| | | | |

12 Books Like We Were Liars

Books Like We Were Liars

Get ready to unravel family secrets, navigate intricate relationships, and have your mind blown by unexpected twists! 

These captivating reads will keep you guessing until the very last page, offering the same thrilling experience you found in “We Were Liars.” 

So, grab your favorite reading nook, because we’re diving into a world of summer secrets and shocking revelations.

Here we begin.

Books Like We Were Liars

1. The Cousins by Karen M. McManus

“The Cousins” is a thrilling mystery novel that delves into the complex dynamics of a wealthy, estranged family when three cousins are mysteriously summoned to their grandmother’s island resort—a woman they have never met. 

As they seek to uncover the reasons behind their disinheritance and their parents’ estrangement, secrets begin to unravel, leading to shocking revelations. The narrative, rich with twists and turns, explores themes of family, deception, and the quest for truth.

Major Similarities: 

Like “We Were Liars” by E. Lockhart, “The Cousins” features a plot centered around a privileged family with dark secrets and a setting on a private island. Both novels are driven by mystery and the unraveling of family secrets, engaging readers with their complex characters and unexpected plot twists. 

The themes of family dynamics, betrayal, and the pursuit of truth are prevalent in both stories, making them appealing to fans of suspenseful, emotionally charged narratives.

2. One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Set in a high school environment, “One of Us Is Lying” begins with five students serving detention, only for one to end up dead under suspicious circumstances. 

The novel is a gripping blend of mystery and drama, as the remaining four students become suspects in the investigation. Each character has secrets they are desperate to protect, and the story unfolds from multiple perspectives, offering a deep dive into their personal lives and hidden motives.

Major Similarities: 

Similar to “We Were Liars,” “One of Us Is Lying” is built on a foundation of secrets and lies, with a plot that thickens as truths begin to surface. The use of multiple perspectives in both novels allows for a rich exploration of characters and their complexities. 

Additionally, the suspenseful atmosphere and the young adult setting make “One of Us Is Lying” resonate with the themes of identity, guilt, and the impact of past actions, which are central to “We Were Liars.”

3. Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

In “Genuine Fraud,” readers are introduced to a story of ambition, friendship, and identity through the experiences of Jule and Imogen, two young women with a complex relationship. The novel employs a reverse chronological order to slowly peel back the layers of Jule’s life, revealing the lengths she goes to in order to maintain her carefully constructed facade. 

Themes of deception, reinvention, and the desire for a different life are explored against a backdrop of thrilling escapades and luxurious settings.

Major Similarities: 

Authored by E. Lockhart, the same author as “We Were Liars,” “Genuine Fraud” shares the thematic exploration of identity and the drastic measures individuals take to escape their pasts. 

Both novels feature strong, complex female protagonists and utilize a non-linear narrative to heighten suspense and gradually reveal key plot points. The focus on psychological depth, moral ambiguity, and the consequences of lies and deceit ties these two novels closely together.

4. The Leaving by Tara Altebrando

“The Leaving” begins with six children disappearing without a trace, only for five to return ten years later with no memory of where they’ve been or what happened to the sixth child. 

The novel explores the challenges they face in reintegrating into their old lives while dealing with the mystery of their missing memories and the relentless search for the truth. The narrative is interspersed with psychological intrigue and the tension of uncovering a deeply buried truth.

Major Similarities: 

Like “We Were Liars,” “The Leaving” delves into themes of memory, identity, and the pain of the past. Both novels are imbued with a sense of mystery and the impact of uncovering hidden truths on relationships and self-perception. 

The emotional depth and psychological complexity of the characters, along with the suspenseful plot, make “The Leaving” resonate with readers who appreciate the blend of mystery and emotional storytelling found in “We Were Liars.”

5. Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

“Dangerous Girls” is a riveting thriller that follows a group of friends vacationing in Aruba, where their trip turns tragic with the murder of one of their own. 

The story is centered around Anna, the prime suspect, as she navigates the nightmare of legal battles, media frenzy, and the quest to prove her innocence. 

Through flashbacks and shifting narratives, the novel explores themes of friendship, loyalty, and the manipulative nature of truth.

Major Similarities:

Both “Dangerous Girls” and “We Were Liars” excel in creating a tense atmosphere filled with suspense and the constant questioning of what is true. 

The exploration of complex friendships and the impact of secrets and lies on these relationships are central to both stories. Moreover, the use of a vacation setting as a backdrop for the unfolding drama and the psychological depth given to the characters make “Dangerous Girls” a compelling read for fans of “We Were Liars.”

6. Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

“Two Can Keep a Secret” is a gripping thriller set in the small town of Echo Ridge, where Ellery and her twin brother move to live with a grandmother they barely know. 

The town is infamous for the disappearance of a homecoming queen decades ago, and as Ellery delves into the mystery, another girl goes missing. The novel masterfully intertwines themes of family secrets, murder, and the quest for truth, all while presenting a compelling cast of characters each with their own secrets.

Major Similarities: 

Much like “We Were Liars,” this novel focuses on the unraveling of dark family secrets and the impact of the past on the present. 

