Off the Bookcase: We Were Liars

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Published by Delacorte Press in 2014

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Suspense

Pages: 224

SO! I have decided that this year I’m going to do “Off the Bookcase” posts, where in between arcs I also read the lovely books that I have had on bookshelves, some for years.

So I started with We Were Liars by E. Lockhart! I knew nothing about it, I didn’t even know it was YA! (I have had it on the wrong shelf for years.)

If, unlike me, you know about it, you may know that everyone says it’s best to go in knowing nothing. And that’s fairly accurate. So I’m going to do a short review, explaining what I liked about it but with very few details.

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.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 
Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

Dear Dwayne With Love

Now if you’re like me, you’re like WHAT PREMISE? Because that blurb is aggravatingly, intentionally vague. For me, that’s incredibly upsetting. In fact, when I bought it, I remember very clearly thinking, “What the fuck is this?” But I opened it up and read the first page, and I knew I’d like the writing, and that had to be enough.

And really, the blurb does tell you what the book is about. A rich family, their island, and lies.

CAN WE TALK ABOUT HOW COOL IT IS THAT A CONTEMPORARY HAS A MAP IN IT?! I was so stoked on that. I LOVE maps. One edition of the book apparently has E. Lockhart’s hand-drawn map, also, which is very cool.

See All the Stars by Kit Frick

Are mostly terrible. Just expect that. And, I mean, they’re rich people with a private island? So like really, who is even surprised that they’re obnoxious.

I will say that I like Cadence, our narrator. And the characters I actively dislike, I really dislike. Which is great. There’s nothing I hate more than lukewarm. I can’t stand bland characters, and these are definitely not that.

See All the Stars by Kit Frick

THE WRITING THOUGH. This is what got me through a book about privileged kids on a private island, complaining about their lives.

The writing is honestly unparalleled. It shows how you do not need long, flowery sentences to say really profound things. Lines from this book will stick with me for a LONG time.

Cadence writes beautifully disgusting metaphors about what her headaches feel like. She writes little, short fairy tales. I really enjoyed these most.

And the formatting! Parts of it are written almost more like poetry than prose, with fascinating line breaks that make it almost difficult to catch your breath.

When I Cast Your Shadow by Sarah Porter

If, like me, you have somehow managed to avoid We Were Liars, it’s definitely worth the read. It’s short, only about 220 pages, and easily read in an afternoon.

Each of these gorgeous photos links to the IG post, show these some love!

*I don’t own any of the photos used for aesthetics in this post. Each photo links to where I found it!*

Archetype novel

Archetype Novel Is Far from Typical

Archetype by M.D. Waters

Published by Dutton in 2014

Genre: Science Fiction

Pages: 384


I am SO GLAD that I just read this book, and get to review it, after my last review was such a shit show.

Archetype was featured in my earlier post, Dollar Dollar Tree, Y’all! Yes, that’s right, I bought this book at the Dollar Tree. For a dollar. That makes me so. Effing. Happy. (Especially now that I know how much I love it. I will happily pay full price for the sequel).

I also want to start with a caveat, which is that it will be really hard to do this without spoilers! If I get vague, I’m sorry. I promise I’m just trying to preserve the magic for you.

The Goodreads Description:

Emma wakes in a hospital, with no memory of what came before. Her husband, Declan, a powerful, seductive man, provides her with new memories, but her dreams contradict his stories, showing her a past life she can’t believe possible: memories of war, of a camp where girls are trained to be wives, of love for another man. Something inside her tells her not to speak of this, but she does not know why. She only knows she is at war with herself.

Suppressing those dreams during daylight hours, Emma lets Declan mold her into a happily married woman and begins to fall in love with him. But the day Noah stands before her, the line between her reality and dreams shatters.

In a future where women are a rare commodity, Emma fights for freedom but is held captive by the love of two men—one her husband, the other her worst enemy. If only she could remember which is which. . . .

Great Characters

Our narrator, Emma, is so realistically developed throughout. Her reactions to her uncertainty feel natural. (This is one area where spoilers would really help me make the point I want to make about why Emma is so great. But I won’t. Le sigh.)

I also want to say that the author does something that is pretty hard to pull off. There are characters we love, really and thoroughly, that we end up hating, really and thoroughly. It is hard to make that transition. Generally, you get a vibe early on if a character is going to turn on you. Not the case here.

Gorgeous Writing

The writing itself is beautiful and eloquent. But possibly the most important thing for me, what made it so well-written, was spot on pacing. I started Archetype at six and didn’t put it down until I finished because the pacing was just so that I never had a stopping point I was really comfortable with. Every time I thought a question was answered, I had a new one and I had to know what was going to happen.

This is every writer’s dream, no? Force the reader to read long after they’d have put another book down. I would like to be asleep RIGHT NOW but I’m writing this with the book still fresh in my mind because I didn’t put the book down.

The Science

I am a person who likes my science fiction either really hard, or pretty soft. Archetype fell somewhere in the middle, and I was okay with that. It dealt with a lot of scientific concepts, none of which I will bring up because frickin’ frackin’ spoilers, but they were all believable and awesome. Probably because of…

The World-Building

Which, holy shit. THE SOCIAL ISSUES, Y’ALL. Emma’s world is a BAD time and place to be a woman. It’s made all the scarier by how it doesn’t feel all that far-fetched. Take this excerpt:

“I’m afraid you don’t have a choice. Birth control is illegal. Abortion is illegal, with a very severe punishment. Pregnancy is not a choice.”

This is the mildest example I could give you. Girls in the east live in actual “WTC’s”: woman training centers. I won’t go into more detail.

I will say that the terrible dystopia is delivered to us so slowly and with such finesse that at least five times I yelled out “Oh my god!” and I threw around “What the dick?!” also as I continued to learn just how bad this place was.

I’d Recommend

Archetype to fans of science fiction or anyone who wants to examine the slippery slope surrounding women’s rights and where we could easily be headed.

Here is a link in case you’d like to purchase Archetype through Amazon! *I only link up books I’d give 5 stars and believe in 100%*

What About You?

What’s the last book you read in one sitting?


*Note: My reviews are full of opinions. I may love a book. May want to marry it like the kid in the commercial for Peanut Butter Crunch (1999 was a great year for cereal and commercials, look it up). I may say a book is the best thing to happen to me since I started shaving my big toe. None of these things mean it is objectively good. I recognize that.

Many times throughout my life, I have given a book I swore to be a life-changer to a friend/boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/janitor. Shaking, quietly weeping, I’d hand it (and my heart) over. Only to find out several weeks later that for them the book was good, maybe even great, but not the life-giving, soul-renewing magic I’d purported. You may not like a book I recommend. Sue me.

**Please don’t sue me, I just write here.


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