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20 Intriguing Books Like “We Were Liars” For Your Reading List

Explore Mysteries and Family Secrets with These Books Similar to "We Were Liars"
by The Blinkist Team | Apr 2 2024

20 Must-Read Books Similar to 'We Were Liars

“We Were Liars” by E. Lockhart is a captivating story that skillfully interweaves themes of family, love, and the power of truth, all within the secretive and beautiful backdrop of a private island. The novel’s shocking twist and exploration of the intricacies of familial relationships and personal identity have resonated deeply with readers.

If you’re drawn to stories that blend the joy and pain of growing up with the hidden secrets of life, then this list of books similar to “We Were Liars” is perfect for you. From mysterious family dramas to heart-wrenching revelations, these compelling reads are sure to captivate you.

Top 20 best books to read if you liked “We Were Liars” by E. Lockhart


1. “The Cousins” by Karen M. McManus

This story follows cousins who barely know each other, called to work at their grandmother’s resort to uncover family secrets.

Elements in common with “We Were Liars”:

  • A family with deep, dark secrets.
  • A plot that revolves around the complexities of familial bonds.
  • A twist that changes everything you thought you knew.


2. “Everything I Never Told You” by Celeste Ng

A deep dive into the life of a Chinese-American family after the death of their daughter, Lydia.

Elements in common with “We Were Liars”:

  • Exploring the dynamics of a dysfunctional family.
  • Themes of secrets and unspoken truths.
  • A stunning narrative that slowly reveals a shocking truth.


3. “One of Us Is Lying” by Karen M. McManus 

When five students walk into detention and only four walk out, the truth behind the death unfolds.

Elements in common with “We Were Liars”:

  • A gripping story with a twisty plot.
  • Exploration of secrets among a tight-knit group.
  • The theme of how appearances can be deceiving.


4. “Six of Crows” by Leigh Bardugo

A heist story that explores the backstories and bonds between a ragtag crew of outcasts.

Elements in common with “We Were Liars”:

  • Complex character dynamics and development.
  • Themes of loyalty, deception, and the quest for redemption.
  • A plot filled with twists and morally gray areas.


5. “Sadie” by Courtney Summers

A heart-wrenching story of a girl seeking revenge for her sister’s murder, blending podcast transcript with narrative.

Elements in common with “We Were Liars”:

  • A compelling narrative style.
  • Themes of grief, revenge, and the impact of tragedy on family.
  • A mystery that keeps you guessing until the end.


6. “The Secret History” by Donna Tartt

A group of classics students reflect on the events leading up to a murder within their circle, revealing the dark underbelly of academic elitism and isolation.

Elements in common with “We Were Liars”:

  • An elite, secluded setting with a close-knit group.
  • Themes of betrayal, morality, and the consequences of ambition.
  • A narrative that carefully unravels the truth behind a tragedy.


7. “Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng

The arrival of a mysterious artist and her daughter in Shaker Heights upends the perfect suburban life of the Richardson family.

Elements in common with “We Were Liars”:

  • Exploration of family dynamics and mother-daughter relationships.
  • A community with secrets that slowly come to light.
  • A story that questions the notion of planned perfection.


8. “Genuine Fraud” by E. Lockhart

A story of reinvention, manipulation, and identity told in reverse, tracing the steps of a young woman’s dangerous friendship.

Elements in common with “We Were Liars”:

  • By the same author, featuring a similar compelling writing style.
  • Themes of deception and the search for one’s true self.
  • A plot with suspense and unexpected turns.


9. “The Book of Lies” by Mary Horlock

Set on the Channel Islands, this tale of a modern-day murder intertwined with a World War II occupation story explores the lies we tell others and ourselves.

Elements in common with “We Were Liars”:

  • An island setting with historical depth.
  • A narrative dealing with the consequences of secrets and lies.
  • A focus on complex familial relationships.


10. “Paper Towns” by John Green

A teenager follows a trail of clues left by the enigmatic girl next door, leading him on a journey of discovery and introspection.

