Book Review: Someone to Love

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Author: Melissa De La Cruz
ISBN: 978 1 489 24225 9
RRP: $19.99
Publication Date: 18 December 2017
Publisher: HQ Young Adult – Harlequin books
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

“Someone to Love” is a contemporary young adult story that will resonate not only with many young women, but with older women as well. It is not likely to appeal to many males however – and perhaps that’s unfortunate. Males should understand how their actions and words feel to the girls they’re aimed at.

Olivia “Liv” Blakely is seventeen, and not unfamiliar with being in the spotlight – her father is a Congressman, and that means people know who she is too. But now her father wants to run for Governor of California, and put Liv even more in the spotlight than she’s ever been before. To make it worse, she’s started dating an actor, and his fame means people are interested in her too.

Liv hates it. So many people telling her what to do, how to act, and how to look. She’s always tried to do the right thing, but now it’s just too overwhelming. So many people asking her to do things that aren’t what she wants to do; so many people looking at her, criticising, laughing, and trying to control her. The inner whisper that’s always been self critical has become a bellow, and her dieting spirals into bulimia.

Pretty much every reader is likely to empathise with Liv. Many people will have experienced her sense of aggravation as a teenager, feeling that their parents are too controlling and don’t let them make any decisions. It’s a time most people remember vividly, and a common experience. Similarly, most people will remember caring deeply about what the object of their affection thought of their appearance and behaviour.

And although it’s a more modern concern, her worries about what people say about her on social media is an increasing issue for all young women, not just those under a particular spotlight.

I found this a sensitive depiction of a young woman dealing with some very common dilemmas, expressing insecurities and worries that are very relatable, and manifesting those fears and worries in a way that is not uncommon. Eating disorders can be hard to understand for those who don’t suffer from them, but this shows how easily a normal worry can spiral out of control, and the extent to which many people can feed that worry without realising what they’re doing.

Liv is a very recognisable young woman – despite the extra glitz of a famous father and boyfriend, she’s not actually very far from any other teenager. Readers will empathise with her, while still being frustrated with some of her behaviours and thoughts. Although a significant focus of the novel is on the eating disorder which takes over her life, the message about accepting yourself and being true to yourself is a pretty universal one.

This was a well written, absorbing novel that took me back to some of the most uncomfortable aspects of being a teenager. Ultimately it’s a positive novel, and I think readers will feel good about Liv’s journey and the direction she’s heading in as the novel ends. Most young women will enjoy it, and older women also (although probably on a slightly different level).

This guest review was submitted by Lorraine Cormack, one of our long-time Beauty and Lace Club members. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us Lorraine.

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