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6 Things Amazon’s We Were Liars TV Show Must Get Right About The Book


We Were Liars
adaptation must get the important details of the novel right in order to succeed.
The characters & relationships are key to capturing E. Lockhart’s story, so casting and chemistry are important.
The adaptation must nail
We Were Liars’
major themes, setting, and ending twist.

Amazon is adapting E. Lockhart’s best-selling young adult book We Were Liars for the small screen, and there are many things the TV show must get right about the source material. We Were Liars hit shelves back in 2014, and the novel became a hit, going on to win a Goodreads Choice Award, become a National Book Award finalist, and earn the title of Printz Award honoree. The story follows Cadence Easton Sinclair as she returns to her family’s private island after a strange incident two summers ago left her with amnesia and a strained relationship with her best friends.

As Caddy spends more time on the island, she begins to piece together what happened two years ago — and We Were Liars’ ending delivers a devastating blow to everything she believes is true. Lockhart’s novel knows how to play with timelines and mysteries to surprise the reader, and Prime Video’s adaptation must build on its strengths. That means taking care to get certain things about the source material right. After all, a TV version of We Were Liars won’t work without the qualities that make the book great.

6 The We Were Liars Show Must Make Good Use Of Multiple Timelines

Many TV shows master the use of multiple timelines, and We Were Liars must become one of them in order to succeed on Prime Video. Since Caddy’s past is so critical to her present-day timeline in the book, nailing the back and forth between the two periods is a necessity for the Amazon show. That means including plenty of hints about what happened two summers ago in Caddy’s current storyline — something Lockhart accomplishes impressively. It also requires the We Were Liars show to capture the tone of each summer, with Caddy’s past eliciting nostalgia and her present being defined by sorrow and grief.

TV shows like Cruel Summer and This Is Us are perfect examples of how to juggle multiple timelines in a TV series, and We Were Liars can easily learn from both. Cruel Summer does the foreshadowing and tonal shifts well, two things We Were Liars must pull from its source material. And This Is Us underscores the grief of the present by depicting the past, which is similar to what Lockhart does in her YA book.

5 We Were Liars Must Get The Characters & Relationships Right

We Were Liars has a compelling central mystery, but the characters and relationships are arguably the most important elements of Lockhart’s book. Without Caddy being so easy to sympathize with and relate to, many readers wouldn’t be able to invest themselves in her story. Likewise, Caddy’s strained interactions with her family and changing friendships make We Were Liars an emotional read long before the novel reveals its tragic twist. The Amazon show will need to write Caddy and her friends well, and it will need to cast actors with good chemistry to nail down these dynamics.

4 We Were Liars’ Setting Is Integral To Its Story

We Were Liars takes place on a remote island, and its setting is integral to its story for multiple reasons. For one, the wealth and privilege of Caddy’s family factors into how events unfold over the course of Lockhart’s novel. The Amazon show could even expand on this element of the source material, using the Sinclair family’s status to offer additional commentary throughout its run. On top of that, We Were Liars’ island setting offers an air of nostalgia and contrasts the book’s darker themes. It’s important that the We Were Liars adaptation accomplishes all this with its setting, especially if it hopes to be faithful to the book.

3 Generational Trauma Must Play A Role In The We Were Liars Show

Although Caddy spends most of We Were Liars holed up with her friends, her family’s strained relationships and their unwillingness to address problems impact her character arc greatly. Generational trauma is clearly present within the Sinclair family, and Lockhart’s prequel novel, Family of Liars, confirms as much. The Amazon adaptation will need to showcase this to explain why Caddy is struggling with her amnesia, as well as why her family isn’t communicating with her. It will also factor into the novel’s ending twist, as events unfold because of familial drama.

This is another element of We Were Liars that Amazon can dig deeper into, as the show may have more time to deal with the book’s supporting characters. If the TV series succeeds in this area, it could also get green-lit for a season 2 or spinoff. After all, interest in We Were Liars suggests there would also be interest in a Family of Liars adaptation later.

2 Amazon Must Nail We Were Liars’ Big Ending Twist

We Were Liars does several things really well, but its ending twist is probably the biggest testament to Lockhart’s talent as an author. After leading readers to believe that everything is happening as Caddy relays it, the novel finally reveals that she isn’t exactly a reliable narrator. Clues from earlier start to make sense as readers realize that Caddy’s interactions with her friends in the present-day timeline aren’t what they seem. And the reason that Caddy feels lost, lonely, and isolated goes far deeper than the normal pains of growing up.

In addition to sticking the landing with this twist — something that will require Amazon to build a solid foundation for it and surprise viewers — the We Were Liars show must make the house fire scene as harrowing as it is in the book. Caddy and her friends burning down Clairmont is one of the most memorable moments from Lockhart’s novel. It should be recreated in a way that makes it as intense and horrifying as it is in the source material.

1 Amazon’s Adaptation Needs To Convey The Feelings Of Grief

At its core, We Were Liars is a book about grief, and the Amazon adaptation must handle that theme with care. This goes beyond getting the novel’s major twist right, though that’s certainly required to drive home its message about loss. However, the feeling of grief looms over every chapter of Lockhart’s book, and the adaptation should infuse that into each episode, too. Additionally, the We Were Liars TV show must capture Caddy’s inner dialogue and show how she intends to honor her friends going forward. These things will be worthwhile to capture, even if they present a challenge on-screen.

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