We Were Liars

We Were Liars

Hardcover | May 13, 2014

byE. Lockhart

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A New York Times Bestseller

"Haunting, sophisticated . . . a novel so twisty and well-told that it will appeal to older readers as well as to adolescents."--Wall Street Journal

"A rich, stunning summer mystery with a sharp twist that will leave you dying to talk about the book with a pal or ten."--Parade.com

"Thrilling, beautiful, and blisteringly smart, We Were Liars is utterly unforgettable." - John Green, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars

"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

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.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award finalist, and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 
Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

"An ambitious novel with an engaging voice, a clever plot and some terrific writing."--New York Times Book Review

"No one should be talking about the shocking twist ending. What we can talk about is...[Lockhart's] razor-sharp portrayal of a family for whom keeping up appearances is paramount and, ultimately, tragic."--The Chicago Tribune

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We Were Liars

Hardcover | May 13, 2014
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$12.34 online $19.99 (save 38%)

From the Publisher

A New York Times Bestseller"Haunting, sophisticated . . . a novel so twisty and well-told that it will appeal to older readers as well as to adolescents."--Wall Street Journal"A rich, stunning summer mystery with a sharp twist that will leave you dying to talk about the book with a pal or ten."--Parade.com"Thrilling, beautiful, and bli...

E. Lockhart is the author of the highly acclaimed New York Times bestseller We Were Liars and the Ruby Oliver quartet (The Boyfriend List, The Boy Book, The Treasure Map of Boys, and Real Live Boyfriends), as well as Fly on the Wall, Dramarama, and How to Be Bad (the last with Sarah Mlynowski and Lauren Myracle). Her novel The Disreput...

other books by E. Lockhart

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

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Fly On The Wall
Fly On The Wall

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Nous les menteurs
Nous les menteurs

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see all books by E. Lockhart
Format:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 8.5 × 5.71 × 0.88 inPublished:May 13, 2014Publisher:Random House Children's BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:038574126X

