Title: THE HUNDRED LIES OF LIZZIE LOVETT
Author: Chelsea Sedoti
Lizzie Lovett is missing and Hawthorn Creely has a theory...
I'm always a fan of books that involve mysterious disappearances and teenager misfits so I thought that THE HUNDRED LIES OF LIZZIE LOVETT was going to be the book for me. It only took 20 pages for me to realize that was definitely not true.
I have never been opposed to unreliable narrators. Usually they add depth to a story but Hawthorn is not really an unreliable narrator as much as she is a privileged, spoiled brat who probably has a mental illness that her hippie mother and look-the-other-way day had ignored her entire life. The reason I think Hawthorn is mental ill is the fact that she clearly suffers from delusions. We're told of an instance where she thinks her teacher is a terrorist and when Lizzie goes missing, she genuinely believes this wild and utterly unbelievable story she's concocted in her head.
From the beginning of the story, Hawthorn wants us to believe that Lizzie was a mean girl in high school but when we get the backstory of why Hawthorn hates Lizzie, the reader starts to see how unreliable Hawthorn's POV is. She built this huge friendship in her head with Lizzie after they had one tiny conversation and was crushed when Lizzie didn't remember her weeks later.
The title of the book itself is misleading. There are no 'hundred lies' in Lizzie's life. I actually think it's pretty problematic to act like Lizzie's depression and the way she tried to hide it was a 'lie'. She was clearly a girl trying to survive high school and trying to make herself feel better. That's not a lie- that's life. Hawthorn saying that Lizzie was "always changing" after she found a middle school yearbook where Lizzie had died her hair black (presumably she was goth or emo) struck me as odd because yes, people do change as they age and grow.
I'm still unclear if Sedoti meant for Hawthorn to be as unlikable as she was. There were moments where Sedoti tried to write redeeming parts for the character but after all the awful things she did and said, the efforts fell very flat. I was horrified that Hawthorn thought it was ok to approach people who were clearly grieving over Lizzie's disappearance with her absolutely ridiculous theory about what had happened to Lizzie, even more horrified when her parents didn't swiftly punish her for such behavior.
THINGS THAT LOST THIS BOOK MAJOR POINTS:
- The sexual relationship between a 17 year old girl and a 25 year old man. YA authors really need to move away from this.
- The casual use of the slur 'g*psy' to describe a caravan of white hippies.
- Hawthorn calling another girl a slut. There were a million things she could have insulted Mychelle about but she instantly goes in to calling her slut and degrading her for being sexually active which was extremely funny to me since Hawthorn was sleeping with a grown man she barely knew. We need to be steering teenage girls away from calling each other sluts or whores instead of encouraging them to do it in books.
Would I recommend this book? Absolutely not. The plot was flimsy at best, the pacing dragged (the first 100 pages were absolute filler), and the only character that was even likable was the best friend who we were clearly not supposed to like that much.