Thursday, September 18, 2008

Book Review: Love and Lies

Love & Lies: Marisol's Story by Ellen Wittlinger. (Grades 9+)

Did you love Ellen Wittlinger's book Hard Love? Me, too. And I also loved this companion novel which delves into Marisol's point of view.

You remember Marisol? Gio met her as he started getting more involved with creating zines and he fell for her even though she was gay. Well, it's the year after high school and Marisol has deferred her admittance to Stanford. She is spending the year living on her own (well, not completely on her own), working at a greasy spoon (possibly soon to be shut down), and writing a novel (trying to). Marisol also has another goall: to fall in love.

Marisol signs up for an adult education class on novel-writing expecting to get some tips and inspiration. What she's not expecting is her teacher Olivia. Glamorous, intelligent, beautiful Olivia... an older woman who miraculously shows an interest in her. Marisol quickly falls head over heels into an intense courtship. But first love isn't as easy as Marisol had imagined it would be...

I loved getting another visit to Marisol's and Gio's world. Although readers can tell that Marisol's relationship with Olivia is doomed from the start, I thought it was a spot-on portrayal of first love. Marisol feels that all-consuming passion, the pleasant surprise of discovery, even though this is a love that is not particularly healthy. What makes it even more interesting and realistic is Marisol's character. She's frank and self-confident to the point of arrogance sometimes. But somehow things are different with Olivia. And although I knew from the beginning who Marisol should end up with, Olivia was a character that I loved to hate.

Wittlinger absolutely made me feel like I was in Boston right there with all the characters. I howled with outrage at each new offense by Olivia (offenses that were, of course, overlooked by the smitten Marisol) and I was really rooting for Marisol to get things together at the end.

Read more reviews by Lisa, Kelly, and Lee, and do check out the Class of 2k8 interview with Ellen Wittlinger.