The best kinds of books are the ones that stick with you long after the final words slip off the page into oblivion. The best kinds of books are the ones whose story lives on within you long after you close the back cover and add it back onto your bookshelf of lost stories. The best kinds of books are the ones that make you look at the stars for longer and the ones that make you think about the people in your life and the life in your life. This is one of those books.
The Sinclair family owns a island off the coast of Massachusetts. Beechwood Island is their own private escape where they spend every summer swimming in the ocean, running in the fields, and napping on the beach. They are a picture perfect family in every sense of the world except their own. High expectations and never-ending money cause rifts that they try to hide beneath the waves. Cadence, Johnny, Mirren, and Gat have grown up together on Beechwood and fall into place with each other every summer, blocking out the world and making the island their kingdom.
At the end of one summer, Cadence suffers a terrible accident is found curled up in the ocean, bruised, and emotionally wrecked. She spends the next few months in the hospital and can’t remember anything about what happened. And nobody will tell her. As she returns to Beechwood the second summer after her accident (she spends the first one in Europe with her Dad), she must piece together the stories that nobody will talk about.
I think that perhaps the best (and worst) part of reading this book was that I could relate so aptly to the characters. The passage below? I had that growing up. Not on an island, but I understood their story on a level that I didn’t plan on when I picked up this book and opened it to the first page.
Life feels beautiful that day.
The four of us Liars, we have always been.
We always will be.
No matter what happens as we go to college, grow old, build lives for ourselves; no matter if Gat and I are together or not. No matter where we go, we will always be able to line up on the roof of Cuddledown and gaze at the sea.
This island is ours. Here, in some way, we are young forever.
The inside cover of the book tells you to lie when anybody asks about the ending. I’m not going to lie, I’m just not going to tell you. If you want to find out how this book ends, you’re just going to have to read it for yourself. Personally, I’m already planning on reading it again to pick up on the details that may have hid between the lines when I sped through it the first time.