We Were Liars Discussion Questions

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

''We were Liars'' is a young-adult novel about friendship and loss. These questions can help your students navigate the plot, characters, and themes of the novel.

We Were Liars

We Were Liars is a 2014 young-adult novel by American author E. Lockhart (the pen name of Emily Jenkins). The story follows a young heiress who is tired of her family's manipulative and bickering ways, but who loses her memory at a crucial time. The following questions can help guide your class on a discussion about this novel's themes, plot, and characters.

Questions about Characters and Plot

  • Who is the main protagonist of We Were Liars? How are we introduced to Cady? What are some of the first things we learn about her? How does this shape your impression of Cady? What does it tell us about how she views herself? How would you describe her personality?
  • Who are ''the Liars?'' Why do they have this name? What are the relationships like between each of the four members? How would you describe each person? In what ways are they similar? In what ways are they different?
  • What is the central conflict that drives the plot in this novel? How is that established? How does Cady explain Summer Fifteen? When you read through this the first time, what did you think might have happened?
  • What does Cady learn in the two years between her 15th and 17th summers? How does she change as a character? What scene do you think best illustrates this change? How does she explain the odd things she observes, such as how people treat her?
  • What is the climax of this novel? How did we get here? How is the conflict resolved at this climax? What do we learn? How does Cady handle this? What does her reaction tell us about how she's grown and changed? How did you react when you read this? Does this change how you interpret the title of the book?
  • Why did she want to burn down Clairmont? What does that house represent to her? Do you think the destruction ended up saving the family, or not? How does she feel about this? What lessons did she learn? In the end, what do you think the author is trying to say with this story?

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