ISBN - 13:9780385741262


Extra Content

Read from the Book

1Welcome 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.2My 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.My story starts before the accident. June of the summer I was fifteen, my father ran off with some woman he loved more than us.Dad was a middling-successful professor of military history. Back then I adored him. He wore tweed jackets. He was gaunt. He drank milky tea. He was fond of board games and let me win, fond of boats and taught me to kayak, fond of bicycles, books, and art museums.He was never fond of dogs, and it was a sign of how much he loved my mother that he let our golden retrievers sleep on the sofas and walked them three miles every morning. He was never fond of my grandparents, either, and it was a sign of how much he loved both me and Mummy that he spent every summer in Windemere House on Beechwood Island, writing articles on wars fought long ago and putting on a smile for the relatives at every meal.That June, summer fifteen, Dad announced he was leaving and departed two days later. He told my mother he wasn't a Sinclair, and couldn't try to be one, any longer. He couldn't smile, couldn't lie, couldn't be part of that beautiful family in those beautiful houses. Couldn't. Couldn't. Wouldn't.He had hired moving vans already. He'd rented a house, too. My father put a last suitcase into the backseat of the Mercedes (he was leaving Mummy with only the Saab), and started the engine.Then he pulled out a handgun and shot me in the chest. I was standing on the lawn and I fell. The bullet hole opened wide and my heart rolled out of my rib cage and down into a flower bed. Blood gushed rhythmically from my open wound,then from my eyes,my ears,my mouth.It tasted like salt and failure. The bright red shame of being unloved soaked the grass in front of our house, the bricks of the path, the steps to the porch. My heart spasmed among the peonies like a trout.Mummy snapped. She said to get hold of myself.Be normal, now, she said. Right now, she said.Because you are. Because you can be. Don't cause a scene, she told me. Breathe and sit up.I did what she asked.She was all I had left.Mummy and I tilted our square chins high as Dad drove down the hill. Then we went indoors and trashed the gifts he'd given us: jewelry, clothes, books, anything. In the days that followed, we got rid of the couch and armchairs my parents had bought together. Tossed the wedding china, the silver, the photographs.We purchased new furniture. Hired a decorator. Placed an order for Tiffany silverware. Spent a day walking through art galleries and bought paintings to cover the empty spaces on our walls.We asked Granddad's lawyers to secure Mummy's assets.Then we packed our bags and went to Beechwood Island.3Penny, Carrie, and Bess are the daughters of Tipper and Harris Sinclair. Harris came into his money at twenty-one after Harvard and grew the fortune doing business I never bothered to understand. He inherited houses and land. He made intelligent decisions about the stock market. He married Tipper and kept her in the kitchen and the garden. He put her on display in pearls and on sailboats. She seemed to enjoy it.Granddad's only failure was that he never had a son, but no matter. The Sinclair daughters were sunburnt and blessed. Tall, merry, and rich, those girls were like princesses in a fairy tale. They were known throughout Boston, Harvard Yard, and Martha's Vineyard for their cashmere cardigans and grand parties. They were made for legends. Made for princes and Ivy League schools, ivory statues and majestic houses.Granddad and Tipper loved the girls so, they couldn't say whom they loved best. First Carrie, then Penny, then Bess, then Carrie again. There were splashy weddings with salmon and harpists, then bright blond grandchildren and funny blond dogs. No one could ever have been prouder of their beautiful American girls than Tipper and Harris were, back then.They built three new houses on their craggy private island and gave them each a name: Windemere for Penny, Red Gate for Carrie, and Cuddledown for Bess.I am the eldest Sinclair grandchild. Heiress to the island, the fortune, and the expectations.Well, probably.4Me, Johnny, Mirren, and Gat. Gat, Mirren, Johnny, and me.The family calls us four the Liars, and probably we deserve it. We are all nearly the same age, and we all have birthdays in the fall. Most years on the island, we've been trouble.Gat started coming to Beechwood the year we were eight. Summer eight, we called it.Before that, Mirren, Johnny, and I weren't Liars. We were nothing but cousins, and Johnny was a pain because he didn't like playing with girls.Johnny, he is bounce, effort, and snark. Back then he would hang our Barbies by the necks or shoot us with guns made of Lego.Mirren, she is sugar, curiosity, and rain. Back then she spent long afternoons with Taft and the twins, splashing at the big beach, while I drew pictures on graph paper and read in the hammock on the Clairmont house porch.Then Gat came to spend the summers with us.Aunt Carrie's husband left her when she was pregnant with Johnny's brother, Will. I don't know what happened. The family never speaks of it. By summer eight, Will was a baby and Carrie had taken up with Ed already. This Ed, he was an art dealer and he adored the kids. That was all we'd heard about him when Carrie announced she was bringing him to Beechwood, along with Johnny and the baby.They were the last to arrive that summer, and most of us were on the dock waiting for the boat to pull in. Granddad lifted me up so I could wave at Johnny, who was wearing an orange life vest and shouting over the prow.Granny Tipper stood next to us. She turned away from the boat for a moment, reached in her pocket, and brought out a white peppermint. Unwrapped it and tucked it into my mouth. As she looked back at the boat, Gran's face changed. I squinted to see what she saw.Carrie stepped off with Will on her hip. He was in a baby's yellow life vest, and was really no more than a shock of white-blond hair sticking up over it. A cheer went up at the sight of