Monday, January 31, 2011

Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal

Other Words for Love
Lorraine Zago Rosenthal
Publisher: Delacourte
Released: January 11, 2011
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 368
Source: Cavalier House Books
Ari Mitchell feels invisible at her Brooklyn high school. Her hair is too flat, her style too preppy, and her personality too quiet. And outside school, Ari feels outshined by her beautiful, confident best friend, Summer. Their friendship is as complex and confusing as Ari's relationship with her troubled older sister, Evelyn, a former teenage mom whose handsome firefighter husband fills Ari's head with guilty fantasies.

When an unexpected inheritance enables Ari to transfer to an elite Manhattan prep school, she makes a wealthy new friend, Leigh. Leigh introduces Ari to the glamorous side of New York - and to her gorgeous cousin, Blake. Ari doesn't think she stands a chance, but amazingly, Blake asks her out. As their romance heats up, they find themselves involved in an intense, consuming relationship. Ari's family worries that she is losing touch with the important things in life, like family, hard work, and planning for the future.

When misfortune befalls Blake's family, he pulls away, and Ari's world drains of color. As she struggles to get over the breakup, Ari must finally ask herself: were their feelings true love . . . or something else?
This book needs a new summary. When I first read it I thought, this sounds good, but that was it. I didn't really have a feel for what it was about or an intense desire to read it. I was actually more inclined to support its author, Lorraine, because she follows me on twitter and is a debut author. When I received an ARC for review I was definitely looking forward to it, but it still didn't make it to the top of my pile. So can someone please rewrite this summary because this book deserves so much more than that!

Ari is who I was in high school*. I went from never having a real boyfriend to being in a serious relationship where this guy was my whole world and when we broke up I wanted to die. Okay, it wasn't so dramatic, but I sure thought it was at the time. Obviously I lived, and breaking up was definitely one of the best things to ever happen, but I can still remember the hurt and uncertainty of it all. I can also remember being in love for the first time and all the new feelings and experiences had. Lorraine captures these life experiences perfectly. Reading Ari's point of view was like looking in a mirror. Anyone who says (s)he can't relate to Ari is either a liar or hasn't experienced love.

Other Words for Love is really just a simple love story which, I think, is a testament to a great writer. There is nothing extraordinary about this story, it may not even be very original. But it was definitely one of the best contemporary books I've ever read. When you write as beautifully as Lorraine does, you don't need fantastical elements or a whimsical setting. You only need a character with a strong voice, and simple can become anything but.

I was also more than impressed by Ari's supporting cast. Can I just tell you that I wanted to punch Ari's mom in the head? 'Cause I did. I kind of hated her and the way she treated Ari, but this ended up being a good thing. The author was able to create a story so real that it evoked actual physical reactions from me - I was balling up my fists, releasing exasperated sighs, and there were even a few times I had to set the book down - all because I felt so strongly about her mother. It isn't often that a book will do this to me, so I give major kudos to Lorraine. Ari's mom was a character I loved to hate, and she was only one of the many characters in this novel who nearly walked off the pages.

This is a novel I hope everyone will read and appreciate as much as I did. As for its author, I am forever a fan and will read anything she writes. No details yet, but Lorraine is working on her next novel which is also set in New York. You can keep up with her via twitter and her website for upcoming news.

*So I didn't go to a fancy prep school. Or have a supermodel for a best friend. Or have a crush on my brother-in-law. Or get in with the rich and famous. But I swear there are similarities!

1 comment:

  1. Glad to hear you thought more highly of this book than the summary describes! It really does sound absolutely lovely from your review!


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