Thursday, May 27, 2010
Love You Hate You Miss You - Elizabeth Scott
It's been seventy-five days. Amy's sick of her parents suddenly taking an interest in her. And she's really sick of people asking her about Julia. Julia's gone, and Amy doesn't want to talk about it. No one knew Julia like she did. No one gets what life is without her.
No one understands what it's like to know that it's all your fault.
Amy's shrink thinks she should keep a journal but instead, Amy starts writing letters to Julia. And as she writes letter after letter, she begins to realize that the past holds its own secrets--and that the present deserves a chance. from front flap
It's no secret that I am huge Elizabeth Scott fan. She is so diverse in what she writes. If you were to read Something, Maybe, you'd think she was a quirky, light-hearted rom-com kinda author. My librarian recently read Living Dead Girl and was astounded when I said her other work is often funny and sweet. Living Dead Girl so haunted my fave librarian that she is scared to let young teenagers read it :) Love You Hate You Miss You is edgier than some of her other work (nothing like Living Dead Girl though) and it's one of my favourite reads this year.
On first appearances, LYHYMY may seem like a cliche story-line: girl's vibrant best friend dies, girl is somehow responsible, girl seeing a psych and trying to move on with life. The thing Elizabeth Scott does best is take a ordinary situation and not only make it startlingly original, but also infuse it with real, living breathing characters.
LYHYMY is extremely readable. I was effortlessly turning the pages. It got me from page one where I instantly fell in love with Amy's voice. She's honest and refreshing and she worked her way into my heart.
Amy's parents are portrayed awesomely. Unlike many novels, her parents are together and happily in love. So in love in fact, that this in itself is a source of conflict for Amy - who makes three a crowd. I love how this impacts on Amy's decision in seeking out that belongingness with Julia.
And, although Julia was her bff, not all is as it seems - as the title suggests*. Friendships in teen years are complicated and the more you get into the book, the more you see the shades of grey in their relationship. As the book opens, Julia is already dead - yet Scott weaves in back story so brilliantly that you never feel like you are being taken out of the moment. For a dead character - Julia is contagiously vibrant and alive :)
Of course, Scott always has the most crush-worthy of love interests, and she out-did herself with Patrick. He is the quiet, mysterious type. A lot of love interests win over fans hearts by witty lines, looking hot, being romantic, etc, etc. Patrick is more of a typical teenage guy. He stares out the window. A lot. Sometimes he doesn't even talk. When he does, he's not trying to dazzle anyone. Despite Amy's first person POV, Scott really lets us peak into Patrick's soul and he is a fully fleshed out character, with his own set of problems, that you can't help but love. And, just like Scott doesn't write cliché characters, she also knows how to masterfully write those URST** moments. There's a few lines in there you can re-read to try and absorb how she does it.
So, you know, just a heads up that there's a bit of hotness in there :)
Here's a typical Patrick moment:
It was Patrick. He was leaning against the wall, only not so much leaning as looking like he wanted to press through and get outside, get away. For some reason, I thought about asking him if he was okay, and even took an almost-step towards him, but before I could he looked at me and the expression in his eyes sent me walking away as fast as I could. p.151
Elizabeth Scott is also the master of showing, and her understated style of writing only serves to heighten the moments. Sometimes less is more:
When he (Patrick) did, his hand touched mine, and I felt something, a strange, sudden jolt inside of me.
I used to act annoyed whenever Julia talked about Kevin and how she felt a spark every time he touched her, but the truth was, I knew exactly what she meant after that night.
He must've felt that jolt too because he said, "Oh," quietly, almost startled. p36.
It's a novel about friendship and grief and guilt and identity and love. It's an honest story about a girl - you see her bad choices and why she made them. And, it's by Elizabeth Scott, so, obviously, it's a must-read.
For more mature teens - touches on alcohol, drugs, sex and some occasional language.
*It's the coolest title, yeah?
** URST - confession here - I saw this acronym everywhere for a long time before finally figuring our what it meant :) Yeah, I'm out of the loop on the lingo. Un-Resolved Sexual Tension.