liarsCadence Sinclair Eastman comes from a seemingly perfect, wealthy family. Hers is a family where appearances matter more than individual feelings or even the truth. Her grandfather, Harris Sinclair, is the patriarch of the beautiful Sinclair family, and he and his wife own a secluded, private island—Beechwood—off of Cape Cod. Each summer, Cadence’s family—her grandparents, her mother, her two aunts, and her cousins—vacation on Beechwood.

Since the age of eight, she, her cousins Mirren and Johnny, and their friend Gat have all been inseparable. She looks forward to seeing them all year and has affectionately dubbed them her “Liars”.

During summertime, the “Liars” hang out on the beach, play board games, discuss their futures and, once in awhile, thanks to Gat’s less-than-privileged-perspective, have an argument about what is important in the greater scheme of things. However, during the summer of her fifteenth year, Cadence has an accident that causes her to be unable to remember most of what transpired that summer.

Over the course of the next two years, during the time the book is set, her amnesia never abates, and she has frequent headaches and bouts of debilitating pain that cause her to consume prescription painkillers like they were candy. It is in this hazy fog that she spends the majority of her time trying to figure out what happened during summer fifteen.

While she missed her sixteenth summer on the island, due to her mother sending her off on a European trip with her father, she is adamant that she will not miss another. In her heart, she feels that if she is allowed to return to Beechwood, she will be able to piece together the mystery that surrounds her accident. So after much pleading, she finally gets her mother to agree to let her return to the island the summer of her seventeenth year.

This book broadsided me. I had no idea where Lockhart was headed and her decision to tell the story from Cadence’s viewpoint and alternate from past to present tense was brilliant. The conclusion was clever, raw, so real, and completely heartbreaking.

A review from Jenny Berggren, from School Library Journal, described the ending as “a stunner that will haunt readers for a long time to come” and that is exactly how I felt upon finishing the story. I finished it several months ago and I still find myself thinking about it at random times. It is one of those titles that you immediately want to start reading again just to see how you missed all the important clues during your first reading. If you are looking for a fast-pasted, character-driven story, add this one to your must read list.