Review: Lies My Girlfriend Told Me

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Title: Lies My Girlfriend Told Me

Author: Julie Ann Peters

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: June 10, 2014

Goodreads / Author’s website / Author’s twitter

I picked up Lies My Girlfriend Told Me because of – you guessed it – the font on the front cover. I’ll admit that I didn’t even read the blurb before I started to read the book.

So to begin, so you know what we’re getting into, here is a brief summary from the author’s website:

When Alix’s girlfriend Swanee dies of sudden cardiac arrest, Alix is inconsolable with grief. She slips away from Swanee’s service to her room, fully expecting the whole ordeal to be an extravagant hoax. But the only thing Alix finds is the bag from the hospital where Swanee was taken. She still can’t believe Swanee is gone, and when Swanee’s cell pings a text message, Alix just knows the call is for her, telling her it was all a prank.

The call, however, is from a person with the initials LT. And there are dozens and dozens of messages. Who is LT and, if this isn’t a joke, why is she calling a dead person? Alix is determined to find out the answer whatever the cost.

Alix finds out she was being two-timed by her dead girlfriend. Then she tracks down the other girlfriend – Liana, in Swanee’s phone just as LT – and finds out that she was being two-timed as well. Over the course of the novel, Alix and Liana both have to come to terms with how Swanee had manipulated them while also working through their grief over Swanee’s death and their strange and coincidental relationship with each other.

A year ago, I would have been overwhelmed with gratitude that two same-sex couples would be showcased as the main characters of a real YA book. I’ve been reading so much queer fiction lately that this isn’t overly impressive. Still, as far as queer lit goes, this was well done.

As the pieces fell into place, I knew where the story was headed, and I even knew that Alix’s decisions were going to get her in hot water. I wanted to keep reading because I wanted to know how it would all work out. The book was emotionally compelling and I think that anyone who’s ever been burned by secrets and lies can definitely relate. Plus, the prose was beautifully written. The story flowed like poetry and I felt every second of it.

However, a major downside was that there wasn’t nearly enough character development throughout the book. I was empathetic towards Alix because of what Swanee had done to her, but not because of who she is as a character. I didn’t find her likable in the slightest and her endless complaining and entitlement grated on my nerves.

Still, I enjoyed Lies My Girlfriend Told Me as a whole. It was, in turns, both sorrowful and romantic, and it showcased grief in a way that was new to me. I’d recommend it to readers who want a a sad, sweet book that explores equal parts guilt, anger, and love.

4 out of 5 stars.

Tara

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