Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal
Published. Date: January 11, 2011
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
(368 pages, hardcover)
Summary: 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: I'll admit, I'm not the biggest fan of realistic YA romance novels. They usually end with me crying and the protagonists heart broken. That being said, I really loved Other Words for Love. It met my expectations completely, and yeah, I cried a lot throughout the last half of the novel. Rosenthal really knows how to portray the depth of a teenage girl's heart and the struggle to find 'true love.' The novel was completely honest and realistic and I felt every thing that Ari felt.
This novel took me a while to get into (a lot of my recent reads have had slow starts.. maybe I'm just impatient) but once I got into it, I couldn't stop reading. Ari was such a lifelike character and her emotions were so true to life that it's almost hard to believe she's not a real person. Even without fancy metaphors or beautifully written passages, Rosenthal makes the novel her own and gives Ari life that not many authors can give their characters. Without a doubt Ari Mitchell is unforgettable, and I don't think many authors can make such believable, sweet protagonist with the ease that Rosenthal writes with. The rest of the characters were extremely realistic too, and I loved the depth and growth they underwent during the novel. It felt like I was getting a glimpse into a real girl's life during the 80's.
The writing was fantastic because of its simplicity and honesty. The descriptions were more than adequate and well-written. It's hard to describe the characters since they grow and change so much, but they were all lifelike and I felt exactly how Ari felt for them. Even though I sometimes disagreed with her reaction to things, they were still exactly how I would imagine her reacting. Blake was a total sweetheart and he sent me on a roller coaster ride of emotions, along with almost every other character in the story.
The downfall of Other Words for Love was the story, for me. While it was realistic, I have to admit, I'm a total, eternal romantic. I know this probably makes me biased and also kind of cliched, but I couldn't bring myself to feel completely satisfied with the way things ended. Spoiler (highlight to see it): I kind of wanted more resolution for Ari. She ended up basically alone (save her family, who had to be with her) and it made me a little sad, albeit I know it was more realistic that way. In the end, I didn't love the story line, and how saddening parts of it were. Maybe the novel deserves 5 stars, but I can't bring myself to give it more than 4 because of the overbearing sadness of the novel. Other Words for Love was a beautiful, moving tale of a teen girl's love, friendships, and familial relationships that was completely honest and a must-read for teen readers, in my opinion. A stunning debut.
Covering the Cover: I love this cover. The picture of Brooklyn is gorgeous and the girl's mouth adds a romantic touch, along with the fancy font.
Overall Rating: 4 stars