There’s a growing trend with books these days. Adults are finding YA novels appealing. A prime example of this crossover happened in 2005 with the publication of “The Book Thief,” by Marcus Zusak.
In an interview with Zusak, soon after his breakaway novel hit bookstore shelves, the author said he had wanted to write a book that people would remember. Mission accomplished. The novel remains a bestseller, wowing teens and adults alike.
This month marks the publication of another fine YA novel destined to extend beyond the teen set. “We Were Liars,” by E. Lockhart is quite simply amazing.
It’s the story of “the beautiful Sinclairs” a moneyed family from Cape Cod led by Harris Sinclair, an aged patriarch with three adult daughters who make King Lear’s hateful brood pale in comparison.
Each of Sinclair daughters has a summer home on Beechwood Island bought and paid for by their father. The sisters, Penny, Carrie and Bess are consumed with material things, and they backbite, argue and manipulate one another, and their father, in their quest to become the prime benefactor of his inheritance.
Despite the animosity they feel toward one another, gathering on Beechwood Island is required by Harris Sinclair, who loses his beloved wife Tipper, as he loses his mind to dementia.
Cady is his favorite and oldest granddaughter. He proclaims her “The future of the family,” but she falls out of favor when she falls for Gat, an Indian boy who’s a close friend of Cady’s cousin Johnny. Each summer Gat has come to the island, yet his ethnic background makes him an unacceptable love interest for Cady, in the family’s eyes.
Cady, Gat, Johnny and Mirren, another granddaughter, form a tight-knit bond because of the experiences they share on the island. The children appear more honest, caring and emotionally healthy than the adults in their lives, and they grow ever more aware of the family’s burgeoning dysfunction.
The action ratchets up when a swimming accident leaves Cady with a head injury and amnesia, and without answers about what happened the night she was found on the beach. Gradually, Cady’s memories of that fateful night return with shocking results.
The suspense and surprises build with each chapter. Put this riveting book on your must-read-list, and if you have a teen in your life pass the book along to them. “We Were Liars” will be released May 13 by Delacorte Press.