Review: Lies my Girlfriend Told Me by Julie Anne Peters

Lies My Girlfriend Told MeLies my Girlfriend told me by Julie Anne Peters
Published By:
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: June 10th, 2014
Genres: 
Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQIA+

Format: Hardcover
Pages: 256
Rating: 3
Date Read: 
March 9th, 2017

Links: Goodreads | B&N | Book Depository | Amazon

When Alix’s charismatic girlfriend, Swanee, dies from sudden cardiac arrest, Alix is overcome with despair. As she searches Swanee’s room for mementos of their relationship, she finds Swanee’s cell phone, pinging with dozens of texts sent from a mysterious contact, L.T. The most recent text reads: “Please tell me what I did. Please, Swan. Te amo. I love you.”

Shocked and betrayed, Alix learns that Swanee has been leading a double life–secretly dating a girl named Liana the entire time she’s been with Alix. Alix texts Liana from Swanee’s phone, pretending to be Swanee in order to gather information before finally meeting face-to-face to break the news.

Brought together by Swanee’s lies, Alix and Liana become closer than they’d thought possible. But Alix is still hiding the truth from Liana. Alix knows what it feels like to be lied to–but will coming clean to Liana mean losing her, too?

Lies My Girlfriend Told Me is a YA LGBT book. The main reason I was looking forward to this book is because it’s an LGBT book. I had no idea what to expect from the book. The story focuses on Alix as she comes to terms with the sudden death of Swanee, her first love and first girlfriend. Despite the dark initial plot, this book is about two people healing together and learning to accept another’s death, along with her bad characteristics.

When Alix’s girlfriend Swanee passes away of cardiac arrest during a run, Alix’s entire world is shattered. Following the death of Swanee, Alix and Liana discover each other and the double life that Swanee has been living. When Alix sneaks into her girlfriend’s room, she discovers her cell phone full of voice-mails and text messages from L.T. It becomes obvious to Alix that this L.T. was more than just a friend.

Eventually she learns that the girl is Liana and it is up to her to tell this girl that Swan is dead. Both have been emotionally abused by Swanee and have a lot of pent up sadness and anger. As the only ones who understand what the other is going through, they find themselves drawn to each other.

Swanee, we find out through the story was manipulative to the point of cruelty, not only to Alix but to her sister and ex-girlfriends, we don’t seem to get much more in-depth than that. She seemed to just be one-dimensionally “bad”. Early on in the story, we do learn her home life is chaotic but I really felt her actions and motives should really have been explored and addressed.

Initially, it’s hard to connect with the characters as they are  alternately withdrawing and lashing out at the world in their grief. Alix especially because she doesn’t provide an adequate explanation for why she was so depressed and in denial about Swanee’s death. I liked Liana’s character and she brought out a new side of Alix. Liana is one of the few characters I actually like in the book.

There were times that the story worked and there were time I felt like this book was being as manipulative to readers as Swanee was to Alix and Liana. Part of it comes from a lack of really significant or interesting character development. I kept finding myself hoping for a bit more development or understanding of what made Swanee the way she was or why these girls found her so irresistible.

I really didn’t expect to like this book, despite its very interesting premise. This book definitely has some of the flaws that other Peters’ books features. I just have so many consistent issues with Peters’ writing. Her characters are poorly developed. Her prose is bland and doesn’t give her characters distinct voices. All of those things are true about this novel, to an extent. I won’t pretend this book is flawless. There’s a lot of missed potential regarding Joss’ character arc, and the subplot with Bethany felt forced and swept under the rug.

Although, what started out as a novel with an interesting hook turns out to be little more than a standard YA angst and wish fulfilment novel. It’s not as ground-breaking as some would want you to believe, but it’s not entirely worth dismissing.

I’m torn about this book. It’s a love story and I honestly don’t think it should have been, because it’s just stronger as a coming of age novel. This book has a lot of problems to it, even small ones, but the plot is solid, but fairly predictable. Also, I was expecting more mystery and I did not get the answers I was looking for but keeping that aside, Lies My Girlfriend Told Me was a really good read.

At the end of the day this book isn’t awful. This is my Third book by Julie Anne Peters and it certainly won’t be my last. Lies My Girlfriend Told Me dealt with a lot of heavy subjects. Family, death, and love were just a few of the topics explored in this. It was definitely a fast read.

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