Cadence Sinclair is many things. A child of privilege. An heir to a dynasty. A pawn in the game nobody in her family will admit to playing. A girl with a trust fund, a broken heart, and a big, black hole where her memory of her fifteenth summer should be.
But most of all, Cadence Sinclair is a Liar.
And that’s about all we can tell you when it comes to the story of “We Were Liars,” the book by E. Lockhart that everyone will be reading, and re-reading, this summer. It’s twisty, it’s mysterious, and it’s got a surprise ending that’ll knock your socks off and which we wouldn’t dare spoil for ya.
However, we can tell you to how to start getting pumped for the book’s release in May: Through the “We Were Liars” filter app on Tumblr, where you can become a beautiful, privileged, damaged Liar yourself and add your own terrible fib — or terrible truth — to a Sinclair-style photo album that will give an elegant, old-money look to even your most heinous confessions. Upload yours here, and read on below for some exclusive secrets from E. Lockhart herself about the truth behind her Liars.
If we had to sum up this book in “x meets y” format, it might be something like “Rich Kids of Instagram meets King Lear meets Memento” — all set against the backdrop of a private island where generations of Sinclairs meet each summer.
Of her island setting and the family who lives there, the author said, “I was inspired by novels about self-mythologizing families, especially those in which houses loom iconically: Brideshead Revisted, for example. Howard’s End. Bleak House. Cadence is the most likely heiress — she is the first-born grandchild— to the fortune and real estate belonging to her grandfather. Granddad is a Lear-like figure, and his three daughters are competing for his favor.”
Competing, but only behind closed doors and in the most passive-aggressive way possible. The Sinclairs are the oldest sort of old money, born with silver spoons in their mouths and New England ice in their veins. And when it comes to the highly-publicized and overt machinations of, say, the Kardashians?
“They would not know who the Kardashians are,” Lockhart said. “And if forced to reckon with them, they would find them vulgar.”
Meanwhile, although she can’t (or is too discreet to) point to any one elite American family as the inspiration for the Sinclairs, Lockhart does know a bit about the playgrounds of young one-percenters, thanks to — what else? — some family history.
“My maternal grandparents built a modest house on Martha’s Vineyard in the early 1970s and I have been going there in the summers since that time. The Vineyard is actually diverse in quite a number of ways, but my grandparents’ friends were mainly Boston academics and old money,” she explained. “For the Sinclair family with their private island, I turned up the volume — they are richer, WASPier, and far worse-behaved than anyone I have ever known personally.”
So if you did have something to declare — be it a little bit scandalous, a little bit shameful, or maybe even a little bit shocking — you know who you can tell. The Sinclairs, among other things, are very good at keeping secrets.