We Were Liars: Ms. Stayvas's Full Interview


By Gabriela MacPherson
Ms. Stayvas’s Full Interview about the book We Were Liars by E. Lockhart:
This book has a pretty unique layout and structure. Do you like the way the author structures it?
You know, I thought it was a little strange the way that the sentences were short and it jumps in time, but it worked for this book because she had amnesia and she clearly had breaks in her memory, so, in that way, I thought it worked. And the fact that it was every summer, there were reunions, they would obviously be recalling back to old summers, so I thought it worked but I could see why people wouldn’t like it.
I originally took this book out because it was one of your recommendations on the table. What made you choose this book to recommend to others?
It reminded me of some of the other books that students have liked in the past and students liked one of her other novels, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, so I thought this would be another great one she’s written. It takes place in summer, it’s about a super dysfunctional family- I feel like students really connect to that. And, you know, coming back to school students are still holding on to summer and I think it definietely helps you do that. I read it because it was a free book at a conference. And then I was looking it up and I found that it was on Amazon picklist and I thought why not give it a shot? And it goes so fast that it’s almost like in two days you’re like ‘ok, that gave me some things to think about’.
What other books would you compare it to? (If you liked ____ you would like We Were Liars)
Oh ok, well for some reason it reminded me a little bit of Please Ignore Vera Dietz [A.S. King] which again has a mysterious tragedy. It also reminded me of a darker The Summer I turned Pretty [Jenny Han]- a much darker one- but it still had that beachy feel.
Do you like any other books by E. Lockhart? Do you think this author will become more popular?
Well, you know, I don’t know. She’s had a few good titles, but I wonder if she’s sort of a one-trick-pony? Which I think some YA authors tend to be … but hey you never know!
The story includes a huge moment of realization for the reader- without giving anything away, how did you react when you realized what exactly was going on?
You know I actually felt kind of- a little dumb that I didn’t see it coming! But I think I’m always kind of fooled in these movies and in books where I thought, you know, of course. It just had to happen. So, you know it was kind of a fun moment to be like ohhhh, now it all makes sense.
If this book was adapted into a movie, how do you think it would translate?
Oooooh! You know there are so many books that are being turned into movies and I think they’re doing a pretty good job of capturing the spirit, maybe not necessarily all of the details, but I think this would be a really good movie! The setting is awesome, right? And this a little bit rich but creepy island, this really dysfunctional family, the descriptions of the houses in the book are really cool. And then, I guess the shifting memories, the flashbacks could be really, really good for a movie. And then also I guess the appearance of the main character too could also be sort of really interesting. That would be a good movie, you should write to the author!
How would you describe this book? What “category” would you put it in?
Another one it reminds me of is Love Letters to the Dead [Ava Dellaira]. That’s another one where it’s dark, there’s a secret. But I guess for someone, if you like Thirteen Reasons Why [Jay Asher]. I could see how maybe if you liked If I Stay– there’s that little element of mystery, a little romance. Dark, mystery, romance, yeah, it would fall into that category. There’s definitely a darkness to it that would not appeal to all readers, for sure.