The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett

Posted January 31, 2017 by in Angst

The Novel

Genre: , , , ,
 
Title:
 
Author:
 
 
Publisher: Sourebooks
 
Date Published: January 3rd, 2017
 
Synopsis: A teenage misfit named Hawthorn Creely inserts herself in the investigation of missing person Lizzie Lovett, who disappeared mysteriously while camping with her boyfriend. Hawthorn doesn't mean to interfere, but she has a pretty crazy theory about what happened to Lizzie. In order to prove it, she decides to immerse herself in Lizzie's life. That includes taking her job... and her boyfriend. It's a huge risk — but it's just what Hawthorn needs to find her own place in the world.
 

We liked:

intriguing, funny, unique voice, right blend of serious and absurd
 

We disliked:

Might be slow for some people
 
In the end

It’s not hard to relate to Hawthorn’s isolation, humor and obsession with Lizzie Lovett’s disappearance. The book is strange, unforgettable and unpredictable as it reminds you of exactly what it’s like to grow up.

Rating

Plot
B


Characters
A


Setting
B


Writing Style
A


Enjoyablity
B


Total Score
B+

11/ 14

Review

Alexandra’s Review

When perfect girl Lizzie Lovett goes missing, Hawthorn Creely becomes obsessed with solving the mystery. Hawthorn’s theory is a little bit unconventional, and to prove it she sinks herself into Lizzie’s life. She takes Lizzie’s old job, visits the last place she was seen and starts hanging out with Lizzie’s boyfriend Enzo.

You see, Hawthorn is convinced that Lizzie has become a werewolf.

 

Trust me, in the context of the novel it makes sense. I swear.

Hawthorn’s werewolf theory works on multiple levels. Hawthorn feels like life has cheated her. She wants adventure and magic and is being confronted with a reality where that doesn’t exist. If Lizzie is a werewolf, than magic could actually exist. Hawthorn’s ability to see the fantastic in the world around her is one of the reasons that Enzo is drawn to her. On the other hand Hathworn’s werewolf theory can be read as a coping mechanism. Instead of having to admit that real life horrors can exist, she can focus on unrealistic ones. She can hide, and the more you learn about Hawthorn you realize that hiding is her specialty.

The only way that Hawthorn will ever be able to move forward is if she lets herself move forward. On many occasions she recounts just how much she hates her small town and wants out, but she refuses to touch her college applications. She’s her own worst enemy and it’s her fear of change that keeps her isolated from the rest of the world. It’s this central conflict that makes Hawthorn work so well as a character. She’s flawed, and she lashes out at others, creating drama for reasons even unknowable to herself. Yet she’s easy to relate too.

She’s lonely and she feels abandoned by her only friend Emily.  Emily is excited for her future after high school and can no longer take Hawthorn’s negative outlook on life. Hawthorn feels disconnected from her family, especially from her brother Rush. She explains all of this to the reader in detail and has an authentic voice that draws you in to her life. Yet, the more time you spend with her you begin to question everything. Hawthorn is an unreliable narrator. Not only is she hiding from reality, but she’s hiding from herself.

Lizzie Lovett is ever present in the novel. You piece together who she is from dialogue and memories of the characters that Hawthorn interacts with. You feel like you know her, but at the same time she is completely unknowable. Hawthorn is obsessed with her, she both idolizes and hates Lizzie. With Lizzie, Sedoti harkens back to what John Green explored in Paper Towns. Just how much do we know about the people we look up too? To Hawthorn, Lizzie is larger than life. She is more than human. Lizzie is everything Hawthorn wants to be, but she can’t admit this to herself.

The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett is full of memorable side characters. I loved the Hippie commune that takes residence in Hawthorn’s backyard. Hawthorn isn’t welcoming at first, but slowly becomes close with the leader of the commune Sundog. Hawthorn bounces ideas off of him and looks to him for advice when she finally decides to come out of her self imposed isolation.

Lizzie’s boyfriend Enzo also plays an important part in Hawthorn’s development as a character. Where characters like Sundog and Hawthorn’s brother Rush are slowly helping Hawthorn come into herself, Enzo on the other hand can be read as holding her back. I can’t go into many details because of spoilers, but out of all the characters in the book I liked him the least. That being said, there are aspects of his character that I relate to.

