I was very impressed by the structure of this novel. I found the book both confusing and riveting at the same time, but I thought it was an absolutely wonderful story. There will be spoilers in this review so don’t pass the “read more” button if you plan to read the novel. I’ll start with a quick set up of the book though.
Cadence Sinclair Eastman is part of a very rich all-American family who spend their summers on their own private island. Each of Harris Sinclair’s three daughters received one of the custom-built houses on this island for themselves and their families. They fight over inheritance, they don’t know the names of their servants, they make their children do nice things for Granddad just to help them get nice tablecloths and houses in his will. Cadence, Johnny, and Mirren are the three eldest children and Gat joins in because he is basically Johnny’s stepbrother. They call themselves the Liars. The Liars do everything together, making memories for a lifetime. Until the accident. Cadence’s accident leaves her with selective amnesia of the summer she and the rest of the Liars were fifteen. She is now seventeen and returns to her family’s island for the first time since the accident. She does not know what happened in summer fifteen, why her Liars did not respond to her emails for two years, why they weren’t with her after her accident. But slowly, Cadence remembers as she spends one more summer with the Liars.
My Rating: 5 stars
I don’t even know where to start with this book! I was riveted, this was the first book in a while that I read in only 3 days (granted it is very short). Gat and Cadence’s relationship was a bit odd, but it drew me in with it’s oddity. I felt like their awkward perfectness was, well, perfect for them. I just loved the idea that these three cousins and Gat were so close and thought so similarly despite the way their parents tried to turn them into the pretentious rich children the mothers themselves had become.
The entire time Cadence was attempting to remember summer fifteen I was puzzling my own brain to try and put the clues together, but never in a million years did I anticipate the answer. Looking back, I can’t believe I didn’t figure it out. Her mother knew everything, but refused to let anyone tell Cadence because she had to remember in her own time. The Liars were acting weird, not going to dinner at New Clairmont, only hanging out at Cuddletown, the house Taft swore was haunted and everyone from Mirren’s family moved out of. Mirren getting inexplicably sick, Gat “disappearing” into the darkness. All the hints are there, but they are so artfully placed that it’s hard to expect the ending unless you had previously been spoiled.
As soon as Part 5: The Truth began, I was frightened to read what actually happened. When Cadence realized that her four best friends had been dead for two years, I could do nothing but sit with my mouth gaping open in shock. The grief in Cadence was justified and more as she now knows that she killed the two dogs, started the fire too soon, killed her cousins, killed Gat. On accident. They were stupid teenagers, trying to make a difference in their lives, change the future of their families for good reasons, but three of them and two poor dogs ended up dead. And Cadence feels completely responsible. She shouldn’t, and at least Johnny’s ghost form had the sense to tell her not to shoulder all the guilt on herself. I will admit, this book wasn’t quite good enough for the waterworks, but I did think that there was quite an emotional impact with this ending. Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was a quick, fun read and also held it’s own in an emotional, psychological way.
Let me know in the comments what you thought of the book! I’ll be back with another review soon 🙂