Review: The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti
Hawthorn wasn’t trying to insert herself into a missing person’s investigation. Or maybe she was. But that’s only because Lizzie Lovett’s disappearance is the one fascinating mystery their sleepy town has ever had. Bad things don’t happen to popular girls like Lizzie Lovett, and Hawthorn is convinced she’ll turn up at any moment—which means the time for speculation is now. So Hawthorn comes up with her own theory for Lizzie’s disappearance. A theory way too absurd to take seriously…at first. The more Hawthorn talks, the more she believes. And what better way to collect evidence than to immerse herself in Lizzie’s life? Like getting a job at the diner where Lizzie worked and hanging out with Lizzie’s boyfriend. After all, it’s not as if he killed her—or did he?
Man, I don't know about this book. Most of the time I was reading it I was thinking Do I hate this? Do I love this? Am I bored? Am I at all interested?
I had a number of issues with The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett, specifically with Hawthorne. She's self-absorbed, sarcastic, a terrible friend, inconsiderate, annoying, and more than a little ridiculous.
She's also so very real. Without a doubt, Sedoti nails her voice. Hawthorne is an anxious, worried, lonely, troubled teenager. She's inquisitive and imaginative and awkward as hell. She's too smart and too stuck in her own head for her own good. I hated her as much as I loved her.
With that said, I wanted to throw down the book and quit for the majority of the first half. When Lizzie Lovett goes missing, Hawthorn becomes obsessed. She also becomes convinced in the most asinine theory for her disappearance. She begins telling people that Lizzie probably became a werewolf. Not only that, but she believes it. She tells the girl's grieving boyfriend this theory. She conducts research.
I love a lot about Hawthorne's voice and character. I just couldn't suspend my disbelief enough that this 17-year-old could honestly believe that this missing girl went and became a werewolf. That paired with the fact that the plot for the at least first half of the book revolves completely around this theory, whether she's doing the "research" (reading old werewolf stories) or encountering people dealing with her idea, made it a little plodding to me.
However, once I got to the halfway mark, the story began to pick up and become a bit more nuanced. You see more of Hawthorne struggling with interpersonal relationships, with the rites of passage associated with being a teen, and her voice and character really shines in the last half. It became a much more enjoyable read.
The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett is definitely a book with its own set of problems. There are attempts to address mental health issues at the end, but it feels kind of tacked on. Hawthorne has one major antagonist and the way she finally "wins" is by slut-shaming the other girl. Both of these made me feel squeamish.
In the end, this book is definitely Hawthorne's story. It's about her growing up and recognizing her own faults. Lizzie Lovett and her story is just the medium Hawthorne uses to get there. It isn't the most responsible story, but it feels real, and that is what readers will respond to.
Three 1/2 Stars
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on January 3, 2017