Sunday, May 29, 2011

[Review] Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal

Title: Other Words for Love {goodreads}
Author: Lorraine Zago Rosenthal
Publication (dd/mm/yy): 01/11/11
Publisher: Delacourte Books for Young Readers
Source: Bought
Age: 15+
Pages: 360
My Rating:

When an unexpected inheritance enables Ari to transfer to an elite Manhattan prep school, she makes a wealthy new friend, Leigh. Leigh introduces Ari to the glamorous side of New York--and to her gorgeous cousin, Blake. Ari doesn't think she stands a chance, but amazingly, Blake asks her out. As their romance heats up, they find themselves involved in an intense, consuming relationship. Ari's family worries that she is losing touch with the important things in life, like family, hard work, and planning for the future.

When misfortune befalls Blake's family, he pulls away, and Ari's world drains of color. As she struggles to get over the breakup, Ari must finally ask herself: were their feelings true love . . . or something else?
My thoughts: 

It's hard to believe that this is Rosenthal's debut; Other Words for Love is such an inspired and empowering book that explores so much more than was advertised to me. What a bold and fresh outlook on first love that reads with a lot more realism than others in the YA genre! Fans of the contemporary genre will delight at this gem, as all of the base characteristics that make an excellent contemporary are in order here.
I didn't have much of a clue of what the story was about going in, because I tried not to read too many reviews or synopses. And thusly, I will not even attempt writing a description like I normally do in reviews. In a masterfully crafted concoction, Other Words for Love seems to baffle me to the point where I'm at a loss for words.

Ari was such a genuine character that not only could I connect and relate to her on so many levels, I was also able to understand her rationale behind her actions and sympathise with her at her low-points.

Other Words for Love is unlike all other contemporaries, in that love is portrayed as OTHER than what it normally entails in YA. It comes in so many different forms in this book, and I seriously just loved that love was not one-dimensional. The topics and issues were brought about in an intelligent and sophisticated manner, and wrapped up in a presentable and easy-to-read format that young-adults and beyond will be able to enjoy while contemplating the ramifications of what love does to people.

Because I'm lazy, this isn't a review copy, and exam season is starting, I'll just leave you with a list of more pros. Really, all you need to know is that there has been quite the hype revolving around this book, to which I say YES! to. Go on and read it for yourself!--

+ Beautiful cover and a suitable, simplistic title
+ Character development could not have been better--the people we meet at the beginning are not the same as the people we see at the end.
+ Relatability and historical standpoints. Even though this book is set 25 years~ in the past there is still a lot of relevance to teenagers and young adults today.
+ I'm not sure about other people, but I liked that there was an emphasis on safe sex and contraceptives and checkups, because so much of today's media kind of forgets that those things are important.
+ Ari is such a strong character, who undergoes enormous change and strife. Her narration is a strikingly honest one, and I loved her for it. She's just your average girl, insecure and uncertain of the future. Which is, once again, very relatable. Especially in that time period when experience and excitement was favoured (and still is). She's intelligent and makes mistakes but learns from them and understands the consequences. And it's easy to understand how mistakes can be made in the blink of an eye...
+ Solid writing. Ari's tone remains true throughout the book. It never felt strained; it was all just very believable.
+ The statue. What a strong literary symbol. I'll have to flick through again to pluck out specifics.
+ Touching up on that love in many forms: friendship and family are huge parts of this book too. Especially the strains that can occur when they mix together.


First Lines

"In 1985, just about everyone I knew was afraid of two things: a nuclear attack by the Russians and a gruesome death from the AIDS virus, which allegedly thrived on the mouthpieces of New York City public telephones."

I didn't note my favourite quotes--sorry!


Live in Australia?
Fishpond* | Readings | Dymocks | Angus & Robertson | Borders | The Nile

Live elsewhere?
Amazon | The Book Depository + PB (Jan 2012)


Author Blog

I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.

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