BriefINK Review: ‘Lies My Girlfriend Told Me’ by Julie Anne Peters

Ink and Page book coverBriefly: Alix’s girlfriend’s abrupt and unexpected death cripples Alix. Though they’d only been dating for six weeks, Alix knew this was going to be a long-term relationship. And then, in more ways that one, it suddenly wasn’t. When Alix is getting her things from Swanee’s room, she sees her girlfriend’s phone and impulsively takes it. There are voicemail messages that she can’t retrieve, but then someone starts texting Swanee…and those she can see. And they floor her. Apparently, Alix wasn’t the only person in her life.

As Alix unravels the mystery that is the “other woman,” it’s the lies and secrets that become unearthed. For, you see, Liana is a real person who was also betrayed by Swanee. Alix and Liana find that they can uncover the real story together. And as they do, they realize that perhaps an unintended result could be not only forgiveness…but love.

Didja Like It?: This book had an interesting concept, but was so earnest, angsty and about as deep as a puddle. Alix’s parents are portrayed rather woodenly in the beginning, written in such a way that it’s clear that they are not to be liked. I felt pulled by my nose through the story, being told what I was supposed to think about each and every situation. I was supposed to think Swanee hung the moon; her family was so awesome (much cooler than Alix’s); and Swanee was right about Alix’s parents – too many rules, boring, unreasonable. I saw through every bit of this set-up, though. There were to be no surprises in this book.

Alix is a humorless, transparent character who mostly daydreams about the physical aspects of those she’s attracted to. She takes her date to Hooters, for God’s sake. And they joke about all the boobs (and then she makes some off-hand statement about how she knows she shouldn’t be objectifying women, but when you’ve got it, flaunt it…right?). Blech. Liana sounds lovely, but she never became more to me than a two-dimensional character; a savior, what Alix really deserves. Again, saw this coming from her first introduction in the novel.

Anything Else to Mention?: The speed with which this romance between Alix and Liana developed was absolutely supersonic. And as Alix mostly waxed about Liana’s looks, it seemed very superficial. Liana is Mary Poppins, Practically Perfect in Every Way. They both get over Swanee quick as lightning (and Liana dated her for six months, not just six weeks). The scales fall from Alix’s eyes, and she, for the first time, sees Swanee as the manipulator she was; Swanee’s parents as not cool but weirdly permissive potheads; and Swanee’s mean sister as screwed up and still mean. Suddenly, Alix’s parents are on point and wonderful and buy her a car.

To Read or Not To Read: There was a lot of that thing I REALLY dislike – telling, not showing. The story happens mostly in Alix’s thoughts, so you don’t get to figure stuff out for yourself; things don’t unfold naturally. She narrates her life, so there is no discovery by the reader. Unfortunately, I just didn’t think it was very complex or interesting. It was a book that yearned to be recondite, but just wasn’t.

Lies My Girlfriend Told Me by Julie Anne Peters was published June 10, 2014 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Ink and Page picked this book up from the wonderful @PlanoLibrary.

Rating: 2

Genre: Young Adult Fiction Contemporary Romance
Ages: 13 and up
You Might Want to Know: Discussions of sex, drug use, underage drinking and smoking.

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