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.