him. That vest, which we had all worn as babies. The hair. How wonderful that this little boy we didn't know yet was so obviously a Sinclair.Johnny leapt off the boat and threw his own vest on the dock. First thing, he ran up to Mirren and kicked her. Then he kicked me. Kicked the twins. Walked over to our grandparents and stood up straight. "Good to see you, Granny and Granddad. I look forward to a happy summer."Tipper hugged him. "Your mother told you to say that, didn't she?""Yes," said Johnny. "And I'm to say, nice to see you again.""Good boy.""Can I go now?"Tipper kissed his freckled cheek. "Go on, then."Ed followed Johnny, having stopped to help the staff unload the luggage from the motorboat. He was tall and slim. His skin was very dark: Indian heritage, we'd later learn. He wore black-framed glasses and was dressed in dapper city clothes: a linen suit and striped shirt. The pants were wrinkled from traveling.Granddad set me down.Granny Tipper's mouth made a straight line. Then she showed all her teeth and went forward."You must be Ed. What a lovely surprise."He shook hands. "Didn't Carrie tell you we were coming?""Of course she did."Ed looked around at our white, white family. Turned to Carrie. "Where's Gat?"They called for him, and he climbed from the inside of the boat, taking off his life vest, looking down to undo the buckles."Mother, Dad," said Carrie, "we brought Ed's nephew to play with Johnny. This is Gat Patil."Granddad reached out and patted Gat's head. "Hello, young man.""Hello.""His father passed on, just this year," explained Carrie. "He and Johnny are the best of friends. It's a big help to Ed's sister if we take him for a few weeks. And, Gat? You'll get to have cookouts and go swimming like we talked about. Okay?"But Gat didn't answer. He was looking at me.His nose was dramatic, his mouth sweet. Skin deep brown, hair black and waving. Body wired with energy. Gat seemed spring-loaded. Like he was searching for something. He was contemplation and enthusiasm. Ambition and strong coffee. I could have looked at him forever.Our eyes locked.I turned and ran away.Gat followed. I could hear his feet behind me on the wooden walkways that cross the island. I kept running. He kept following.Johnny chased Gat. And Mirren chased Johnny.The adults remained talking on the dock, circling politely around Ed, cooing over baby Will. The littles did whatever littles do.We four stopped running at the tiny beach down by Cuddledown House. It's a small stretch of sand with high rocks on either side. No one used it much, back then. The big beach had softer sand and less seaweed.Mirren took off her shoes and the rest of us followed. We tossed stones into the water. We just existed.I wrote our names in the sand.Cadence, Mirren, Johnny, and Gat.Gat, Johnny, Mirren, and Cadence.That was the beginning of us.Johnny begged to have Gat stay longer.He got what he wanted.The next year he begged to have him come for the entire summer.Gat came.Johnny was the first grandson. My grandparents almost never said no to Johnny.5Summer fourteen, Gat and I took out the small motorboat alone. It was just after breakfast. Bess made Mirren play tennis with the twins and Taft. Johnny had started running that year and was doing loops around the perimeter path. Gat found me in the Clairmont kitchen and asked, did I want to take the boat out?"Not really." I wanted to go back to bed with a book."Please?" Gat almost never said please."Take it out yourself.""I can't borrow it," he said. "I don't feel right.""Of course you can borrow it.""Not without one of you."He was being ridiculous. "Where do you want to go?" I asked."I just want to get off-island. Sometimes I can't stand it here."I couldn't imagine, then, what it was he couldn't stand, but I said all right. We motored out to sea in wind jackets and bathing suits. After a bit, Gat cut the engine. We sat eating pistachios and breathing salt air. The sunlight shone on the water."Let's go in," I said. Gat jumped and I followed, but the water was so much colder than off the beach, it snatched our breath. The sun went behind a cloud. We laughed panicky laughs and shouted that it was the stupidest idea to get in the water. What had we been thinking? There were sharks off the coast, everybody knew that.Don't talk about sharks, God! We scrambled and pushed each other, struggling to be the first one up the ladder at the back of the boat.After a minute, Gat leaned back and let me go first. "Not because you're a girl but because I'm a good person," he told me."Thanks." I stuck out my tongue."But when a shark bites my legs off, promise to write a speech about how awesome I was.""Done," I said. "Gatwick Matthew Patil made a delicious meal."It seemed hysterically funny to be so cold. We didn't have towels. We huddled together under a fleece blanket we found under the seats, our bare shoulders touching each other. Cold feet, on top of one another."This is only so we don't get hypothermia," said Gat. "Don't think I find you pretty or anything.""I know you don't.""You're hogging the blanket.""Sorry."A pause.Gat said, "I do find you pretty, Cady. I didn't mean that the way it came out. In fact, when did you get so pretty? It's distracting.""I look the same as always.""You changed over the school year. It's putting me off my game.""You have a game?"He nodded solemnly."That is the dumbest thing I ever heard. What is your game?""Nothing penetrates my armor. Hadn't you noticed?"That made me laugh. "No.""Damn. I thought it was working."We changed the subject. Talked about bringing the littles to Edgartown to see a movie in the afternoon, about sharks and whether they really ate people, about Plants Versus Zombies.Then we drove back to the island.Not long after that, Gat started lending me his books and finding me at the tiny beach in the early evenings. He'd search me out when I was lying on the Windemere lawn with the goldens.We started walking together on the path that circles the island, Gat in front and me behind. We'd talk about books or invent imaginary worlds. Sometimes we'd end up walking several times around the edge before we got hungry or bored.

