Title: Other Words For Love
Author: Lorraine Zago Rosenthal
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Pages: 354 hardcover
My Rating: 5/5 stars
When an unexpected inheritance enables Ari to transfer to an elite Manhattan prep school, she makes a wealthy new friend, Leigh. Leigh introduces Ari to the glamorous side of New York–and to her gorgeous cousin, Blake. Ari doesn’t think she stands a chance, but amazingly, Blake asks her out. As their romance heats up, they find themselves involved in an intense, consuming relationship. Ari’s family worries that she is losing touch with the important things in life, like family, hard work, and planning for the future.
When misfortune befalls Blake’s family, he pulls away, and Ari’s world drains of color. As she struggles to get over the breakup, Ari must finally ask herself: were their feelings true love . . . or something else?
This is such an amazing book! It is wonderful, beautiful, bitter-sweet, and unbelievably honest. I was worried this book wouldn’t live up to its hype, but it really had no problem at all. I could just ramble about this book is all day long so before I take up more space saying how much I loved this book, I will actually talk about WHY I loved it. First of all the story takes place in the mid to late 80’s. It follows the life of a young girl named Ariadne. Ari is basically just your average girl trying to get through all of life’s little struggles. There is the overbearing mother, the nearly absent father, crush on the brother-in-law, a sister with a list full of issues, and that is just the family issues. Ari is also trying to cope with adjusting to her new school as well as dealing with the jealousy she has over her outgoing, beautiful best friend, Summer. Things are going just so/so in life until Ari befriends Leigh at her new school. Leigh soon introduces Ari to her cousins Del and Blake. This will change Ari’s life forever. It doesn’t take too long for Ari and Blake to fall for each other. Before long, these two are involved in an intense relationship. Ari is in pure bliss and can’t believe that she has found her first love. However, troubles along the way cause the two to split and Ari must handle with the fact that she is no longer with Blake. This book was blissful at some points and completely heartbreaking at others but I wouldn’t have it any other way!
The overall storyline was not something super original; girl meets boy, girl falls in love with boy, girl and boy break up; but due to the honesty and strong voice from the main character it seemed like a breath of fresh air. Ari’s personality was so fresh, honest, and believable throughout the whole book. At some points I even felt like I was almost intruding too much on her personal life. Nearly everything that Ari goes through is an issue that teenage girls go through today. Problems with her family, siblings, friends, and boyfriend are things that I know for a fact that I go through today (well not the boyfriend part, but if I had one I am sure I would be going through similar issues).
I also loved the growth that we got to see with not only the main character but with EVERY character in the book. Lorraine did such a superb job paying attention to all the supporting characters. It is not every day that you see a book this well written. Ari’s growth is just sensational. We get to see her go from an awkward, shy girl to a girl in love. We then get to see her go from a girl in love to a girl in despair. And perhaps the most significant change, we get to see her go from a girl in despair to a girl full of confidence. Ari’s mother also goes through a change. For a majority of the book she spends so much energy trying to make sure Ari is doing exactly what is expected of her. At times I found it quite annoying that she was always insisting what Ari should be doing. However, I now realize that she just wanted what was best for her daughter and she really didn’t know how to deal with it. In the end she was able to go from a controlling, negative mother to a supporting, positive one. I absolutely loved it when Ari’s mother actually gave up the reins on Ari’s life and took control of her own to actually write AND finish her own book. As far as the other characters go, there was also a HUGE change in Summer, Ari’s best friend and Evelyn, Ari’s older sister. During the middle parts of the novel these two characters went through a rough patch and it cause a major toll on Ari. I was so happy to see that during the end of the story they were able to turn their lives around.
Other Words For Love is a MUST read for 2011. It is superb, wonderful, fantastically well written, basically just an all around great book. There were so many little details in this book that make it special to me. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did!