This week, I'll be doing two different themed Compare and Contrast reviews.
Today, I'll be looking at three May books about liars: We Were Liars by e. lockhart, Broken, Hearts, Fences and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn and Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu.
We Were Liars
by e. lockhart
To be published on May 13, 2014
by Delacorte BFYR
Source: Thanks to Delacorte for allowing me to read this on Netgalley
Synopsis from Goodreads: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.
My take on the book: I loved this, and I'm not usually a fan of books that set out to confuse me. Often, books like that spend so much time on set-up and misdirection that I feel the story suffers. I don't think that's the case here, but I'll warn you that this isn't the kind of book that will give you a warm and fuzzy feeling. We Were Liars is the kind of book that will keep you wondering what exactly is going on, and after you find out, wondering what you should think about it. The timeline is confusing at times, perhaps deliberately so. Cadence, the narrator, can't always remember what's happening or has happened and isn't sure why she can't remember. I loved the way that the writing reflects her mental state -- cagey and vague at times, and over the top at other times.
This devious little book won't be for everyone -- I was reading it at the same time as a friend who was not pleased with it -- but I loved it. I had some theories about what had happened or was going to happen, and all of them were dead wrong. If you want to know my theories, you can check them out under spoiler protection on Goodreads.
To be published by Feiwel and Friends
on May 13, 2014
Synopsis from Goodreads: Gemma just got dumped and is devastated. She finds herself back in the Hamptons for the summer—which puts her at risk of bumping into Hallie, her former best friend that she wronged five years earlier. Do people hold grudges that long? When a small case of mistaken identity causes everyone, including Hallie and her dreamy brother Josh, to think she’s someone else, Gemma decides to go along with it. Gemma's plan is working (she's finding it hard to resist Josh), but she's finding herself in embarrassing situations (how could a bathing suit fall apart like that!?). Is it coincidence or is someone trying to expose her true identity? And how will Josh react if he finds out who she is?
My take: Okay, do you see this pretty pastel cover and that synopsis that describes adorable-sounding hijinks? Throw that right out the window. This is not a cute and breezy book about mistakes and mistaken identity. This is a book about plotting and scheming and ruining other people's lives on purpose. I was completely taken by surprise by this, and as a result, had some trouble adjusting at first. I think if I'd gone in with different expectations, I might have enjoyed this book more.
As the blurb indicates, Gemma has "wronged" Hallie and her entire family. Years later, she claims to feel remorse for what she's done. Then, as the blurb also indicates, she runs into Hallie and her brother and
Still, if you clear your mind of any preconceptions and go into this book expecting something dark and twisty, this book could be an interesting start to a contemporary trilogy.
by Corey Ann Haydu
To be published by Katherine Tegen
on May 13, 2014
Synopsis from Goodreads: Tabitha might be the only girl in the history of the world who actually gets less popular when she gets hot. But her so-called friends say she’s changed, and they’ve dropped her flat. Now Tab has no one to tell about the best and worst thing that has ever happened to her: Joe, who spills his most intimate secrets to her in their nightly online chats. Joe, whose touch is so electric, it makes Tab wonder if she could survive an actual kiss. Joe, who has Tabitha brimming with the restless energy of falling in love. Joe, who is someone else’s boyfriend.
Just when Tab is afraid she’ll burst from keeping the secret of Joe inside, she finds Life by Committee. The rules of LBC are simple: tell a secret, receive an assignment. Complete the assignment to keep your secret safe. Tab likes it that the assignments push her to her limits, empowering her to live boldly and go further than she’d ever go on her own.
My take: This book also had a bit of dissonance going on. I really liked the substance of the story -- Tabitha is the child of parents who had her when they were still in high school. Now, sixteen years later, her parents are expecting another baby. To add to Tab's confusion, she's decided that she likes boys and wants to pay more attention to her appearance. Sounds harmless, but it seems that eyeliner and v-necked shirts are considered slut-wear in Vermont, because all her serious-minded friends cast her out of their circle. Enter Joe. I will never understand what Tab sees in Joe. He's a) skeevy and a Huge Liar, b) has a girlfriend, c) wants to keep the girlfriend and have Tab as his secret side-dish. Normally, cheating plots are something I avoid. But I think that Joe's emotional and romantic unavailability was exactly his appeal to Tabitha. I think that she feels deeply ambivalent about love and romance -- she wants it, but she's scared.
All this I really liked. What I didn't love about the book was the whole "Life by Committee" aspect, in which Tabitha finds this random website where total strangers make decisions about each other's lives. Now, we're not talking about "what color should I paint my nails?" kinds of decisions. We're talking about "should I marry my boyfriend?" or "what should I do about my father's drug problem?" kind of decisions. Exactly the kind of stuff you should
talk about with someone who actually knows you leave to random strangers to decide. Oh, and if you don't do what The Committee wants, they blackmail you. Nice. I didn't love that aspect of the story, which felt gimmicky to me, and served to make Tabitha do some pretty awful things. That aside, I do recommend this for its authentic take on friendship and growing up.
Tell me in comments: how do you feel about books that center around lying?
On Wednesday, I'll be doing another Compare and Contrast on four books that take place on islands: Things I Can't Forget by Huntley Fitzpatrick, We Were Liars by e. lockhart, Nantucket Red by Leila Howland, and The Sound by Sarah Alderson. Hope you can stop by!