I am generous with 4 star ratings, but I don't give out a lot of 5 stars; I reserve those for the most exceptional books. This was an exceptional book!
Cadence Sinclair is the oldest granddaughter in the wealthy Sinclair family. The grandfather owns a private island where the family gathers each summer. Four of the teenagers refer to themselves as The Liars and are especially close. Cadence is one of the Liars and the main character of this story. The summer Cadence turned 15, a tragedy occurred; she was found on the beach alone, in her underwear, nearly drowned with a head injury. She can't remember anything about the accident and very little about that summer. Cadence is now 17 and despite her often debilitating headaches and memory loss, the doctors feel she has recovered enough to return to the island. She is trying to piece together the events surrounding her accident, but no one will talk about it. Grandfather has been slipping into dementia, the aunts change the subject, the Liars refuse to go there and the little cousins admit that they’ve been told not to discuss it.
I loved the lyrical prose; the intense, horrifying imagery of pain and emotion; the unusual structure of the writing. I thought the first person POV was perfect for this story, highlighting the confusion and frustration that Cadence felt. And the end blew me away. I never saw it coming; maybe I should have because reflecting back, there were indications that things were not as they seemed. But ... just WOW!