Tag: suspense

Book Review: We Were Liars (E. Lockhart).

We Were Liars

–  E. Lockhart

This is the only novel I have read written by E. Lockhart, and it is a re-read for me. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart is a young adult suspense novel. The story follows the wealthy and beautiful Sinclair family. The main protagonist of the story is the Sinclair family’s eldest granddaughter Cadence Eastman.

The Sinclairs’ spend their summer on their private island of Beechwood. It is their slice of paradise away from everyone else, secluded and beautiful. Cady, Johnny, and Mirren are cousins who are similar in age and are very close. Later, they are joined by Gat who is the nephew of Johnny’s mother’s boyfriend. Cady, Johnny, Mirren, and Gat form a close bond, and they call themselves the Liars. The focus of the story remains on these four characters as they navigate through their dysfunctional family with Cady as the narrator.

Cady has spent every summer at  Beechwood since she was eight years old and looks forward to it. Gat starts coming to the island a couple of years later though he is welcomed there he is treated as an outsider by the older generation. Cady and Gat slowly fall in love; beginning a romantic relationship eventually. When Cady is fifteen she gets into an accident at Beechwood, and she spends the next two years recovering. Cady writes to Gat, Johnny, and Mirren but is hurt when she doesn’t receive a reply. She has no memory of the accident or what led to it. Her mother refuses to answer her questions. Cady constantly feels like something is missing, but she doesn’t know what.

Cady joins the family at Beechwood two years later. She is happy to be with the Liars again. No one else in her family tells her anything about the accident, even the Liars that leaves her frustrated. She decides to find clues and piece together the events of that summer herself. As she spends most of her time with Johnny, Mirren, and Gat away from other family members, she slowly starts recalling that summer. The façade of perfection that the Sinclair family maintains starts slowly crumbling. On paper, they seem progressive and liberal, but they are pretentious. This whole idea of the ideal American family is rooted in Sinclair’s mind, but it is toxic. The grandfather, Harris, keeps control over his daughters by using their inheritance against them

Gat is always reminded that he is an outsider by Cady’s grandfather subtly enough for others not to catch it, but the message is clear. Everyone seems to have a problem with Gat and Cady’s relationship because he is of Indian descent. His uncle proposes to Johnny’s mother, who refuses to accept the proposal because she knows she will lose her inheritance by marrying him. As an outsider to this family, Gat has a different perspective on the situation and often shares his views with the Liars. None of the sons-in-law of Harris’s daughters have ever been treated as a part of the family.

Meanwhile, Cady, Johnny, and Mirren don’t believe in the way, their family has lived or what they believe in. Once the cracks start showing, they keep getting bigger and bigger. Everyone in the family has the habit of dealing with pain and loss by suppressing it. Cady’s father leaves them; Cady and her mother pack away all of his things, make renovations to the house and act like he didn’t exist. They go about the same way in case of an accident too. Cady is miserable because she doesn’t know what has happened, and it eats at her, but no one wants to talk about it. It is the greed and pretentiousness of the family that eventually leads to the accident.

I remembered being shocked by the revelations towards the end and this time I understood the depth of it. This book has such strong themes that include sensitive topics, and it is done in a powerful yet subtle way. Also, the way this book is written is amazing. The writing is almost poetic; I don’t know how else to describe it. It keeps you hooked from the beginning with its story and proper pace. The reader is piecing together the events along with Cady; it is engaging.

I loved reading this book again. There are so many nuances and themes that I didn’t understand the first time around because I was young and unaware of things. The writing, the characters, the psychological and suspense thriller kind of narrative is a page-turner. We Were Liars is one of my favorite young adult novels.

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Book Review: The Obsession (Nora Roberts).

The Obsession

–      Nora Roberts

I have read so many books written by Nora Roberts by now but never reviewed one before. I go through her books way too quickly for me to write a review about them. This time I promised myself that after I finish reading this book I will review it. So, here it is; The Obsession.

The book begins when the protagonist Naomi is 12 years old. The start of the book itself takes a creepy turn as Naomi Bowes finds out that her father is a serial killer. This part of the story is told from a 12-year-old’s point of view which hammers the creepiness of it even more. The story then follows Naomi’s life in brief at different stages of her life until she is 16. This made me understand Naomi as a character and one can understand her need to remain distant and aloof from people.

She is very close to her mother’s brother Seth and his partner Harry who help Naomi, her brother Mason and their mom after her father is arrested. The relationship between Naomi and her brother and her uncles is very sweet. They are very close. She doesn’t have anyone else other than her family she is close to and that is on purpose. She is reluctant to even adopt a dog she finds injured roadside. The suspense element of the novel plays a major role at the beginning of the book then it slows down some and then tension is elevated again.

It is nice to see a character like Naomi, who is been traumatized since she was 12 because of her father, start changing things for herself. She buys a house which in a way makes things permanent like she is thinking of staying in one place. In the new town, she starts to step out of her comfort zone little by little. Xander Keaton owns a garage and plays in a cover band is fascinated by Naomi and notices her mistrust of people in general from the beginning. Naomi and Xander’s relationship is cute. He never babies her and is always blunt which Naomi admires about him.

Just when it seemed like now things are settling down, the past comes back to haunt Naomi. A serial killer is imitating Naomi’s father and trailing her, closing in on her. The point of view of the serial killer is a little hard to read and cringe-worthy. The suspense is at its peak at this point and it took me a while to guess who the killer is. I think the author left little clues which finally added up as I was reading. I loved the character of Mason, Naomi’s younger brother. I liked all the characters in the book, each major character had a development which adds to the story.

The favorite part about the book for me was the experience of the family of a serial killer. Naomi’s mother refuses to believe her husband did all those horrible things when she starts realizing it the guilt of not ever knowing this takes over. Mason, becomes a profiler for the FBI. He does as much research and reads everything possible about the psychological aspects of his father’s actions. Naomi isolates herself and refuses to think about her father altogether. Naomi’s father is in jail after the first chapter itself but there is his looming presence throughout the book in the minds of the family. He manipulates Naomi’s mother every time she goes to see him.

It is one of my favorite Nora Roberts book. I like the stand-alone suspense thriller novel. It is a good mix of suspense, thrill, and romance.

*Get a copy by clicking on the book cover above.