Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Love and Lies

Wittlinger, Ellen. 2008. Love & Lies: Marisol's Story.

Note: This one is a companion to Hard Love, a novel which earned a Printz Honor.

I've not read Hard Love. Perhaps if I had, my opinion of Love & Lies would be slightly different. But perhaps it's best not to come into it with any preconceived notions of the characters and the style.

Marisol is recently graduated from high school and taking a year off before attending college. She has big plans--big plans she says--to write a novel and to fall in love. Yes, Marisol is looking for the right woman. A woman who is comfortable loving women; a woman who won't cheat on her with a man and run off and leave her heartbroken. Apparently, there was something going on to that effect in the first book.

Marisol is living with her gay best friend, Birdie, and his boyfriend, Damon, along with several pets. She's also working at an atmospheric coffee-shop-type place called the Mug. There she meets newly outed Lee, a girl who is quiet, a loner, almost fearful that her shadow will say boo. Turns out she's homesick and confused. Marisol decides to take pity on her and become her buddy. But from the start Marisol fears that Lee is developing a big crush on her. Marisol wishes that she could stop this girl from loving her, but since she can't...she's content not to outrageously encourage her or lead her on.

When she's not hanging out with her friends, Marisol is attending a writing workshop. In this writing workshop, she happens to bump into her old pal, John Galardi, "Gio." They both have very different opinions on their writing teacher, Miss Olivia Frost. Marisol is smitten.

So there we have it, a set up for a trying summer of love and misunderstanding. Marisol loves Olivia. Lee loves Marisol. Olivia loves herself, mostly.

Though it is obvious practically from the beginning how this will all play out, it's an enjoyable enough read. In a very strange way, it reminds me of Boy Toy. In that we've got an "older" woman manipulating a "student" (though both are technically adult and consensual.). Not that there are direct parallels between the two exactly. Interesting characters. Semi-familiar plot. (Though the familiar plot would typically be between a man and woman, not between two women.)

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Megan 8:06 PM  

Hmmm...I can't quite decide if I'd be interested in this one. However, if you ever get a chance to try Hard Love, I'd definitely recommend it. Gio was the narrator of that one and was a very real, lovable sort of character whereas Marisol seemed to be more of the stock character slightly over-the-top "unique" girl who refuses to compromise on her strange ways, a character that seems to appear in YA fiction with an irritating regularity given the general unlikelihood of meeting one of them in real life. For that kind of character, in Hard Love, she's good, but Gio is better, and I can't quite get my head around a book with her as the focus...

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