“Alyssa is a 17-year-old girl who, like most girls her age, is trying to find her place in the world. She seems to be doing well. Getting good grades, having friends, pleasing her parents, it seems like Alyssa has the perfect life. Unfortunately she has a secret, and that secret is about to blow up in her face. She Loves You, She Loves You Not was a truly realistic and beautiful read for me. I'll do my best to explain to you what made it so amazing.
First of all, the characters in this book are utterly fantastic. From Alyssa's homophobic father, to her adorably understanding younger brother, each one of them has a unique personality that sets them apart. I thought it was interesting that the family Julie Anne Peters builds for Alyssa is so real. I've read many a book where characters are out and proud, with no problems. Although I'd love to believe that is true for most children, I know it's not. Alyssa's family is composed of a more realistic combination of parents. Her father simply cannot know she is a lesbian, because that is unacceptable, where her stepmother and brother are much more understanding. The secret relationship between Sarah and Alyssa made perfect sense to me, and even as it neared impending doom, I knew it had to be that way.
However, what struck me most about this book, and kept me reading on well into the evening until I finished it, was the kinship that I felt with Alyssa. It doesn't matter who you are, or what your sexual preferences may be, anyone who has loved and lost can understand what she is going through. For that matter, anyone who has ever been deeply wounded can relate as well. What is really refreshing though is that Alyssa doesn't dwell on the past. Instead, she uses those memories as a cleanser, to try to close that chapter of her life and start over again. Throughout the book Alyssa is coming to terms with the fact that her life isn't what she thought it once was, and she's going to need to build a new one for herself. It is that raw honesty, the broken girl within, that made me fall for She Loves You, She Loves You Not.
In terms of story line, this book is pretty equal to most other coming of age stories. As Alyssa navigates her new life, away from her family and friends, she struggles and learns. There is the new love interest who comes on the scene, that helps her break out of the shell she has built for herself. Then there is Carly, who is Alyssa's biggest hurdle yet. Not knowing your mother, and then being compared to her by people you barely know, isn't easy. She learns to forge a name for herself, learns to be strong, and most of all learns that it is completely okay to be herself. Although this type of story has been done before, I'll definitely say that Peters hit the nail on the head with the people who surround Alyssa. We all have hurdles to jump, why shouldn't she?
Despite the fact that this wasn't a book that had the "wow" factor for me, I did really enjoy reading it. As I mentioned above, the characters are beautifully written and I dare any reader coming in not to see some part of themselves in Alyssa. She's a multi-faceted character who the reader gets to watch grow into her own. It's a lovely experience, and I'm glad I was along for the ride. Overall I'd give this book a strong recommendation! If you are a lover of contemporary fiction, of coming of age stories, or even just appreciate a good solid story line, this is one for you.
“Another great GLBT story from Julie Anne Peters. I wish these books were around when I was in High school.”Yanick B wrote this review Thursday, July 14, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“YA novel about a young girl that has "come out" and has faced the wrath of her father. She's torn between the girl that betrayed her and falling into another relationship too quickly.”Suzanne D wrote this review Friday, June 24, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Recommended grades 8 and up.
Two lesbians have to fight for their right to live as a couple, until the parents find out and one finds out the other has been cheating on her...”
“The best JAP novel yet! Really enjoyed it.”Madison B wrote this review Saturday, June 18, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“If you like contemporaries, especially those that deal with issues such as sexuality and individuality, you'll probably like this one.
Alyssa has known for a few years now that she is a lesbian. She has desperately hid the truth from her extremely homophobic dad... but word gets out, and her father does not take it well. He disowns her and she is sent to live with her mother, Carly, who she has never really known. This is Alyssa's story; mending a broken heart, learning to move on, trying to accept and love, and finding herself in the mess of a life she's been given.
This was a great read if you are looking for a very real book. The characters were all very believable, and many of them were very enjoyable. My personal favorite was Arlo, the wheel chair -bound, smart mouthed, diner owner. I also really liked Finn, Alyssa's newly acquired friend and possible love interest. I really liked how each of the characters had very distinct personalities. I also liked how Alyssa's struggles with her sexuality as well as accepting a person she hardly knows as her mother, are real problems that real teens face.
What I didn't like so much was the set of up the book... It switches from present to past continually. When it is taking place in the present, I liked it and the writing seemed to flow. But I felt it got a bit choppy switching back and forth. Some blasts from the past would be in a different font and labeled with a month, and the narration would be "You said..." "You did...". I don't know if it was supposed to be a diary, or what, but it kind of confused me. I was like, "No, I did not do that. Alyssa did." That wouldn't be too bad if all memories were like that, but they weren't. Some were just thrown into the regular writing and I started to get confused. I wasn't sure why some memories were set apart, and others weren't. It didn't seem cohesive.
Like I said, the set up of the book through me off, but I did like the overall story. Other than the sometimes choppiness, there was a good flow of events. The plot and character development progressed well and it kept my interest. If the book description intrigues you, I'd say give it a shot.
“Eh. Although Alyssa's struggle to find understanding and her place in the world as a lesbian was interesting as the main storyline, most of the other things that happened were highly unbelievable. The weird drama of the fires and mudslides plus the secret death of Carly's other family were just a bit too much to take in.”Azuree wrote this review Saturday, May 14, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No