TTBF Author Repost Book Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart


Team Midsummer, Jessica & Lyv, are attending the Texas Teen Book Festival again this year in Austin, TX! To prepare and get ourselves amped-up for this event, we are reposting some of our reviews by some of the TTBF 17 authors! Today features one of Jessica’s all time favorites: E. Lockhart!

This review was originally posted on August 14, 2014

 

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.

When I met E. Lockhart at Book Expo America, I was trying so hard not to fangirl because I had been looking forward to this book for months.  Not only did I get a chance to meet her, but she also write an essential message in my copy of the book (which I’m sure she wrote in everyone’s) “Please Lie About This Book.”

Well, it is impossible for me to lie about how much I enjoyed this book.  I want to tell you so much about it in order to convince you to read it, but this is a book that needs to be discovered by each person individually.  The story line is excellent.  There I will tell you that much.

Lockhart’s writing style in this novel really helps add to the characterization of the narrator, Cadence (which is a elockharttweetname I’ve always loved), and it allows the reader to discover things as Cadence does…kind of.  This novel really explores the idea of an unreliable narrator.

I’ve said too much!

I cannot praise this book highly enough, and I won’t tarnish your reading experience with anymore.  Trust me, you will enjoy it immensely.

5 Bards  (I know you asked me to lie, E. Lockhart, but I decided to just withhold information instead!)

 

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Book Review: Damage Done by Amanda Panitch

damagedone22 minutes separate Julia Vann’s before and after.

Before: Julia had a twin brother, a boyfriend, and a best friend.

After: She has a new identity, a new hometown, and memories of those twenty-two minutes that refuse to come into focus. At least, that’s what she tells the police.

Now that she’s Lucy Black, she’s able to begin again. She’s even getting used to the empty bedroom where her brother should be. And her fresh start has attracted the attention of one of the hottest guys in school, a boy who will do anything to protect her. But when someone much more dangerous also takes notice, Lucy’s forced to confront the dark secrets she thought were safely left behind.

One thing is clear: The damage done can never be erased. It’s only just beginning. . .

This novel is one that snuck up on me.  I really liked the synopsis and knew that I had to read it.  However, I didn’t expect all of the twists that came with this story.  Damage Done will definitely make you squirm a little in your seat as it brings some very uncomfortable topics to light, i.e.  a school shooting.  At first I thought that Panitch was doing something so great by dealing with the aftermath of school shootings by focusing on the family of the shooter and how everything clearly changed for them after such a tragedy.  What really happened in those 22 minutes, however, is something much more sinister and stained by another secret that is just as jaw-dropping.

Julia/Lucy is the narrator of Damage Done and from the beginning she seems like such a sympathetic narrator.  She’s the only survivor of what happened during the school shooting, save her brother who is in a coma after shooting himself.  Her family had to move after they became town pariahs and were pestered by journalists constantly at their home.  So the family moves a few hours away and assumes aliases so they will no longer be associated with the tragedy.  I think that is a really realistic possibility that could happen to families of school shooters.  But anyway, we take everything that Julia/Lucy says as truth because she gives us no reason not to.  The only possible way you could infer that she MIGHT be an unreliable narrator is all of the lies she tells concerning her past, but it is seemingly justified in order to protect her new life.

Many of the secondary characters are a bit weak based on their descriptions and their lack of fleshing out, but again with an unreliable narrator like Julia/Lucy then it is completely understandable that they might not be considerably developed.  Michael is practically a typical version of a “good boyfriend” and Alana is the basic archetype of a best friend who will do anything for her friend.  But really, it just seems that Julia/Lucy has manipulated them like she manipulates the reader.

Kudos to Panitch for surprising me with the awkward and uncomfortable reveal toward the end of the novel, and for providing such an unreliable narrator that was so subtle until the last few chapters that I wasn’t sure what to believe.

4 Bards for Damage Done

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