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“BookTok” Recommendation Review: We Were Liars

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Conn chapter.
Spoiler Alert!

Seeing numerous books all over “BookTok” during quarantine, I was dying to purchase some at any chance I got. With most bookstores and libraries being temporarily closed during the first few months of the pandemic, I Amazon Primed a few reads to help pass the time and find an escape during the stressful transition into a virtual at-home lifestyle. One of the books I read first during this period was We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. Before reading the book I read tons of reviews (avoiding spoilers of course) and random Tik Tokers’ raving comments about this author’s work, leaving me super excited for my next read. 

First things first, the slow pace of the book had me struggling to commit. I found myself packing it in my bag everywhere I went, but still not getting past 10-20 pages for days at a time. Nevertheless, the “BookTok” reviews kept popping up on my TikTok #fyp, and so I finally followed and trusted the opinions of mankind. I thought to myself, “there’s gotta be a reason for why it’s not picking up. I just know it’ll be worth it.” So, I was able to finish the book all in one sitting, in the perfect environment to do so, at the beach on a sandy towel. And boy, did I have a lot of mixed feelings and opinions myself. 

The slow pace of the book and the mystery of what happened to Cadence in the “incident” left me confused and feeling as though the chapters were repetitive. Her trauma and pain from said incident seemed very real and unfortunate but left me assuming it was a head injury in the water. On the other hand, I did not necessarily pay attention to the relevance of scenes involving other characters, because I was focusing on just the main character. 

Come to the end of the novel, I truly was not expecting the twist. The fact that the author pulled a move straight from Lost, that all the cousins were dead from a fire at the accident at the fault of Cadence, who lived, made my jaw drop. Once I knew the ending, I was able to pick up on clues from throughout the entire novel that I simply grazed over because they did not seem to be relevant to Cadence’s incident initially. Getting to the end made reading the slow beginning worth it, but I have come to realize that it is better to go into a book with an open mind and no expectations of any sort. 

As intriguing as “BookTok” is, my expectations and assumptions of this book were influenced by the “hype” from random accounts, causing me to read for action rather than detail and meaning. Thankfully, because of We Were Liars, I avoid “BookTok” and prefer word of mouth and reading the summaries of the backs while sitting on the floor in Barnes N’ Noble, just like I did when I was a kid.

Natalie is a Senior at the University of Connecticut studying Marketing with a concentration in Digital Marketing and Data Analytics. Even if she is running, cycling, or reading a book you can always find her listening to classic rock records.