Lies My Girlfriend Told Me
By Julie Anne Peters
Published 2014 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Alix is devastated when her girlfriend, Swanee, dies suddenly one day. Soon, though, Alix is discovering things about Swanee that she never knew - including another girlfriend. But what happens when Alix meets this other girl and feels sparks start to fly?
I won this book in LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program. I requested it because I'd heard Peters' name over the years - she's known to write books dealing with LGBTQ issues and she usually gets good reviews. So I figured I'd put my name in the hat for her newest title, and was lucky enough to win a copy.
Unfortunately, I feel pretty disappointed with what I discovered. I should have known from the beginning - the entire premise of the book was just too strange for me. I completely understand that people grieve in different ways and I always appreciate it when books show that in realistic ways. Though much of Alix's behavior made me uncomfortable, it wasn't difficult for me to understand where she was coming from. Stealing Swanee's phone, her overwhelming desire to meet Liana, her difficulty relating to Joss' grief - these are all pretty normal grief reactions.
Maybe my problem is just that I didn't believe the relationship between Alix and Swanee. The book starts after Swanee's death, so readers never really get a first-hand look at the relationship between the two. However, Alix does describe it frequently, and it never sounds like a good relationship. Swanee comes off manipulative and deceitful, selfish and uncaring. Really, she sounds like a terrible person. So, that makes it difficult for me to believe that either of these girls - who seem relatively normal and self-confident - would have put up with her shenanigans. I suppose it is a realistic portrayal of a teenage relationship - quite often, you find yourself changing in small ways, ways that might make you unrecognizable when looked at as a whole. With hindsight, you might realize how unhealthy and destructive those relationships were. It is so easy to get caught up in young love - any love, really - that you might forget yourself.
So perhaps I shouldn't fault this book too much. What it sets out to do I think it does pretty realistically (though I find the relationship between Alix and Liana to be terribly rushed). I just never found myself invested in the story and I very much looked forward to the time when I would be finished with it. Just not for me, I suppose, though I will try to check out one of Peters other titles in the future.
Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy.