Book Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Book Review: We Were Liars by E. LockhartWe Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Published: May 13, 2014
240 pages
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Source: Purchased

 
The Short, Sweet, and Spoiler-Free Blurb:

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.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.
3 Stars

The subtitle for We Were Liars should be, “I Can’t Remember the Really Stupid Thing I Did Last Summer.”  I read this book because there was a lot of hype around it. “Crazy Twist Ending! Must Read!” is what everyone said.  I don’t normally read contemporary YA books, but I decided this one might be fun because of all the hype around it.

My first impression of We Were Liars was that there was a map at the beginning.  I LOVE MAPS. Are there more contemporary books out there with maps? Because if there are, you need to tell me so I can read them all.

The short sentences and broken lines made the writing feel very poetic.  It also showed the broken mind of the main character, Cadence.  To me, I didn’t enjoy the reading experience as much as I could have because it felt like I was impatiently waiting to get to The Twist. The Twist was pretty cool and unexpected but it’s not like a twist that has never been done before.  Ironically, I read this because of the hype about the ending but because I knew there was a crazy ending I couldn’t enjoy it all the way.

The biggest questions I had while reading this were: “What happened to Cadence?” and “Why does she keep giving her things away?”  The first question is eventually answered, but I felt like the second question was left up to me as the reader to decide.  Cadence’s attitude towards things and objects was really interesting.

“…the accumulation of beautiful objects is a life goal. Whoever dies with the most stuff wins. Wins what? is what I’d like to know.”

– E. Lockhart, We Were Liars pg 46

Overall, it was an interesting read with beautiful writing but the over-hyped ending left me a little disappointed.

Content Rating: High, for strong language.

This post contains affiliate links and I receive a small percentage of sales made through these links.  

About E. Lockhart

E. Lockhart

E. Lockhart is the author of We Were Liars, Fly on the Wall, Dramarama, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks and the Ruby Oliver quartet: The Boyfriend List, The Boy Book, The Treasure Map of Boys, and Real Live Boyfriends. How to Be Bad was co-written with Lauren Myracle and Sarah Mlynowski.

Disreputable History was a Printz Award honor book, a finalist for the National Book Award, and recipient of the Cybils Award for best young adult novel. We Were Liars is a New York Times bestseller.

Book vs Movie: The Maze Runner

Book vs Movie: The Maze Runner

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The movie is much better than the book and I loved the book.  It did a great job of moving through the plot quickly and answering questions at a good pace.  There were a couple funny moments that weren’t in the book that I really enjoyed in the movie – especially the scene with Teresa.  I thought the Grievers were much scarier in the movie than they seemed in the book.  It was like a cross of aliens and a big metal spider.  I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.  There isn’t a lot of music so I felt like something was going to jump out at any minute.  The visuals of the moving maze were just stunning and so cool to watch.

In short, you should go see it.

Teresa_Character_StillThe movie did a great job of bringing out the theme of insanity that was so prevalent in the book.  I think it was even easier to see in the movie.  Which is more insane: to keep trying to solve a maze that you haven’t been able to solve for years OR to just give up? It’s such an interesting question.  Sitting here typing this review I would say that of course I would keep trying to get out.  But I felt like by the time Thomas showed up in the maze that the Gladers kind of had given up.  They still ran the maze looking for a way out but when Thomas was asking Newt if they had tried this or that Newt impatiently told him that they had tried everything.  Thomas was curious and questioning things while everyone else had stopped and just focused on getting through the day and following the rules.  One of the themes about insanity that was missing from the movie was the voices in Thomas’ head that he later found out was a telepathic connection with Teresa.  I could just see the scientists looking at Thomas’ brain and studying what happens when he hears voices in his head and thinking “What is insanity?  WHERE IS IT?”

The-Maze-Runner-posterThe scientists at the end were so interesting.  You could tell they were desperate about the disease that slowly makes you insane.  They took people that were immune and wanted to study their brains to find out “Why aren’t you insane? What’s different about you?” The maze felt like a play on the idea of the traditional science experiment of a mouse looking for cheese.  The idea of experimenting on humans isn’t a new one.  I thought it was interesting that the scientists seem to justify what they are doing because it’s an extreme case – they are trying to save the whole human race.  So is WCKD good or not?  Does the end justify the means?  Is it okay to stick these kids in a maze with machines designed to kill them if it could save everyone? I don’t know that it is.  I do wonder that if I was slowly going to go insane without a cure if I would go to the extremes that WCKD did.

