“The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett” by Chelsea Sedoti
400 pages, Sourcebooks
Published Jan. 3, 2017
High school senior Hawthorn Creely has it pretty rough. She’s an outcast with a jock for a big brother and a hippie for a mom. She has no idea what she wants to do after graduation, even though her professor dad keeps pressuring her to pick a college. As if her life isn’t embarrassing enough, a caravan of her mom’s free-spirited friends has taken up residence in the Creelys’ backyard.
But Hawthorn’s biggest concern is that the ultra-popular Lizzie Lovett – a girl she loved to hate and hated to love before Lizzie graduated three years ago – has gone missing.
Hawthorn becomes swept up in the investigation of Lizzie’s disappearance. She concocts her own theory of what happened, is hired to Lizzie’s old job, and even starts hanging out with Lizzie’s boyfriend. Long after the residents of her small town and the police department have given up hope of finding answers, Hawthorn is still looking for the girl she couldn’t stand. And she comes to the realization that maybe no one knew the real Lizzie …
This was my first YA read, and I was not disappointed. The dialogue and the storytelling are definitely targeted toward a high school audience but feel realistic enough that any adult could enjoy it.
“The thing about high school is that you have to pretend you don’t care what people think, even though that’s all you care about.”
So much yes.
I found myself identifying strongly with Hawthorn when it comes to her interactions with her peers – I was a bit of a loner myself. Plus, she doesn’t have much of a filter – neither did I at that age! – and that tends to get her into quite a few scrapes.
The whole book is narrated by Hawthorn, so the reader gets a very personal take on her thoughts about high school, her family, etc. I was definitely laughing out loud sometimes at her dark sense of humor and how she wishes bad, but not harmful, things on people who irritate her. (Example: ” … I wished someone would replace Mychelle’s fancy shampoo with a drugstore brand. I wished she would suddenly forget the name of her five favorite songs. I wished every time she microwaved a frozen burrito, the center would stay cold.”) Let’s be honest, haven’t we all had those kinds of thoughts from time to time?
It’s interesting to see how quickly Hawthorn goes from not caring (or pretending not to care) that the beautiful, blond, “perfect” Lizzie has vanished without a trace, to letting it consume her life to the point where she further alienates herself from the world around her.
I really struggled to understand Enzo, Lizzie’s boyfriend, who was the last person to see Lizzie before she disappeared. He is definitely essential to the story, but the author seems to leave his character mostly undeveloped – maybe on purpose … ?
I didn’t find this book to be predictable at all. Maybe other readers will have the ending pegged, but I certainly did not. I really appreciate the overarching message, which is for all ages, and wish I’d read something like this when I was Hawthorn’s age (although, who knows, I might have brushed it off by saying, “Yeah, well, it’s just a book”). We might think we have someone all figured out, but I’d venture a guess that almost everyone carries some kind of secret heartache that they’ll never let the world see, whether they’re ostracized or universally loved.
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
About the author
Author bio and photo courtesy of Goodreads