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LOVE & LIES by Ellen Wittlinger

LOVE & LIES

Marisol’s Story

By Ellen Wittlinger

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: July 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-4169-1623-9
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

It’s been nine years since the publication of Hard Love (1999), but only four months have passed for Marisol, who’s deferred her matriculation at Stanford to write a novel. She enrolls in adult-ed classes in writing and moves in with her best friend. It’s a fairy-tale life for this urbane lesbian, which only improves when Marisol meets her teacher: gorgeous, charismatic Olivia, who seems drawn to Marisol. As Marisol’s relationship with Olivia intensifies, her friends worry that something’s not right. Marisol’s love of home shines through in the lovingly detailed descriptions of her neighborhood, the novel’s prose mirroring Marisol’s classroom assignment to describe a sense of place: “[Shake] up the familiar scene,” Olivia says, plagiarizing Anaïs Nin. Despite Marisol’s talents, however, she never makes the leap from privileged self-assurance into awareness of the larger world. It’s only in the novel’s final pages that Marisol confronts the price of her close-mindedness. Even then, she doesn’t understand her mistakes, learning only that she doesn’t always win. A rich and solid representation of a girl on the cusp of maturity. (Fiction. YA)