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I’ve just finished reading Lorraine Zago Rosenthal‘s first novel Other Words for Love which actually debuted back in January, 2011.
This book has actually been on my shelf for a little awhile and it may not be some distinguished classic, it is rather enjoyable. Initially I purchased Other Words for Love purely because I liked the cover of the novel and I’m a bit of a sucker for romance. I don’t make a habit out of picking books by their appearance but in this instance I’m truly glad I did.
Being a young adult romance novel I hadn’t really expected too much – but I am happy to announce that I was honestly pleasantly surprised. I’m a bit of a cynic and a pessimist by nature so of course my expectations for most novels are fairly low. I should really attempt to correct my pessimistic personality flaw.
Other Words for Love is about Ariadne Mitchell, a teenager from Brooklyn. Of course Ari is one of the invisible girls, she dresses preppy and she’s very quiet so she tends to go unnoticed, especially around her best friend Summer Simon.
As you can see Other Words for Love initially appears to be your typical underdog style of romance. As the novel progresses her family comes into money and she is sent to an elite Manhattan prep school named Hollister. Whilst her best friend Summer attends the same prep school, she barely gets to see her and therefore forms a friendship with a wealthy redhead named Leigh.
Leigh introduces Ari to her cousin Del early on in the novel and we see that she believes to have feelings for him despite the scar of a cleft lip and a hooked nose. This changes however when she’s introduced to his brother Blake.
Ari’s young age makes her a little bit flighty but it’s different with Blake. The pair have your dream honeymoon phased romance, everything is perfect and then Blake’s world is shaken and he pushes Ari away.
Lorraine does a spectacular job at expressing the emotions of Ari when their break-up occurs. Whilst reading it, I felt as though I was being broken up with, it almost physically hurt to read what was happening because it’s so well written and extremely easy to relate to.
I know not all girls would respond to their first break up or in fact any break up the way that Ari does but I can definitely say that whilst I haven’t been to that extreme, I’ve been horrifyingly close.
Once you’re over the bump of their break up, Lorraine perfectly articulates Ari’s lack of interest in school, her art, her appearance and she even bombs out on the SAT test twice because her life is just so miserable without Blake and she can’t stand the way she feels. We witness betrayal by her friend Summer but we also witness Ari’s strengthening character.
The novel ends perfectly with Ari regaining her own life and whilst she might have her moments of unhappiness she has ultimately grown as a person. We witness forgiveness and acceptance.
A part of me expected a happy ending, and the ending is a happy one, however it is much different from what I expected. Lorraine ended her debut novel perfectly with the image of a strong independent young woman who knows that whilst her first love was a great love, it’s not the only love that has come or will come into her life and she will find someone one day. She also comes to the realization that love can surely be an astounding experience but it’s not the only thing to strive for in life.
This novel is perfect recreation of intense young love, how easy it is to get swept up in the feeling, love is a like a drug, everything is better and brighter with it. Other Words for Love is a great novel for young adults to read and I honestly think it gives a spectacular look on the way love can make someone so young feel.
I even believe I could pick it up and read it again, Lorraine did a great job and I can’t wait for her to release more novels.