We Were Liars

Book review by Joly Herman, Common Sense Media
We Were Liars Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 13+

A privileged life goes askew in haunting summer mystery.

Parents say

age 14+

Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

age 13+

Based on 77 reviews

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A Lot or a Little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Community Reviews

age 18+

We Were Liars is a great book, but because of very mature themes, save it for children who have completed high school.

We Were Liars is about a privileged group of cousins (and an outsider boy who is an almost-step-cousin) who live on their wealthy and manipulative grandfather's private island off the coast of Martha's Vineyard each summer. After falling in love, the oldest cousin experiences something that leaves her emotionally traumatized, but desperately tries to piece back together her life and move on. As a parent, I would prefer that my daughters not read this book until they have completed high school - not because it is complicated to read, but because it has mature themes that would be best appreciated and understood when she is older. The lead characters get drunk when they are 15 years old, use the "F" word in casual conversation often, discuss and use name-brand prescription pain medicine like it was common knowledge, touch and kiss each other while getting "almost naked," sometimes discuss having "sexual intercourse," and possibly refer to cutting or harming themselves. But the book itself is well written and even poetic. Their grandfather uses his daughters' inheritance to get his way, and shows how an elitist and racist man of power can yield that influence to cause pain to the family. The book shows a valuable lesson for young adults, and I appreciated it. It is also a modern book with i-Pads and cell phones, but the kids live on an island with no cell coverage, so it was also nice to read a book about teenagers who enjoy spending their time reading books, swimming, snorkeling, sailing, climbing trees, and other activities that are often replaced now (even in literature) with stories that weave in the very real fact that teens often simply just look at their hand-held devices.

This title has:

Great messages
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
2 people found this helpful.
age 14+

Fiction that will keep the reader wanting to know more

This book does have some mature themes. I couldn't put it down because I so badly wanted to have all the answers the main character was also seeking. At times the book was depressing, but my desire to figure out the mystery compelled me to keep reading.
1 person found this helpful.

Book Details

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