Elements in common with “We Were Liars”:

  • A coming-of-age story with mystery elements.
  • Themes of identity, perception, and the impact of expectations.
  • A twist that challenges the protagonist’s assumptions.


11. “Vanishing Girls” by Lauren Oliver

Sisters Dara and Nick used to be inseparable until an accident leaves Dara with scars and secrets between them grow.

Elements in common with “We Were Liars”:

  • The theme of complex sisterly bonds.
  • Secrets that drive a wedge between family members.
  • A narrative that blurs the lines between truth and lies.


12. “Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine” by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor’s carefully timetabled life changes when she and a coworker save an elderly man, leading to unexpected friendships and revelations.

Elements in common with “We Were Liars”:

  • A protagonist grappling with the scars of a traumatic past.
  • The transformative power of human connection.
  • Themes of loneliness, survival, and finding oneself.


13. “The Lake House” by Kate Morton

A long-abandoned house holds the keys to a decades-old mystery involving a missing child and a family torn apart by secrets.

Elements in common with “We Were Liars”:

  • A multi-generational family saga.
  • A lush, engrossing setting that adds to the mystery.
  • A complex plot revealing past tragedies and their impacts on the present.


14. “The Girls” by Emma Cline

A sensitive teenager is drawn into the dangerous circle of a soon-to-be-infamous cult in the late 1960s.

Elements in common with “We Were Liars”:

  • The exploration of young female identity and belonging.
  • A storyline driven by the allure of a charismatic group.
  • A focus on the dark side of seeking acceptance.


15. “Lie with Me” by Philippe Besson

A poignant tale of a passionate first love masked as a friendship in 1980s France, marked by longing, denial, and an inevitable farewell.

Elements in common with “We Were Liars”:

  • An intense exploration of love and loss.
  • Themes of secrets, societal expectations, and the fallout of truth.
  • A narrative that speaks to the heartache of what could have been.


16. “The Last Time I Lied” by Riley Sager

A woman returns to her childhood summer camp to uncover the truth about a game of lies that ended in tragedy years ago.

Elements in common with “We Were Liars”:

  • A setting that closes in on the characters with its secrets.
  • A narrative centered around unraveling the mysteries of the past.
  • Themes of guilt, memory, and the lengths we go to for the truth.


17. “We Have Always Lived in the Castle” by Shirley Jackson

Two sisters and their uncle live in isolation after their family met a tragic fate, and the arrival of a cousin disrupts their eccentric peace.

Elements in common with “We Were Liars”:

  • An atmospheric story with a strong sense of place.
  • Themes of family, isolation, and societal judgment.
  • A dark twist that changes the reader’s perspective on the characters.


18. “The Sun Down Motel” by Simone St. James

A woman’s disappearance at a haunted motel in the 1980s is investigated decades later by her niece, revealing long-buried secrets.

Elements in common with “We Were Liars”:

  • A dual timeline uncovering past and present mysteries.
  • A strong female protagonist determined to uncover the truth.
  • Elements of supernatural amidst a tale of suspense.


19. “Atonement” by Ian McEwan

A single lie changes the course of several lives, spanning World War II to the late 20th century, exploring themes of love, guilt, and the desire for redemption.

Elements in common with “We Were Liars”:

  • A narrative that examines the consequences of lies and misconceptions.
  • Complex family dynamics and the impact of war.
  • Stunning storytelling blending reality with fiction.


20. “The Thirteenth Tale” by Diane Setterfield

A reclusive author invites a biographer to write her life story, revealing a tale of twins, ghosts, and a family curse.

Elements in common with “We Were Liars”:

  • A gothic atmosphere with a mystery at its heart.
  • The exploration of twisted familial relationships.
  • A story that celebrates the power of storytelling itself.

If “We Were Liars” left you wanting more stories that are full of secrets, intriguing characters, and the power of truth, then this list will take you to those same mysterious depths. Each carefully selected title promises a unique exploration of human connections, memories, and the shadows that our pasts cast on our presents.

So, let your curiosity guide you and dive into these captivating narratives. Happy reading!


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