Editorial 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"Thrilling, beautiful, and blisteringly smart, We Were Liars is utterly unforgettable." - John Green, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars"This mindblowing YA thriller from E. Lockhart will make you glad you're the 99 percent...And that's about all we can tell you when it comes to the story of 'We Were Liars,' the book by E. Lockhart that everyone will be reading, and re-reading, this summer. It's twisty, it's mysterious, and it's got a surprise ending that'll knock your socks off."-Kat Rosenfield, MTV News"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, starred review"Lockhart has created a mystery with an ending most readers won’t see coming, one so horrific it will prompt some to return immediately to page one to figure out how they missed it. At the center of it is a girl who learns the hardest way of all what family means, and what it means to lose the one that really mattered to you."-Publishers Weekly, starred review"Riveting, brutal and beautifully told."-Kirkus, starred review"The ending is a stunner that  will haunt readers for a long time to come."-School Library Journal, starred review"A taut psychological mystery marked by an air of uneasy disorientation...The ultimate reveal is shocking both for its tragedy and for the how-could-I-have-not-suspected-that? feeling it leaves us with. But we didn’t, which is Lockhart’s commendable triumph."-The Horn Book, starred review“This is a love story as much as it is a psychological mystery…Astonishing."-Shelf Awareness, starred review“[a] haunting, sophisticated mystery...a novel so twisty and well-told that it will appeal to older readers as well as to adolescents”- The Wall Street Journal“Irresistible premise for this ticking time bomb of a novel”- The New York Times Book Review"A Lockhart YA is always a treat and this is no exception...The glimpse we get into a life of privilege, a lifestyle most of us can only imagine, is insightful and thrilling. The ending will shock the mose jaded of readers, we promise!"-RT Book Reviews"There's trouble in paradise at the opening of National Book Award finalist and Printz honoree E. Lockhart's shattering yet ultimately hopeful YA novel . . . and neither family nor reader will ever be the same."- Library Journal"It's a nearly perfect story, and it's utterly absorbing."- Bustle.com, 2014's Best YA Books"No book on this summer's reading list will have readers immobilized in their hammocks more than E. Lockhart's We Were Liars..... This book has that surprise quality--like Elizabeth Wein's Code Name Verity--that makes readers scramble back through hungrily devoured chapters and wonder in admiration: Could I have seen this coming? Did I miss any clues?"--Newsday"Like a shard of glass, WE WERE LIARS glitters and shines, then cuts deep. E. Lockhart has truly outdone herself with this masterful, darkly mesmerizing portrait of a fractured family ruined by the excess of wealth. Humming with rich descriptions and razor-sharp intelligence, the story of Cadence Sinclair Eastman will both inspire and haunt readers for years to come." - Sarah Pitre, Forever Young Adult"Perception often is not reality -- and it certainly is not in WE WERE LIARS. This is a look at what “a perfect world” looks like on the inside and how it unravels once one of the players sees it for what it is. Pitch perfect in both plotting and character development."- Carol Fitzgerald, Book Reporter"The must-read contemporary novel so far this year is definitely E. Lockhart’s stellar We Were Liars, a rich, stunning summer mystery with a sharp twist that will leaving you dying to talk about the book with a pal or ten."- Sonia Charaipotra, Parade"A haunting tale about how families live within their own mythologies. Sad, wonderful, and real."- Scott Westerfeld, author of Uglies and Leviathan"I've fallen in love with every E. Lockhart book I've ever read (and I've read them all), but We Were Liars blows them all out of the water. Dark, gripping, heartrending, and terrifyingly smart, this book grabs you from the first page--and will never let go."- Robin Wasserman, author of The Waking Dark"Spectacular."- Lauren Myracle, author of Shine, The Infinite Moment of Us, and TTYL"A haunting, brilliant, beautiful book. This is E. Lockhart at her mind-blowing best."- Sarah Mlynowski, author of Don't Even Think About It and Gimme a Call"Beautiful and disturbing."--Justine Larbalestier"Stunningly sharp. . . . will sear itself into your memory." - Christian Science Monitor"A haunting psychological thriller."--The Guardian"This is a brilliant new novel by E. Lockhart. I've always adored a good generational drama and this is deeply fascinating reading and soaked in suspense. And the ending is utterly spooky."--Martin Short, including WE WERE LIARS in his top 3 books of 2014“We Were Liars by E. Lockhart is a book as tragic as it is interesting.”—USAToday.com, Must-Read Romances  “Utterly immersive story of family privilege, young love and insurmountable tragedy.”--Salisbury Post "The mystery driving the plot is a shocking punch in the face that will stay with you long after you finish."--Hypable.com. Hypable-Weekend Reading “There’s no preparing for the shocker of an ending.”—SLJ.com“This month marks the publication of another fine YA novel destined to extend beyond the teen set. ‘We Were Liars,’ by E. Lockhart is quite simply amazing.”—The Missourian"This book has everything I want from a summer read: a gorgeous setting that I can imagine I'm vacationing in; flawed, unreliable, sometimes infuriating characters; and a twity-turny psychological mystery that is impossible to put down."--RookieMag.com"We Were Liars is amazing. I felt run over by it . . . .Emily has done something incredible here.--Paul O. Zelinsky “Goose bump-inducing.”—BuzzFeed.com, YA Novels to Watch Out for Spring 2014