“We are liars. We are beautiful and privileged. We are cracked and broken”
Lockhart’s critically acclaimed young adult novel narrates the story of the Sinclair’s, a wealthy family who vacation on their private island every summer. The family consists of the protagonist- Cadence, her mother, two aunts, cousins and her rich maternal grandparents who own the island. The liars in question include Cadence, her cousins Johnny and Mirren and Gat Patil, the nephew of her Aunt Carrie’s longtime boyfriend. The book opens with an 18-year-old cadence trying to remember the memories and events leading up to her accident that occurred two summers ago on the island. All she knows is that she was found on the shore, dressed in her underwear, the sea washing over her. The catastrophic accident has left her with crippling headaches and a brain that feels “broken in countless medically diagnosed ways”. Her family won’t discloses the details of her accident and hence it is only up to her to figure out what exactly had happened.
The author’s writing is full of suspense and mystery. The unreliable narration and Cadence’s disjointed memories makes it very hard to predict the ending of the novel. The author also did a great job in describing this troubled aristocratic family. The Sinclairs are all beautiful, athletic and rich with blonde hair, receiving the best of education. Cadence’s mother and aunts had a privileged life but even then were never able to attain successful careers and hence still depend on the trust funds set up by their father to continue to live that lifestyle. Cadence’s Grandfather’s attempt at trying to make his daughters compete with each other for his inheritance does not help the situation, only making the relationship between the sisters bitter.
This cunning and cleverly written novel is full of surprises, which makes the reader go back to the first page and wonder what they had missed. Even though the author’s characters may not be very likeable, her writing is certainly impressive.