When Gally and Thomas come to an ultimatum I wondered what “team” I would choose. Gally’s team stays behind because they don’t think life is that bad or that it needs to change.  They also don’t seem convinced that life is necessarily better on the outside.  They are fine with the status quo.  Thomas’ team is curious and sees the maze as a trap and a loss of freedom but it takes a huge amount of risk to try and get out.  I’d like to think I would choose Thomas’s team, but in real life I make more decisions similar to Gally.  It also made me wonder what I would do if I knew I was being experimented on.  What would you do if you were experimented on?

One of the biggest things I missed from the book that didn’t show up as much in the movie was the lingo.  The lingo makes them feel like an isolated community but had the feel of how teenage boys would talk to each other.  The lingo was still there, just not as much as it was in the book.

mazerunnerpointSince I’m LDS (which is short for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints aka Mormons) I noticed a few things that maybe only a Mormon person would.  I’m not saying this is a religious book in any way or that it is an allegory.  But terms like “greenie” which is used to describe a new missionary and the idea of being surrounded only by boys for two years kind of remind me of an LDS mission.  I also thought it was interesting that Thomas wakes up with no memory of his previous life and goes through the difficult process of figuring out the maze.  That idea is kind of similar to the Mormon doctrine called the plan of salvation which is the belief that we lived before we were born on Earth and we are here to be tested before we return to heaven.  That’s the very short version and you can read more about the plan of salavation here.

James Dashner talked about how The Maze Runner was inspired by Ender’s Game and Lord of the Flies.  James Dashner talked about how he felt like the Gladers were the opposite from the chaos in Lord of the Flies with their focus on order and how they treated Teresa.

Overall, this was a great, action-packed movie that gave me so much to think about and I can’t wait to see it again.

4 Stars

Movie Trailer

Top 100 Favorite Books

Top 100 Favorite Books

I love lists. I love books. OMG I love lists of books.

When I saw this list on Jenni Elyse’s blog I had to do it too.  Facebook released an analysis of the “10 books that have stayed with you” meme and listed the top 100 books that people chose.  So of course I had to write a post and see how many I’ve read.  The percentages are how many people mentioned these books out of the 130,000+ people that participated.

Bolded titles are the ones I’ve read.

