Cadence Sinclair is a high society fifteen-year-old who's family owns Beechwood Island off of Martha's Vineyard. Her grandparents have built each of their three daughters homes on the island so that the whole extended family can come and stay each summer. The three oldest grandchildren - Cadence, Johnny and Mirren - and their friend Gat form an inseparable group called the Liars and spend each summer bounding around the island, until Cadence has an accident and her whole world unravels.
Jump forward two years, hundreds of doctors visits later, and Cadence finally is allowed to spend the summer at Beechwood again after having been kept away by her parents. Except everyone has changed. Her aunts have taken on nervous ticks, her granddad suffers from dementia, her grandparents' mansion has been replaced by a cold, modern home, and the Liars won't come near it or the family. To top it all off, no one will explain Cadence's accident or why everyone abandoned her after it happened. She is supposed to remember on her own and so each week she collects clues and memories in order to piece the puzzle together. What emerges is a dirty truth about a family being torn apart by greed, money and, ultimately, tragedy. Cadence has to force herself to remember so that she can understand her family and her past.
Lockhart is a superb writer and the story is engrossing. Readers will get sucked in by Cadence's extremely bright but troubled thoughts. Lockhart's style is a blend of fast-paced mystery writing where nothing is as it seems and each chapter is another piece to an extremely complicated and emotional puzzle but at the same time provides great detail and description of the people and places which brings the story to life. It is such a great and emotional read that may be labeled as young adult but can resonate deeply with adults as well.