The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti, out now, via Sourcebooks Fire
I’m honoured to be a part of the blog tour for Chelsea Sedoti’s new YA novel, The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett!
The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett is here to tell you that what you see of a person is not all there is to see, and that people can change, too. It’s a lesson, wrapped up in adventure, curiosity, and hormones. You know those tales of ‘don’t assume someone’s carefully crafted Instagram account means they’re living the perfect life’? This story comes along those lines (though has nothing to do with social media). It comes in the twisted story of the popular girl and the outcast.
Hawthorn has spent her life feeling like the outsider. She’s never really had friends, and the ones she does have, she ends up pushing away. She’s hostile, bitter, rude, and stubborn, and yet doesn’t totally understand why she’s lonely. When she finds out that Lizzie Lovett, the former prom queen of her high school, is missing, her first reaction is “who cares?” She rolls her eyes at how people are so upset and worried, but before she realizes it, she’s been completely sucked in. As someone who spent a lot of time growing up wishing to be popular, I get the fascination with the popular kids lives, especially if you’re in a suburb or small town. They shine and glow and you think you’re the only one who doesn’t like them, and how come nobody else sees it. So Hawthorn ends up becoming obsessed with thinking about how popular Lizzie was and trying to figure out how she went missing. So obsessed that somehow she ends up taking Lizzie’s job as a waitress at a diner and hanging out with Lizzie’s boyfriend, Enzo, who a lot of people suspect of harming Lizzie.
“I wanted to crawl into Lizzie’s head and know her thoughts and feelings and what made her tick. I wanted to slip into her life. I wanted to be the kind of person who made life seem easy.”
Eventually Hawthorn convinces herself that Lizzie is actually a werewolf, and gets Enzo to go on expeditions with her to find evidence in the woods, all the while not admitting to herself that she’s falling for this 25-year-old guy. The more she hangs around Enzo, the more she learns about the person Lizzie became, and it’s not what Hawthorn expected. Her head gets even more muddled.
Hawthorn is vulnerable, angry, and a bit naive. She’s not a romanticized character — you probably won’t like her much, but she’s got an interesting perspective to read, and it’s realistic in terms of how people perceive others. She’s also quite witty. One of my favourite things about this book was how if someone pissed her off, she would wish really odd ill-wills on them. Examples:
“I wished Mychelle and her stupid jock buddy would win the lottery and lose the ticket. I wished they would only ever be able to take cold showers. I wished every glass of lemonade they drank for the rest of their lives would be just a little too sour.”
“I end up spending most of the day wishing horrible things would happen to them. Like every time they try to stream a video, it’s laggy, or that all their important emails get sent to the junk folder.”
“I wanted him to accidentally slam his hand in a car door. I wanted his ice cream to fall off the cone and onto the pavement on a really hot day. I wanted him to read a really great mystery, only to find someone had ripped out the end pages where it was solved.”
The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett is an introspective read for the beginning of the year; it will make you think about how you perceive others, your high school self, and who you are now.
I got to ask author Chelsea Sedoti about just that!
The book largely deals with a girl who doesn’t seem to like herself, wishes she was someone else, and envies other’s lives. Stories like this tend to make me think back on how I acted in high school. What were you like in high school, and what would you say to high school you about it?
In high school I was very strange. (Honestly, not much has changed.)
Here’s a thing I did in high school: My friends and I would play “secret agents”. We had walkie talkies and assigned ourselves roles of either special agents or villains, and ran around school between classes playing an elaborate, tag-like game. Let me repeat, this was in high school.
Here’s another thing: I wanted to be a filmmaker, and took my video camera to school with me. Every day. I’d film my classes until my teachers yelled at me to stop. I’d have people act out skits during lunch. I’d film every random conversation my friends and I had.
This probably won’t come as a shock, but I was not popular in high school.
I was the weird kid who was in theater, who was always reading, who was always trying to play pretend to make life more interesting. I wasn’t as much of an outsider as Hawthorn, though. I had (similarly weird) friends. I went to dances and football games. Sure, I got made fun of sometimes by the “cool kids”. But I wasn’t a complete social outcast either.
Another big difference between me and Hawthorn is that I was fairly secure in my weirdness. I never obsessed with being popular and didn’t mind that there were people who didn’t like me. On the other hand, it was an awkward time, and there were a million other things I was insecure about. It was a weird balance of accepting who I was and simultaneously disliking a million things about myself.
I guess if I traveled back I’d tell high school Chelsea to carry on. Be weird. Play secret agents. It doesn’t matter what other people think. But maybe I’d also tell myself to spend a little more time doing my school work instead of spending class time with my nose in a book.
Thank you to Raincoast Books and Chelsea Sedoti for including me in your blog tour!