It’s Beauty, Love and Tragedy. And It’s All Lies.

we were liars lockhart

I made the mistake of reading E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars on the plane to Book Expo America, and I ended up crying uncontrollably while my seatmates looked concerned and tried to scoot as far away from me as possible. As long as I was reading, I couldn’t stop crying, but I couldn’t stop reading, either — the book really is that good. So don’t read We Were Liars in public (at least not the last half), but do read it. It has love and humor and compassion. It’s a fantastic story with an engaging narrator, and it’s even a bit of a mystery. It’s really quite wonderful, and frankly I feel sorry for you if you don’t pick up a copy (or, you know, download a copy of We Were Liars from our store).



Random House encouraged fans to write a lie on the wall at Book Expo America. See more lies by searching #wewereliars on Instagram.

Lockhart is an author who, at least as far as our customers at Church Street, hasn’t bridged the gap between YA and adult like John Green and Veronica Roth have, but she should’ve. (She also hasn’t been to my bookstore, like John Green and Veronica Roth have, and she should probably change that, too — but I digress.*) Her heroines are strong and damaged and passionate and very, very funny. I’ve loved all her previous work, but this book is particularly incredible. She creates an entire dynasty, the Sinclair family, and writes about the rarified world of their summer home (and private island) with compassion and insight. Although all the characters are fully realized, she keeps her heroine, Cady, clearly in focus. We feel what Cady feels, and we hurt when she hurts. That sounds trite, but it’s often the difference between books we like and books we truly love.

Lockhart was lovely and gracious when she signed books at BEA. But as awesome as she is, that’s not the reason to read her books. Read them because they’re beautifully written. Read them because she paints strong female characters who fight the good fight in the real world and don’t have to be locked in an arena or join a faction to do it. Or read them because you fall in love with them. At least, that’s what I do.

Carrie Rollwagen is co-owner and book buyer at Church Street Coffee & Books, an independent bookstore and coffee shop in Birmingham, Alabama. This week, she’s attending Book Expo America (BEA 2014) in New York.

* Veronica Roth has been to Church Street, and John Green visited my last bookstore, Jonathan Benton Bookseller.



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