Book Review: The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti

by - 5:42:00 PM

Title: The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett
Author: Chelsea Sedoti
Pages: 398
Genre: YA Contemporary/Mystery
Release Date: 03 January 2017

From Goodreads: "A teenage misfit named Hawthorn Creely inserts herself in the investigation of missing person Lizzie Lovett, who disappeared mysteriously while camping with her boyfriend. Hawthorn doesn't mean to interfere, but she has a pretty crazy theory about what happened to Lizzie. In order to prove it, she decides to immerse herself in Lizzie's life. That includes taking her job... and her boyfriend. It's a huge risk — but it's just what Hawthorn needs to find her own place in the world."

Thank you to Sourcebooks and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for review!

I'm very torn on how to feel about this book. On one hand, I loved the writing and the unreliable narrator. On the other, I couldn't stand the main character and thought the whole thing was just meh. I hate that I'm unsure on how to feel, because this was a book that I was really looking forward to reading, and it's left me with a rather indifferent feeling overall. 

Lizzie Lovett has gone missing. One night she's camping with her boyfriend, and the next she's just gone. Hawthorn Creely has a theory, but it's a pretty crazy one. In order to try and prove her crazy theory, she decides to insert herself into Lizzie's life to try and get to know her better. She gets a job at the diner where Lizzie worked, and even starts hanging out with Lizzie's boyfriend, Lorenzo. But by trying to learn more about Lizzie and prove she's right, Hawthorn starts to understand that things aren't always what they seem, and neither are the people you think you know.

I think the concept of this book was fairly solid. Girl goes missing, no one knows why, misfit outsider decides to solve the mystery, ends up learning about herself and her place in the world. That's about as bare bones as I can break down the plot, and it sounds like it could be a good one. One thing that I feel I should mention is that Hawthorn doesn't literally insert herself into Lizzie's life. She doesn't start living at her house, or using her name, or crazy things like that. Hawthorn does get a job at the diner that Lizzie worked at, and she does end up spending an uncomfortable amount of time with Enzo, Lizzie's boyfriend. The way that the synopsis was written gave me the impression that Hawthorn would literally try to become Lizzie, but that's not how things ended up. Although, Hawthorn was uncomfortably obsessed with Lizzie, to the point that it kind of bugged me. She knows absolutely nothing about this girl, but basically makes it her mission to uncover the truth about what happened to her, and she becomes absolutely obsessed with her. At several points, Hawthorn is refusing to get out of bed, or eat, and her life basically stops all because this girl she doesn't know is missing. It was really hard to accept, because I knew that Hawthorn didn't personally know Lizzie, only knew of her, and I didn't really understand why she was so affected by her disappearance. I suppose it was because she lived in a small town and almost idolized Lizzie, who she thought nothing bad would ever happen to, and she was shocked that she was missing? I'm not sure, but the obsession (I know I've used that word a lot but it really is uncomfortably obsessive) just rubbed me the wrong way. Also, I just couldn't get behind her crazy theory about what really happened to Lizzie, whether she really thought it was true or not. I understood that she was out there, and eccentric, but the theory was way out there and I just couldn't really allow myself to believe it. I did, however, enjoy the almost coming-of-age story that was woven in to the disappearance of Lizzie Lovett. Hawthorn spends a lot of time obsessing over this girl that she doesn't even know but that she thinks she knows from merely observing her in school. She thinks that Lizzie had the perfect life, and that she's just an outsider who no one understands and who will never have as good of a life as Lizzie does. But slowly, she learns more about herself and starts to accept that her life isn't all that bad, and that she doesn't have to have everything figured out right this second. The ending of this book was probably what I enjoyed the most, because you get closure on the Lizzie situation, and you see Hawthorn moving on from it and trying to live her own life. No matter how crazy things got, Hawthorn was able to grow and learn from it, and find her spot in the world.

Let's start with our main character, Hawthorn. She's a completely unreliable narrator with a knack for saying the first thing that comes to her mind. She has absolutely no filter when it comes to other people and their feelings, and the things she says have a tendency to hurt feelings or offend, even when that's not her intention. I thought her Lizzie disappearance theory was absolutely insane, and the fact that she believed it was even more insane. There were times throughout the book that I found myself going, "Really, Hawthorn, really?" simply because I just couldn't believe some of the things that she was saying or doing. Her relationship with Lorenzo was incredibly awkward and uncomfortable, and her decision to try and peruse something with him was honestly unbelievable. I cringed when she would bring up Lizzie in almost every conversation that they had and it really felt that she was just using him to try and get closer to Lizzie in some messed up obsessive way. But despite all of that, I liked her. She was quirky, sarcastic and really just a girl who felt out of place. I know that's something that a lot of readers will be able to relate to, Unfortunately you don't really get to learn anything about Lizzie. A lot of the book is based on what Hawthorn thinks Lizzie is because all she knows about her is what she's seen from afar. I did like that there was an element of mystery to Lizzie, because you really don't know anything about her, and everything that Hawthorn thinks she knows is pretty much wrong. There was a quote from a character in the book that I think sums up Lizzie and really this entire book perfectly: "You only know part of the story people want you to see." Basically, Hawthorn only saw what Lizzie wanted her to see, and never got to know the real Lizzie. As the reader, you can make up all kinds of stories and go along with what Hawthorn says about her, but even then, you'll never know the truth. The other side characters, such as Enzo, Emily, and the band of hippies that shows up were pretty well written. Although I was not a fan of Enzo and Hawthorn's relationship, and Emily didn't seem like much of a best friend, I can appreciate the way that the author approached them and while I didn't like them, I did. Does that make sense? I do think that Hawthorn's brother, Rush, was fantastic. Their relationship as brother and sister did feel strained at times, mostly due to Hawthorn obsessing over Lizzie and Rush moving on from her disappearance, but when it really mattered, Rush was right there taking care of Hawthorn. Also, I really liked Connor so much more than I liked Enzo!

I cannot deny that this book had some beautiful and effortless writing. The dialogue between characters felt so natural, and Hawthorn's voice was so authentic for someone her age. Everything flowed so well and I really enjoyed how there was never a dull moment or a lull in the story, although Hawthorn was too loud and opinionated to really allow for a lull! I really did feel like I could relate to the feelings that Hawthorn had when it came to her feeling different and like an outsider. I feel like every teenager can relate to those feelings, whether they admit it out loud or keep it to themselves. While I may not have been the biggest fan about how the story went, I did enjoy how easy it was for me to fall into the story and read about half of the book in a short amount of time. The writing overall was definitely the high point of this book for me, and I'm definitely interested in reading Chelsea Sedoti's future books!

While my overall feelings about this book were kind of half and half, I do think The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett would be perfect for fans of YA mystery novels with unreliable, sassy narrators and incredibly elegant writing that is easy to get lost in.

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