Lying Out Loud

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Being almost 23, I guess I’m technically too old for high school novels. But there’s something about certain books that make you just want to read them. As an aspiring author, it’s important to keep up with the latest novels, so why not?

This is the third book I’ve read by Kody Keplinger, who wrote her first novel at the age of seventeen while still in high school; The Duff, which I reviewed a few months ago. Lying Out Loud is not technically a sequel to The Duff, but contains characters from it.

The story concerns Sonya “Sonny” Ardmore, the best friend of Amy Rush, who is the younger sister of Wesley, a character from The Duff. Sonny has become skilled at lying in order to hide her troubled home life from her friends and classmates. Both seniors in high school, Amy and Sonny constantly clash with new kid Ryder Cross, who has established himself as an arrogant and obnoxious person. But one night, Sonny starts talking to Ryder online, without realizing she’s signed into Amy’s account. She soon discovers the true Ryder and starts to like him, but struggles, knowing that he thinks he’s been talking to Amy instead of her.

This novel definitely does not have the most complex conflict, which makes sense, considering it’s targeted toward middle and high schoolers. But it does cover the important issues of honesty, family trouble and trust.

I’ve only ever been tricked once or twice online, thinking I was talking to somebody else. Fortunately, those times were harmless, as they were jokes from my friends. But the whole concept of thinking that you’re talking to somebody else online is a bit terrifying. Think about it. On Facebook, you assume everybody signed in is in fact that person that you’re talking to. It brings to light a realistic issue, something that can happen to not just high schoolers, but anybody really.

Overall, it was a quick, satisfying read. Not as much substance as the Duff, but realistic in its plot and conflicts.

Going Vintage

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Warning: Spoilers ahead because I felt like it was necessary to talk about what happens at the end of this book.

This novel, written by author Lindsey Leavitt, focuses on how different life is with the use of technology.

Mallory Bradshaw is a sixteen-year-old girl living in California. One day, she discovers that her boyfriend is cheating on her with a cybercrush on the Internet.  After realizing that technology is the reason for her breakup, she decides to stop using modern technology for awhile, instead opting for an old rotary phone and wearing vintage clothing. She also vows to complete a list of her grandmother’s from high school that she found, including finding a boyfriend, forming a pep club at school and going to her homecoming dance. She manages to succeed in creating a pep club while forming a friendship with her ex’s cousin, Oliver.

I initially thought that this book would play out the common cliches. Mallory would end up with Oliver or get back with her ex-boyfriend. However, this was not the case. Mallory realizes that she doesn’t need a significant other in her life right now  and decides that she is fine on her own for now.

I liked the message that you don’t necessarily need another person to define you, that focusing on yourself is important. This is something I wish I knew a few years ago, but that’s another story.

I also found Mallory’s experience without technology interesting. She talks about how she feels behind in the lives of her friends and family without the Internet and social media. It makes the point on how the world revolves around technology nowadays and how connected people are, both in positive and negative ways.

Overall, I found this a nice, quick read focusing on how much life has changed between now and fifty years ago.

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