Some people love this book, others hate it. I am one of the people who loved it! I couldn’t put it down. It is one of my favorite reads of 2014. I was drawn into the world of this privileged, blue blood family on the private island. What disgusted me the most about this family are the three mothers/sisters. They had every opportunity in life and they could not function as adults. They were so dependent on their father to survive with failed marriages and no real jobs. It is a shocking “The Liars” are as well adjusted as they are. Oh, they have their problems. So many problems, which is what makes this book such a page turner. The Liars are three cousins, Cadence, Mirren and Johnny. Johnny brought his friend, Gat, who is the nephew of his mother, Carrie’s boyfriend, Ed. Ed and Gat are from India which ruffles the feathers of this very white and very blond old school family. Gat is forbidden fruit which is partially why Cadence falls for him. I like to think she also falls for him because he seems to be a wonderful person who exposes her to a different way of thinking. Cadence is an unreliable narrator because as the title states, she is a liar. We knew she has migraines because of some accident. But get glimpses in a suspenseful way and know when things are shared that it is not the whole story. I also enjoy how she wrote fairy tales to keep the story moving forward. I was dying to know what really happened throughout the book. When it is finally revealed, it is very satisfying, like the movie The Sixth Sense. Don’t let anyone spoil it for you. This is also a story about a family and a way of life that I have never been exposed to. Appearances are everything. The Sinclairs have a reputation to uphold. There is a code of behavior and it is hard to maintain when you are a teen trying to figure out who you are and falling in love is messy.
Some ideas for discussing with teens:
Discuss “Silence is a protective coating over pain.” (pg 29)
Discuss the realism, such as her “bleeding on people” and her dad “shooting” her.
Discuss Gat’s comment about how people should not have so much like the Sinclairs. They shouldn’t own an island.
Compare Gat and Cadance to Heathcliff and Catherine in Wuthering Heights.
Disucss the passage, “if you want to live where people are not afraid of mice, you must give up living in palaces.”
Discuss the choices the mothers made. Why do you think they were not successful when they had every advantage in life?
If you had your own island, what would you name it? What would you name your house?
Discuss Cadence’s argument with her granddad about the ivory.
Discuss how Cadence’s vision of her granddad changes through the book.
Disuss the twist at the end. Would you have ended the story differently? How did it unfold? When did you realize what was happening?
Discuss the passage, “I suffer migraines. I do not suffer fools. I like a twist of meaning. I endure.” (pg. 225) Talk about the word suffer.