Holy cow. We Were Liars is one addictive ride. It's a struggle to talk about here, as I don't want to give spoilers. Let's just say that it's a highly sophisticated YA mystery, with characters who are maddening, annoying, frustrating, human, believable, and in the end, touching.
Here's what I can tell you: the narrator, Cady (short for Cadence) Sinclair Eastman is part of the large, filthy rich Sinclair clan. Granddad Sinclair owns an island off the coast of Martha's Vineyard. Yes--that rich. Each of his three adult daughters has their own home on the island, along with the patriarch. Every summer, the family gathers at the island. Cady is the oldest grandchild, but not by much. She and the other two grandchildren her age, Mirren and Johnny, are tremendously close. When one of the mothers starts dating a man of Indian descent, his similarly aged son, Gat, joins the clan each summer. They call their tight-knit group the Liars, and the island is their playground.
That is, until the year they're 15, when something terrible happens that leaves Cady physically and emotionally wrecked. What it is, she can't remember. And that's as much as I can tell you.
It's a mystery, yes, but it's also about growing up, and growing up in affluence, and there are undertones of racism that Gat has to explain to Cady, because she can't see them from her privileged childhood. The story isn't condescending or simplistic; all the characters are flawed in very human ways.
It's quite an accomplishment, and after finishing it, my first impulse was to go right back to page one and start over to see how author E. Lockhart structured this and what hints about the ending she may have dropped earlier on. I've decided to wait (too many books waiting for me at the library, stooopid library queue), but I will read it again for just that reason.