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Mystery and metaphor

lockhart_we were liarsIt isn’t so often that I’m dying to read a book the second it comes out. But I got up in the wee hours of the morning the other day to read We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart as soon as humanly possible. I love her books, and this one, though very different from her others, was worth the early wakeup.

A lyrical and trim mystery with an unreliable narrator, I can only describe reading it as not unlike that weird space when you aren’t really asleep and aren’t really awake. I’d say more, but practically anything is a spoiler here. And even if I explained more about the book, I’m still not totally sure I know exactly what went down.

But hopefully it isn’t giving anything away to say the book would be really fun to use to put together a lesson series on motif or metaphor. It has recurring images and threads that would work really well on this front, and I imagine the book’s many readers would really see why the author chooses to use these devices in the context of such an unsettling story.

E. Lockhart always makes my list of books to have in the classroom for a variety of uses, and We Were Liars is no exception! I’d love to know how other folks have used mysteries in classrooms too.

Christina Dobbs About Christina Dobbs

Christina Dobbs is an assistant professor of English Education at Boston University. She is a former high school teacher, literacy coach, and reading specialist, and she studied adolescent literacy at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.



  1. Katie Bircher Katie Bircher says:

    I’m listening to the audiobook now after reading the print version, and am loving it even more this second time through. It really is masterfully written. One of my favorite motifs is Cady’s fairy-tale retellings of the Sinclairs’ family history.

    Have you seen this Q&A with E. Lockhart about how she constructed the novel?

  2. This book was ravishing. Unlike most modern day books this novel was able to shock me. The plot twist in this book was like no other.

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