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 13 reviews

Kids say

age 13+

Based on 100 reviews

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

Community Reviews

age 13+


Mostly, I agree with the rating GoodReads gives to this novel. I read it to preface the content for my 12-year-old daughter. The story is dark, and at times riveting, but other parents should be aware of these themes: -children are taught the "right way to act" which basically means: don't show emotion -parents blackmail their children for possesions -there is a lot of cutting mentioned -arson -underage drinking and pill taking is rampant, but they are learning it from example as all the adults are also doing the same thing.
4 people found this helpful.
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
3 people found this helpful.

Book Details

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