  1. The Harry Potter series—J.K. Rowling (21.08%)
  2. To Kill a Mockingbird—Harper Lee (14.48%)
  3. The Lord of the Rings—JRR Tolkien (13.86%)
  4. The Hobbit—JRR Tolkien (7.48%)
  5. Pride and Prejudice—Jane Austen (7.28%)
  6. The Holy Bible (7.21%)
  7. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy—Douglas Adams (5.97%)
  8. The Hunger Games trilogy—Suzanne Collins (5.82%)
  9. The Catcher in the Rye—J.D. Salinger (5.70%)
  10. The Chronicles of Narnia—C.S. Lewis (5.63%)
  11. The Great Gatsby—F. Scott Fitzgerald (5.61%)
  12. 1984—George Orwell (5.37%)
  13. Little Women—Louisa May Alcott (5.26%)
  14. Jane Eyre—Charlotte Bronte (5.23%)
  15. The Stand—Stephen King (5.11%)
  16. Gone with the Wind—Margaret Mitchell (4.95%)
  17. A Wrinkle in Time—Madeleine L’Engle (4.38%)
  18. The Handmaid’s Tale—Margaret Atwood (4.27%)
  19. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe—C.S. Lewis (4.05%)
  20. The Alchemist—Paulo Coelho (4.01%)
  21. Anne of Green Gables—L.M. Montgomery (3.95%)
  22. The Giver—Lois Lowry (3.53%)
  23. The Kite Runner—Khaled Hosseini (3.67%)
  24. Ender’s Game—Orson Scott Card (3.53%)
  25. The Poisonwood Bible—Barbara Kingsolver (3.39%)
  26. Lord of the Flies—William Golding (3.38%)
  27. The Eye of the World—Robert Jordan (3.38%)
  28. The Book Thief—Markus Zusak (3.32%)
  29. Wuthering Heights—Emily Bronte (3.26%)
  30. Hamlet—William Shakespeare (3.22%)
  31. The Little Prince—Antoine de Saint-Exupery (3.21%)
  32. Sherlock Holmes—Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (3.15%)
  33. Fahrenheit 451—Ray Bradbury (3.15%)
  34. Animal Farm—George Orwell (3.12%)
  35. The Book of Mormon (3.08%)
  36. The Diary of Anne Frank—Anne Frank (3.05%)
  37. Dune—Frank Herbert (3.02%)
  38. One Hundred Years of Solitude—Gabriel Garcia Marquez (2.98%)
  39. The Autobiography of Malcolm X (2.83%)
  40. Of Mice and Men—John Steinbeck (2.78%)
  41. The Giving Tree—Shel Silverstein (2.72%)
  42. The Fault in Our Stars—John Green (2.68%)
  43. On the Road—Jack Kerouac (2.68%)
  44. Lamb—Christopher Moore (2.58%)
  45. Slaughterhouse-Five—Kurt Vonnegut (2.54%)
  46. A Prayer for Owen Meany—John Irving (2.53%)
  47. Good Omens—Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (2.52%)
  48. The Help—Kathryn Stockett (2.45%)
  49. The Outsiders—S.E. Hinton (2.44%)
  50. American Gods—Neil Gaiman (2.42%)
  51. Where the Red Fern Grows—Wilson Rawls (2.41%)
  52. Stranger in a Strange Land—Robert Heinlein (2.39%)
  53. The Secret Garden—Frances Hodgson Burnett (2.38%)
  54. Little House on the Prairie—Laura Ingalls Wilder (2.35%)
  55. The Count of Monte Cristo—Alexandre Dumas (2.31%)
  56. The Pillars of the Earth—Ken Follett (2.31%)
  57. The Da Vinci Code—Dan Brown (2.29%)
  58. Brave New World—Aldous Huxley (2.24%)
  59. A Tale of Two Cities—Charles Dickens (2.21%)
  60. Les Miserables—Victor Hugo (2.21%)
  61. Great Expectations—Charles Dickens (2.16%)
  62. Night—Elie Wiesel (2.12%)
  63. The Dark Tower series—Stephen King (2.12%)
  64. Outlander—Diana Gabaldon (2.07%)
  65. The Color Purple—Alice Walker (1.92%)
  66. A Thousand Splendid Suns—Khaled Hosseini (1.89%)
  67. The Art of War—Sun Tzu (1.88%)
  68. Catch-22—Joseph Heller (1.85%)
  69. The Bell Jar—Sylvia Plath (1.85%)
  70. The Perks of Being a Wallflower—Stephen Chbosky (1.83%)
  71. The Old Man and the Sea—Ernest Hemingway (1.78%)
  72. Memoirs of a Geisha—Arthur Golden (1.76%)
  73. Tuesdays with Morrie—Mitch Albom (1.75%)
  74. The Road—Cormac McCarthy (1.73%)
  75. Watership Down—Richard Adams (1.72%)
  76. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn—Betty Smith (1.72%)
  77. Where the Sidewalk Ends—Shel Silverstein (1.68%)
  78. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo—Stieg Larsson (1.65%)
  79. A Song of Ice and Fire—George R. R. Martin (1.65%)
  80. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret—Judy Blume (1.65%)
  81. Charlotte’s Web—E.B. White (1.64%)
  82. The Time Traveler’s Wife—Audrey Niffenegger (1.63%)
  83. Anna Karenina—Leo Tolstoy (1.62%)
  84. Crime and Punishment—Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1.62%)
  85. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn—Mark Twain (1.61%)
  86. The Shack—William P. Young (1.58%)
  87. Watchmen—Alan Moore (1.56%)
  88. Interview with the Vampire—Anne Rice (1.55%)
  89. The Odyssey—Homer (1.54%)
  90. The House of the Spirits—Isabel Allende (1.54%)
  91. The Stranger—Albert Camus (1.63%)
  92. The Call of the Wild—Jack London (1.63%)
  93. The Five People You Meet in Heaven—Mitch Albom (1.63%)
  94. Siddhartha—Herman Hesse (1.63%)
  95. East of Eden—John Steinbeck (1.50%)
  96. Matilda—Roald Dahl (1.50%)
  97. The Picture of Dorian Gray—Oscar Wilde (1.49%)
  98. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance—Robert Pirsig (1.47%)
  99. Love in the Time of Cholera—Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1.45%)
  100. Where the Wild Things Are—Maurice Sendak (1.45%)

TOTAL: 40

I was tagged for this meme and here’s the list that I wrote.  I bolded the ones that made the top 100 list.

My Top 10 Books that Have Stuck With Me

  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee 
  • Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
  • Xenocide by Orson Scott Card
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
  • A Lasting Peace by Carol Lynn Pearson
  • Power of Habit by Charles Duhig
  • Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  • Quiet by Susan Cain

If you did these meme on Facebook, your blog or anywhere leave me the link or the list.  I love seeing the books that have stuck with people.

Bloggiesta 2014

Bloggiesta 2014

Bloggiesta is a blogging event where us bloggers get together and fix things up on our blogs.

My pink hammer is all ready to cute-ify this blog!!!

My pink hammer is all ready to cute-ify this blog!!!

