toward the end, the narrator gets a little heavy with the emoting rather than letting the words carry the emotion.

11 people found this helpful

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Emotionally beautiful

I’ve never cried so much in my life. Absolutely beautiful and breathtaking, it was an ending I wasn’t expecting.

2 people found this helpful

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Boring - Could not connect

I’m still trying to figure out the purpose of this story. The reading was dull and monotone.

5 people found this helpful

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Blockbuster ending!


"Should you do what you're afraid to do?"

This is a challenging book to review, because the story is the unraveling of memories, understandings and events, and it would spoil the entire thing to say too much. Cadence, the protagonist--and also the narrating voice of the book, is friends with her cousins Johnny and Mirren, as well as Gat, the stepson of her aunt. They are a tight foursome, referring to themselves as "The Liars."

The story brings us into the lives of people who live a lifestyle most of us would never dream of (wealth, privilege, private island, etc). Gat, who is part of them, but has a slight outsider perspective provides some contrast. The relevant events take place during the summer they are all 15 years old. As the story begins, Cadence is trying to cope with migraines and traumatic amnesia from an accident she believes happened in the water. She has also had to cope with her parents' separation. She is trying to piece together what happened.

There is a wonderful background commentary revealed through fairy tale stories and literary allusions. I have to be careful here, because this has an amazing ending, and I am even tempted to say one reads the book for the ending, except that would deny the great writing and character development that takes place throughout the whole novel. I think this would make a great selection for a book club, where it could be more openly discussed.

The narration is very good, seems to capture the voice and inflections of an adolescent very well. The author has an amazing way of bringing the reader/listener into the family secrets with the parallel background fairy tales, and often the references to King Lear. This is an excellent book. Highly recommend!

11 people found this helpful

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Truly amazing

i got recommended this book from a friend and i never thought i would like the book and yet here i am writing a five star review on a book i never thought i would enjoy. amazing storyline and i loved.l
the end. i usually dont cry that often but this book got me right in the feels.10/10 i will be asking my friend for more recommendations.

1 person found this helpful

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We Were Liars

The story was well written but it was somewhat predictable. I did not enjoy the voice used for Gat, it really irritated me. Otherwise the narration was ok. Overall, this was a good story.

1 person found this helpful

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Just do it

where do you go from this after learning the secret 🤯 like wow I'm honestly so happy I chosen this book.

1 person found this helpful