We Are Liars by E. Lockhart

51rofznopjl-_sy344_bo1204203200_Information: We Are Liars by E. Lockhart was published in 2014 by Delacorte Press. ISBN: 038574126

Plot Summary: Something happened on Cadence Sinclair’s fifteenth trip to her family’s island. She knows it was bad and it involved her four friends, “The Liars”, but she cannot remember what happened. She knows it was an accident of some kind where she got hurt, but nothing else. Two years later, her friends return to the island of the awful mystery to urge Cadence to remember what had happened. But even after she is reunited with her friends, who hadn’t spoken to her since the accident, Cadence cannot remember what happened. But as their typical summer continues, pieces of that fifteenth summer start to emerge from Cadence’s broken memory. As she begins to put the pieces together, Cadence can’t tell who to trust, not even herself.

Critical Evaluation: We Are Liars is a thought-provoking mystery, where even the protagonist can’t be trusted. The story shows how precious memories are, but also how easily manipulated they are, even by our own selves. It leaves the reader with the question, who can we trust, if we cannot trust ourselves? Cadence’s inability to recall the events from two years ago leaves her vulnerable to those around her and to the reader who perceives her. The reader, who is lost like Cadence, is pushing through the mystery along with the characters, making her weaknesses and emotions all the more relatable.

Reader’s Annotation: Cadence hasn’t heard from her close group of friends in nearly two years. But, now that they are all reunited, Cadence tries to recall the terrible events that broke them apart in the first place.

Author’s Information: Jenkins writes as E. Lockhart for the young adult market; “Lockhart” was the family name of her mother’s mother. Her first book by Lockhart was a novel, The Boyfriend List, published by Random House Dell Delacorte Press in 2005. There are three sequels, The Boy Book (2006), The Treasure Map of Boys (2009), and Real Live Boyfriends (2010), and the four are also known collectively as the Ruby Oliver novels after their central protagonist. Another novel for teens, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks (2008), was a finalist for both the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature and the Michael L. Printz Award. We Were Liars made the shortlist of four books for the 2014 Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize. The annual prize judged by British children’s writers recognizes the year’s best U.K.-published book by a writer who has not previously won it.

Under her real name Jenkins has collaborated with illustrators to produce children’s picture books. They have received honors including the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Book Award (the original Toys Go Out, illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky) and two runners-up for Boston Globe–Horn Book Award (Five Creatures, illus. Tomek Bogacki, and That New Animal, illus. Pierre Pratt) (ELockhart).

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Mystery, Contemporary

Curriculum Ties: (Florida State Curriculum Standards): Understanding Key Literary Ideas

Book Talk Ideas:

  • Were Cady and the Liars justified to commit any crime?
  • What were some of the insights learned at the end of the novel?

Reading Level/ Age Interest: Grades 9-12 and Ages 14-18

Challenge Issues: Violence, Language, Drinking, Sexual References

Challenge Defense File:

Selection Policy

The System will select and maintain a comprehensive collection of print, non-print, audio visual and electronically accessed materials to meet the informational, educational, and recreational needs of the citizens of Sarasota County. The System will strive to offer wide ranging collections that meet the various ages, interests, educational levels, and cultural backgrounds of all members of the community and will provide collections through which an individual may explore all points of view and issues of interest. In making selections, the library staff will do so based upon principle rather than personal opinion, reason rather than prejudice, and judgment rather than censorship. Furthermore, staff will be responsive to public demand for materials of contemporary significance and interest, while balancing this with the need to collect and preserve materials of permanent value. While library staff makes material selections based upon the tenet of one system, one collection, selectors recognize the distinct characteristics and needs of the populace that each library services. Community profiles are used to guide selectors in efforts to develop special collections and to meet the unique patron needs within each library.

The ultimate responsibility for selection materials rests with the General Manager of Libraries and the Management Team, who in turn delegates selection responsibilities to the Collection Development Librarians (Sarasota County Policy).  


Lochart, E. (2014). We Are Liars. New York, New York: Delacorte Press.

We Are Liars is part of the collection because of its in depth mystery. The novel shows how fragile memories can be when we want to remember something a certain way or if we want to forget something entirely. Other recommendations like this book include:

Active Listening Skills

  • Remain calm
  • Listen thoughtfully and carefully to any arguments for the collection
  • Engage in a discussion that considers every concern, even if you do not agree


  • Goodreads Choice Award for Young Adult Fiction (2014)
  • Georgia Peach Book Award (2015)
  • Pennsylvania Young Readers’ Choice Award Nominee for Young Adults (2016)

Reconsideration Form


Selection Tools:

Why I chose this book: I chose this book because of its clever mystery that leaves readers shocked and feeling deeply for many of the characters.


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