Family of Liars: The Prequel to We Were Liars

Delacorte. May 2022. 320p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780593485859.
Gr 9 Up–Lockhart’s prequel to the wildly popular We Were Liars reunites readers with the wealthy Sinclair family and another summer of ominous drama and haunting memories. The action takes place on the Sinclairs’s private island off Cape Cod, 27 years before the events of We Were Liars. The youngest child of Harris and Tipper Sinclair, Rosemary, drowned on the island the previous year and Carrie, her oldest sister, is taking the loss especially hard. In addition to feeling like she is the only one truly mourning Rosemary, she constantly feels like an outsider among her sisters: never the prettiest nor the smartest. Also recovering from reconstructive jaw surgery, she attempts to cope by self-medicating to disconcerting effects, including nighttime visits from Rosemary’s ghost. The summer seems like it might improve when her cousin’s boyfriend arrives with two handsome friends in tow. Suddenly Carrie is taking part in family events with gusto in order to spend more time with the handsome yet flighty Lawrence Pfefferman, aka Pfeff. As the summer wears on, tension builds among the islands’ teen inhabitants, ending with an unpredictable, multi-layered twist conclusion. Lockhart employs many of the tactics used in We Were Liars to build suspense; subtle hints at the novel’s climax are interspersed with unreliable narration and red herrings to inevitably keep readers guessing. This can be read as a standalone but, as an author’s note warns at the beginning, it will spoil the events of We Were Liars if read first.
VERDICT This high-interest, suspenseful prequel will capture fans of We Were Liars and new readers alike; a must purchase for YA collections.

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