Google+ YA Romantics: Mini-Reviews: There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake and Love, Lucy by April Lindner

Monday, January 26, 2015

Mini-Reviews: There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake and Love, Lucy by April Lindner

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Welcome to another installment of Mini-Reviews, a feature in which I give you my quick take on a couple of recent reads.

There Will Be Lies
by Nick Lake
Published by Bloomsbury
on January 6, 2015

Source: bought

Synopsis from Goodreads: In four hours, Shelby Jane Cooper will be struck by a car. Shortly after, she and her mother will leave the hospital and set out on a winding journey toward the Grand Canyon. All Shelby knows is that they’re running from dangers only her mother understands. And the further they travel, the more Shelby questions everything about her past—and her current reality. Forced to take advantage of the kindness of unsuspecting travelers, Shelby grapples with what’s real, what isn’t, and who she can trust . . . if anybody.

My (mini) take: There was a lot about There Will be Lies that I liked. Shelby was a fascinating main character. I could tell there was something unique about her from the start, and then I learned what it was, and was impressed by how her take on the world was reflected in the book's writing. The thriller elements of this were great. As I thought about Shelby's strange dynamic with her mother,  I guessed that main twist, but still enjoyed watching some other plot twists play out. Those parts of the story --the psychological and thriller aspects -- were well done.

But Shelby's narrative alternated with this dreamlike/hallucinatory Native American-inspired narrative about a coyote and to be honest, I wasn't crazy about that and didn't really understand how it related to the rest of the story. I felt it might have worked well in a more literary book but in a thriller, it kept throwing the pace off for me. That complaint aside (and those coyote parts did make up a significant part of the story) I have to give credit to this book for a) complex female characters b) great thriller elements and c) good writing.



Love, Lucy
by April Lindner
To be published by Poppy
on January 27, 2015

Source: Thanks to Poppy for providing an e-ARC for review

Synopsis from Goodreads: While backpacking through Florence, Italy, during the summer before she heads off to college, Lucy Sommersworth finds herself falling in love with the culture, the architecture, the food...and Jesse Palladino, a handsome street musician. After a whirlwind romance, Lucy returns home, determined to move on from her "vacation flirtation." But just because summer is over doesn't mean Lucy and Jesse are over, too.

My take: Can you like a book if you don't like the main character? For me, the answer is usually no. While I've enjoyed April Lindner's prior YA retellings, Lucy wasn't for me. Love, Lucy is also a retelling -- of A Room With a View, a book I've never read -- and I liked this book's Italian travelogue and appreciated the Roman Holiday movie references.  But I thought Lucy was entitled and manipulative -- toward Charlene, her supposed friend and travel companion, her two love interests (more on that in a second) and her parents. I thought Love, Lucy felt like a much less compelling version of Just One Day by Gayle Forman: Lucy ditches her friend to hang out with a new guy in Italy, has a whirlwind romance with him, returns to the US, mopes over the guy, meets guy #2 at college, then takes up with him. When guy #1 comes back into the picture, Lucy doesn't seem to want to give up either of them and seems surprised when one of them tells her that's not the way love works. Maybe two guys loved Lucy, but I did not.

I did just find A Room With a View sitting on my shelf, and I have a feeling I'll enjoy that more. But I do think that Lindner made interesting retelling choices in her first two books, so if you've read A Room With a View, you might enjoy Love, Lucy more than I did.

17 comments:

  1. Oh, the psychological and thrilling aspects of There Will Be Lies have me all interested and curious. Also, it's so nice to know there are strong female characters there- that is always admirable. Ah, if the pace is slow, then that does stand as a major turn-off and this dreamlike narrative has me a little confused. Anyway, it seems like an interesting and decent read.

    Oh no! It is so difficult to like a book when you don't like the main character, and honestly, it's sad to know that Love, Lucy is kind of like Just One Day. I haven't read either, but hey, Gayle Forman!!! Anyway, the lack of creativity is what is bothersome here. And the guy to guy thing is irritating.

    Absolutely great reviews, Jen!

    Sarika @ The Readdicts

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    1. Well, I'll be honest and admit I skimmed the dream narratives pretty much. The thriller part was really good!

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  2. Great mini reviews Jen! Definitely interested in There Will Be Lies! It sounds so intriguing and my kinda of read, so I'll be checking it out.

    Happy Reading!
    Patrick @ The Bookshelves

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  3. I loved Linder's 1st book but not the second. I do enjoy her writing style though. I can *almost* handle a love triangle if one of the guys calls her on it. I can't stand when everyone hangs around waiting passively.

    Karen @For What It's Worth

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    1. The second was the Wuthering Heights one, right? I think she always makes interesting retelling choices so I sort of wish I'd read A Room With a View.

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  4. I totally agree with you about the 2nd book review -- it was okay . Yes the first book was interesting . Great reviews

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  5. HMM I was excited about both of these and now I am not sure. The issues you have with both books make me think I will have the same thoughts. The hallucinations do seem kind of strange in this kind of book. In fact when I read it I was like...huh...
    Love Lucy sounded really cute to me. I am not familiar with A Room with a View but I thought it sound light and cute. Seems a bit to triangular to me. thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  6. Shelby sounds like a character that I could really like as well

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    1. She wasn't a character I'd seen before, and I liked that.

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  7. Love, Lucy doesn't sound like s book for me, but I am intrigued by There Will Be Lies. I have read other reviews and though the whole dream thing isn't favored, I haven't heard anything else wrong with it. Thanks for the reviews!

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  8. So, I have a question about this: "dreamlike/hallucinatory Native American-inspired narrative about a coyote." The first few reviews on Goodreads seem to suggest that the NA elements are not particularly handled... well... favorably... That the culture is kind of abused and poorly researched. I obviously haven't read the book, but I am interested in There Will Be Lies, and so I am wondering about what those reviews said. Agree/disagree?

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    1. I will be perfectly honest and say that after the first few dream things, I skipped/skimmed those parts. So I can't really comment except to say that I had no idea why these elements were incorporated. I didn't see any indication that Shelby was Native American. It did seem pretty out of place in the story.

      I don't know if you read this Goodreads review
      written by Debbie Reese, a blogger at American Indians in Children's Literature. She had a lot of issues with the Native American elements and knows much more about the issue than I do..

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    2. Thank you for pointing to my review. A lot of people dismiss concerns like those I raise because, they feel, the work is fiction and authors can do as they wish. That's true, but, when most of the fiction misrepresents a marginalized population, the industry and those of us who read/love books are effectively thumbing our nose at that marginalized population.

      I just read something that makes the point better than I can, about why we should care. http://www.kameronhurley.com/taking-responsibility-for-writing-problematic-stories/

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    3. Hi Debbie -- thanks for writing the review - and commenting!

      All I could say was that on a storytelling level, the Dreaming parts didn't really work for me, but I was very interested to read a review written by someone with more knowledge of the themes/stories/cultures that were incorporated.

      Thanks for the link -- I am off to read the article now!

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