Other Words For Love –Lorraine Zago Rosenthal

“In 1985, just about everyone was afraid of two things: a nuclear attack by the russians and a gruesome death from the AIDS virus, which allegedly thrived on the mouth pieces of New York City public telephones.
My best friend, Summer, however, didn’t worry about catching AIDS from a phone or anything else. She started kissing boys when we were twelve and wrote every one of their names in her diary, which had a purple velvet cover.”

Ari is the average one,she only has Summer around and she feels invisible in her Brooklyn high school, her hair is too flat, her style too preppy and her personality too quiet. Summer isn’t around too tell her any different at school though because she goes to the fancy Hollister prep school in manhattan, and outside school Ari just compares herself to Summer. However when an unexpected inheritance allows her to transfer to Hollister Ari makes a new friend in Leigh, wealthy and illusive there are plenty of rumours flying around the school about Leigh and Summer isn’t impressed when Ari starts hanging around with her. Ari is introduced to the very glamorous and wealthy side of Manhattan and also to Leigh’s gorgeous cousin Blake. Ari and Blake hit it off and soon find themselves very involved in each other, while Ari’s family is worrying she’s loosing touch with the important things in life Ari thinks the days with Blake are perfect, but how long will they last? 

***
With its gorgeous cover and interesting synopsis I knew that Other Words for Love was a must read for me when it came out last year. Unfortunately it took me a while to get hold of it and even longer to finally find the chance to read it but it was definitely worth the wait. 
Ari’s story is a typical first love story thrown into the rich and exciting world of 1980’s New York. I loved the pace and feel of the story because it all flows like the summers day that it starts on, things aren’t perfect but they are nice enough and have to hope of getting better. The story had the same feel as that of The Virgin Suicides movie and I loved it because it was so relaxed and slow paced that yu just slipped into it. The actual events within the book aren’t exactly so relaxed and later on things become a bit like a late autumn storm but I still loved the entire thing. The story is true and I could imagine a lot of it actually happening, Ari was so relatable and her average life was just like many readers’ probably have. It was hard to read in places when things go a little sour for Ari but that’s life and nothing stays perfect forever. 
The book has a lot of unlikable characters but they really make the story more exciting and less, well, average. Ari is a little bland to be honest and her voice is very descriptive but almost dreamlike too. I didn’t like Ari but I didn’t hate her. Summer on the other hand was very selfish and I really didn’t like her. She thought she owned Ari and I’m glad that she wasn’t at school the first week Ari started as there wouldn’t be a story if she was. I also hated Ari’s mother and sister at the beginning of the book. I understood their motives and their own stories that made them the way they were but I couldn’t stand them. Ari’s father is so distant but I loved the subtle hints in the book that suggested her was more present than you thought. Blake was sweet but too sweet and did not have a backbone, he really needed to get one and that really turned me off him a lot. I also hated his father and wished he would sod off to the stone he obviously lived under as he was a slime-ball. That man was awful. I honestly think that the only character I really loved was Leigh and she was messed up, totally messed up! 
There were many serious topics covered in this book and I think that’s one of the reasons why I loved it so much, It felt real, like I was witnessing the events and they were actually happening. I loved that and I loved the way that the serious topics were covered. What Ari and her sister and her and Blake go through is so important and also the smaller less serious things like what happens between Ari and Leigh and Ari and Summer were also important. Other Words for Love was such a brilliant coming of age story that saw Ari become the person she would be for many successful years and proved that even if you hit a few bumps on the way through life things might just turn out ok. I loved the writing and the story and would seriously suggest this one to anyone seeking a brilliant romance and life story.
Other Words for Love was published in Jan 2011by Delacorte Press books for Young Readers. My copy was gifted to me from Keris. 

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  • I haven’t heard of this book at all, but it sounds pretty good. Too bad that Ari’s not more of a standout character, but the writing style sounds great.

  • I’ve had my eye on this for forever! It’s a shame Ari’s not that great, but I’m glad you enjoyed it!