The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett is unlike any other book that I’ve ever come across. It’s a coming of age novel that uses aspects of magical realism, but still manages to stay firmly rooted in reality. Lizzie Lovett has some of the best examples of character growth and character arcs that I have come across in a long time. The book deals with some heavy topics and still manages to be laugh out loud funny at times. It may not be for everyone, some might find the pacing a little slow or Hawthorn’s character a little overbearing. But I suggest you give it a try. The novel is a strong debut and I look forward to picking up Chelsea Sedoti’s future novels. Werewolves or otherwise.

Check out The hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett on goodreads

Chelsey’s Review

The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti is a bizarre little book. It feels like it should be magic realism but somehow manages to stay on this side of slice of life. And how often you find a book that focuses werewolves as much as this one does but never actually features one?

Hawthorn Creely is a girl with a wild imagination and she is also an outsider. She fights with her brother, relies solely on her best friend for company and is mostly isolated. She hates the town she lives in but is also scared of the changes that leaving high school will bring. When a girl Hawthorn both idolizes and hates disappears from her campsite one night and isn’t found, Hawthorne pretends she doesn’t care, but she gradually becomes obsessed with Lizzie Lovett.

Hawthorn eventually begins to sink herself into Lizzie’s old life. She gets a job at the diner that Lizzie used to work at, wanders the woods where Lizzie was last scene and starts hanging out with Lizzie’s boyfriend Enzo.

Everyone has a theory about how or why Lizzie disappeared. Some people think she got lost in the woods, ran away, was kidnapped, or was even murdered by Enzo. But as months go by and her body isn’t found the town begins to move on with their lives – everyone except Enzo and Hawthorn that is. Hawthorn’s own theory is that Lizzie became a werewolf, and searches the woods for her whenever she can.

Despite having her name in the title though, The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett is not about Lizzie – it’s about Hawthorn growing up and growing into who she is, learning to find the magic in the world, and getting used to change. It’s about how relationships change as we get older. It’s about loss and tragedy. And although it has a broad scope of themes that could easily be depressing, Hundred Lies is actually quite humorous.

Hawthorn is a character that you’re not going to forget any time soon. She is self-centered and imaginative, resulting in self-created drama of the most unique variety.  You can’t help but like her and appreciate the way she sees the world.

She quickly concludes that Lizzie disappeared because she turned into a werewolf, and believes it to a degree that would have most parents worrying. But Sedoti skillfully immerses you in Hawthorn’s mind in a way that has you half-agreeing with her, even though you’re fairly certain there are no werewolves lurking in the woods.

Hawthorn’s gentle delusions are entirely relatable. After all, how many of us try to add an element of mystery to our lives through escapist fantasies? Hawthorn just takes hers a step further.

The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett takes on a healthy balance of seriousness and bizarre hilarity in what could have easily been a heavy book about missing girls and depression. Instead, the darkness is broken with moments of levity, like when a convoy of Hawthorn’s mother’s hippy friends move into the backyard and Hawthorn ungenerously wishes that “all their weed turns into oregano.” The book is full of moments where she wishes bad things on characters, but they’re never too bad. More like mild inconveniences. And they’re wonderful.

Enzo, Lizzie’s boyfriend, is the second most important character in the novel. As far as Enzo knew, his relationship with Lizzie was good, and then she disappeared without a trace. He begins hanging out with Hawthorn even though she is several years younger than him because she sees the world so uniquely and because she is one of the few people left in town focused on Lizzie’s disappearance. Enzo and Hawthorn develop a relationship that helps and hurts them both; a relationship so mildly screwed up that it feels real.

As for writing style, Sedoti has an easy voice that gently highlights the themes and teases out the feels. Sedoti manages to combine a wide range of themes into the book including being yourself, being an outsider, finding magic in the world, loss, depression, changing relationships and looking to the future but she slips them in so naturally that it’s only when you finish the book that you realise how much it has covered and how gracefully it did it.

Stylistically and thematically you could compare The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett to something like Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer or John Green’s Looking for Alaska. It has strong rereadability value and is a hard book to describe without making it sound crazy. But trust me, it’s worth a read. You’ll find something you relate to on every page and you’ll remember the book long after you’ve put it down.

Werewolves and all.

Spoilers

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About the Author

DoftheA
DoftheA

DoftheA is both Alexandra and Chelsey, whenever they have time to transform into one mega-awesome Super Reviewer! Or not. Mostly DoftheA is the ghost in shell of the site.