This is the perfect time for Bloggiesta!! Since I changed my blog design, there are a few small things that still need to be fixed.  And here they are:

  • Change favicon using this tutorial from Jenni Elyse
  • Search results header
  • Rewrite About me page
  • Optimize Yoast Seo plugin with Nose Graze tutorial.
  • Set up Shelfari
  • Responsive Header using this tutorial.
  • See if I can fix the float on my book covers for my responsive design.  Not sure how to do this.  Not sure that I care. Done! It only took one line of code – display: block;
  • Fix related posts images for these categories – reading challenges, news, change google diary to be featured image instead of book cover, events, blog tour, author interview
  • Move tag cloud and put something in the footer in it’s place?? Ooh maybe an Instagram feed or something.
  • Change design credits on links page

And I will probably do a mini-challenge about Google + if they do one.  I don’t know if I’ll have time for tons of mini-challenges but I’m going to try.

UPDATE: I did do the Google plus challenge! I linked my YouTube channel to my Google plus profile and got rid of my page! YAY :)

What is your to-do list this Bloggiesta? Leave a link I want to see it!

Audiobook Review: Tolstoy and the Purple Chair by Nina Sankovitch

Audiobook Review: Tolstoy and the Purple Chair by Nina SankovitchTolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading by Nina Sankovitch
Published: June 7, 2011
Narrator: Coleen Marlo
Audiobook Length: 6 hrs and 41 mins
Genres: Memoir
Source: Purchased

 
The Short, Sweet, and Spoiler-Free Blurb:

After the death of her sister, Nina Sankovitch found herself caught up in grief, dashing from one activity to the next to keep her mind occupied. But on her forty-sixth birthday she decided to stop running and start reading.
3 Stars

Tolstoy and the Purple Chair reminded me of Eat, Pray, Love. The author, Nina, uses reading to deal with her grief instead of travel like in Eat, Pray, Love, but both books had very interesting insights and growth from their experiences.  Nina sets out to read a book a day for a year and also blogs a review about each book.  This obviously took a huge amount of time and because of that she let a lot of unimportant things slip out of her life.  For example, she didn’t obsess about sending out tons of Christmas cards or putting up tons of decorations.  She got her family to help with dishes more.  Nina describes books as an escape back to life and it was easy to see how having a time consuming hobby helped her get her priorities in life straight again.

The title was very misleading.  While it was interesting to see the kinds of books you could read in one day, I was expecting a book about someone who reads all of Tolstoy’s works or something.  Tolstoy doesn’t even show up until the very end and she obviously doesn’t read any of his major works since they are way too long to read in one day.  I can’t remember what of Tolstoy’s she did read. Even though I was disappointed that there was hardly anything in the whole novel about Tolstoy, it was a good way to find out about new books.

I found some interesting insights about reading and books while listening to this, but overall it was actually kind of dry.  In between the boring stuff I found a few thoughts that I really enjoyed.

  • Why are kids encouraged to read every day but adults aren’t?
  • There is always beauty to live for whether it’s in memories of the past, blessings in the present, and the idea that beauty will come again.
  • Good fiction IS truth.
  • Books don’t have to be hard work to do you some good.

Mostly, this book made me want to read a book a day for maybe a month.  A year is kind of crazy, but it did sound fun to just read a ton of books.

Narrator Rating: ★★

This book did not translate well into an audiobook.  It was very hard to tell when the author was quoting a book or was speaking in her own words.  I think it would be better to read this one especially since the narrator sounded like Siri.  She just sounded so robotic that I’m not 100% convinced this was narrated by a person.

Overall, it was kind of a dry read but had a few insights about reading that I liked.  It also gave me the idea of reading a book a day which seems like a really fun idea.

Content Rating: High, for a chapter that talks about sex. It does not go into specific or graphic detail but it is probably geared more for adults.

This post contains affiliate links and I receive a small percentage of sales made through these links.  

About Nina Sankovitch

Nina Sankovitch

Nina Sankovitch has written two books of non-fiction. The first, her memoir of a life of reading, entitled Tolstoy and the Purple Chair, came out in 2011. Tolstoy and the Purple Chair not only tells the story of Nina's life of reading but of how books helped her to cope with the death of her oldest sister. Described as a must-read by Oprah Magazine and hailed as an outstanding debut by Kirkus Reviews, Tolstoy and the Purple Chair is for anyone who has ever found refuge -- or comfort or escape or joy - in a book.

Nina was born in Evanston, Illinois, and is a graduate of Evanston Township High School, Tufts University, and Harvard Law School. She lives with her four children, husband, and three cats in Connecticut.