Both books feature a strong sense of place that significantly influences the story—Echo Ridge and the Sinclair family’s private island serve as more than just settings; they are integral to the unfolding of the plot. The emphasis on mystery, complex familial relationships, and the theme of how well one truly knows their loved ones echoes the experience of reading “We Were Liars.”

7. Sadie by Courtney Summers

“Sadie” is a haunting novel that follows the story of a girl who embarks on a journey to avenge her sister’s death. 

Told through alternating perspectives between Sadie’s first-person narrative and a true-crime podcast, the novel explores themes of grief, revenge, and the search for justice. Summers’ portrayal of Sadie is raw and compelling, drawing readers into a suspenseful chase that blurs the lines between justice and vengeance.

Major Similarities: 

“Sadie” shares with “We Were Liars” a deep exploration of the effects of tragedy on its characters, particularly through the lens of young women grappling with loss and the desire for retribution. 

The innovative narrative structure in “Sadie,” which includes the podcast element, offers a fresh twist on storytelling similar to the unique narrative approach found in “We Were Liars.” 

Both novels also tackle the themes of family dynamics and secrets, creating a gripping and emotional reading experience.

8. The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas

“The Darkest Corners” is a psychological thriller that delves into the complexities of memory and the power of the past to shape the present. 

When Tessa returns to her hometown to confront a childhood trauma—the conviction of a serial killer based partly on her testimony—she finds herself drawn back into the mystery as new evidence comes to light. 

The novel is intense and dark, exploring themes of guilt, truth, and the lengths one will go to uncover what was buried long ago.

Major Similarities: 

Like “We Were Liars,” “The Darkest Corners” features a protagonist wrestling with the reliability of her own memories and the impact of past actions on the present. 

Both novels are characterized by their psychological depth, the exploration of dark family secrets, and a narrative that gradually reveals the truth behind the characters’ traumatic experiences. 

The themes of guilt, redemption, and the search for truth are prevalent in both stories, appealing to readers who enjoy complex, emotionally charged tales.

9. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All the Bright Places” tells the story of Violet and Finch, two teenagers who meet on the ledge of a bell tower, each contemplating suicide. What follows is a poignant exploration of mental illness, grief, and the transformative power of love. 

The novel is beautifully written, with characters that are deeply flawed yet immensely relatable, navigating the complexities of life and the pain of loss.

Major Similarities: 

While “All the Bright Places” diverges in genre, focusing more on romance and mental health, it shares with “We Were Liars” a profound exploration of grief, the impact of trauma, and the struggle to find one’s identity in the aftermath of tragedy. 

Both novels offer an emotional depth that resonates with readers, presenting characters that are navigating through their pain and towards healing. The themes of love, loss, and the quest for understanding one’s self and others provide a common ground for readers of both books.

10. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

“Everything I Never Told You” is a compelling family drama set in the 1970s, centering on the disappearance and death of Lydia Lee, the middle daughter of a Chinese American family in Ohio. 

Through exquisite prose, Ng explores the complexities of family dynamics, the pressures of societal expectations, and the unspoken tensions that shape the Lee family’s interactions. The novel delves into themes of identity, belonging, and the devastating impact of keeping secrets.

Major Similarities: 

Similar to “We Were Liars,” “Everything I Never Told You” is a deeply moving exploration of the secrets that families keep and the ways in which these secrets can both bind and destroy. 

Both novels are driven by the mystery surrounding a central character and use this as a means to explore the intricate web of family relationships and the weight of expectations. 

The emotional depth, focus on character development, and the theme of the destructive power of secrets are shared between the two books, making them resonate with readers interested in the dynamics of family and the consequences of actions taken in the name of love.

11. Little Monsters by Kara Thomas

“Little Monsters” is a chilling psychological thriller that delves into the dark side of teenage friendships and the complexities of small-town life. When Kacey moves to Broken Falls, she quickly becomes part of a tight-knit group of friends. 

But when one of them goes missing, Kacey finds herself isolated and suspected. The novel masterfully builds suspense and explores the themes of belonging, identity, and the façade of innocence.

Major Similarities: 

Both “Little Monsters” and “We Were Liars” explore the themes of friendship, betrayal, and the secrets that lie beneath the surface of seemingly perfect lives. 

The atmospheric tension and the focus on the psychological aspects of the characters and their relationships are central to both stories. 

The exploration of how the past shapes the present and the lengths to which individuals will go to protect their secrets are key similarities, appealing to readers who enjoy complex, character-driven mysteries.

12. The Lake by Natasha Preston

“The Lake” is a suspenseful thriller that follows Esme and Kayla, two friends who return to a summer camp they attended as children, now reopened after being the site of a tragic drowning. 

Soon after their arrival, they begin to receive threatening messages and realize that the past is not as buried as they thought. 

The novel is a tense exploration of friendship, trauma, and the pursuit of truth amidst a backdrop of escalating danger.

Major Similarities: 

Similar to “We Were Liars,” “The Lake” creates a sense of foreboding and suspense, centered around a picturesque setting that harbors dark secrets. 

Both novels involve a group of young characters confronted with the repercussions of past events, and the unfolding mystery serves as a catalyst for examining their relationships and personal guilt. 

The themes of unresolved trauma, the impact of secrets, and the tension between past and present make “The Lake” a compelling read for fans of “We Were Liars.”

Similar Posts