January 2, 2009

Ellen Wittlinger: Love & Lies

Wittlinger's YA novel Love & Lies is a companion to her earlier story, Hard Love, following sideline character Marisol Guzman who stars in her very own story with this book. Taking place after Hard Love, I consider it a sequel just for the sake of chronological order. John Galardi ("Gio") makes an appearance in this story, though don't assume because of the title that it means something that couldn't be in his own story. Marisol is a lesbian. I wouldn't give that away except for the matter that it's necessary.

Earlier on during Hard Love Marisol had been a zine writer and high school student. Now she has graduated and is taking a year off before going to Stanford to accomplish two things: to write a novel and to fall in love. How hard could the first one of those be? Marisol is a very confident girl and moves out of her parent's, gets a job, and enrolls in an adult class called "How to Write Your First Novel."

It isn't long before Marisol realizes that her old friend Gio is also enrolled in the class, that she's absolutely crazy over their beautiful female instructor, and that the girl who's been hanging around her work and befriended her is very much attracted to her. In Love & Lies Marisol gains the creative juices needed to produce her novel and learns what happens when love is built on lies.

This is a two-hundred and forty-five page book that goes pretty fast. It was interesting to read about some of the writing exercises the class had for assignments. I liked that the author included bits of Marisol's writing in the book. The back page includes sixteen quotes about writing by well-known and successful writers. Here are two of the quotes I liked best:

"The suspense of a novel is not only in the reader, but in the novelist, who is intensely curious about what will happen to the hero."-- Mary McCarthy

"The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible."-- Vladimir Nabokov