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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Raw, Hard-Hitting Issue Novel Impactful Without Being Preachy

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

When a therapist suggests that 16-year-old Amy Richards start a journal to help her deal with things, she scoffs at the idea. She's not really the "Dear Diary" type. When she starts writing her entries as letters to her best friend, though, she can't stop. Amy will never send the notes - heaven doesn't have a mailbox - but writing them helps her to remember Julia. They help her cope, help her grieve, help her move on. Sort of. The thing is, Amy knows she's responsible for Julia's death and that's something she won't get over. Ever.

Amy's trying to atone for her sin. She spent the summer in rehab, learning to face life without alcohol. She's keeping her therapy appointments, surviving school, and trying not to hate her parents. But life still hurts. Especially when, through purging her thoughts on paper, Amy comes to realize that her memories of Julia may not be as accurate as she thought they were. Their relationship may not have been as perfect as it seems. And Amy's assumptions about herself may not be correct either. Confronting the truth about her past makes things sharper, clearer, more painful. Will it set her free like the Bible promises? Or will her new-found knowledge destroy Amy once and for all?

Love You Hate You Miss You by Elizabeth Scott is one of those hard-hitting issue novels that's as evocative as it is disturbing. Amy tells it like it is in a raw, authentic voice that will speak loud and clear to teenagers. The book packs a powerful message, without sounding too preachy. I didn't love Love You Hate You Miss You, but I think it's an important story and one that will resonate with anyone who's had to live with the soul-crushing guilt and regret that come from letting someone down. And, really, isn't that all of us?

(Readalikes: Reminded me a little of Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher)

Grade: C

If this were a movie, it would be rated: R for language (1 F-bomb, plus other, milder invectives), sexual innuendo, and depictions of underrage drinking and illegal drug use

To the FTC, with love: I received a finished copy of Love You Hate You Miss You from the generous folks at HarperTeen. Thank you!

1 comment:

  1. I seem to get more into the really raw kind of novels. maybe I'll read this one and then decide if my 13yr old can handle it! thanks for the review!


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