Pub. Date: January 3, 2017
Source: e-ARC via netgalley (Thank you, Sourcebooks!)
Summary: Hawthorn wasn’t trying to insert herself into a missing person’s investigation. Or maybe she was. But that’s only because Lizzie Lovett’s disappearance is the one fascinating mystery their sleepy town has ever had. Bad things don’t happen to popular girls like Lizzie Lovett, and Hawthorn is convinced she’ll turn up at any moment-which means the time for speculation is now.
So Hawthorn comes up with her own theory for Lizzie’s disappearance. A theory way too absurd to take seriously…at first. The more Hawthorn talks, the more she believes. And what better way to collect evidence than to immerse herself in Lizzie’s life? Like getting a job at the diner where Lizzie worked and hanging out with Lizzie’s boyfriend. After all, it’s not as if he killed her-or did he?
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Mystery
Everyone knew Lizzie Lovett. Girls wanted to be her, boys wanted to date her. She was Queen Bee in high school and knew it. She had the perfect life and could get anything she wanted with just a smile. So when she suddenly disappeared three years later, a tiny town was left in shock. A camping trip gone wrong, perhaps? Maybe Lizzie and her boyfriend encountered a bear deep in the woods? Or could her boyfriend possibly know more than he’s letting on?
Hawthorn, a girl who fiercely hated Lizzie and everything she stood for, decides to make it her personal mission to uncover the truth behind Lizzie’s disappearance. She’s determined to get to the bottom of the story – no matter what.
Oh dear. I was so excited for this one! I love a good mystery and the title made me think that there might be something scandalous in Lizzie’s past…but that wasn’t the case. I expected a tale of how Lizzie was on the run or did something years ago that kept her moving, changing schools and names. Nope. Turns out she just wasn’t the same girl she was in high school. Instead of cheerleading, she became devoted to nature and wildlife. That. Was. It.
Hawthorn’s obsession – and that’s exactly what it was, obsession – with solving the case confused me. She HATED Lizzie and had only ever had one conversation with the girl and that lasted only a handful of seconds! Now she’s taking Lizzie’s disappearance personally and has an aching need to find out what happened? I wasn’t buying it. That part in the summary about Hawthorn becoming immersed in Lizzie’s life? She tries to BECOME Lizzie. She gets a job at the cafe where Lizzie worked (because obviously they’re now down a waitress) and even strikes up a relationship with Lizzie’s boyfriend. Lizzie’s 25-year-old boyfriend. Hawthorn is 17. As if that wasn’t disturbing enough, let’s not forget that Enzo was the last person to see Lizzie alive. He was the one camping with her the night she vanished. He’s the prime suspect and Lizzie (and her parents) don’t seem to care one bit about that little fact. Instead, Hawthorn begins spending more and more time at his apartment (where Lizzie spent time), sitting on Enzo’s bed (where Lizzie had sat), she even sleeps with Enzo (again, she’s 17, he’s 25). Enzo clearly wasn’t any better if he’s completely okay with dating a minor, but there was a scene where Hawthorn asked him to go to her high school dance with her and he mentioned he’d be as old as the chaperones. He knows he’s way too old for her and doesn’t care. Ew.
Believe it or not, that wasn’t what first pulled me out of the story. No, it was Hawthorn’s theory as to what really happened to Lizzie. She’s convinced Lizzie became a werewolf. Yep. A werewolf. And she didn’t say it in a haha jokey kind of way. No, she’s dead serious and begins researching werewolves and searches the woods during full moons. And gross Enzo goes along with it! These two actually believe Lizzie became a werewolf. Obviously this idea would work if the story was a fantasy or paranormal novel, but it’s not.
There’s a weird side story where a group of traveling hippies show up and camp out in Hawthorn’s backyard. Her mother Sparrow once lived with them before she married Hawthorn’s dad and settled down and for some reason the group appears out of nowhere and sets up camp. Hawthorn becomes friendly with their leader Sundog and the whole thing was ridiculous.
When the mystery was finally revealed, it was a HUGE letdown: Lizzie was depressed and killed herself. Crazy Hawthorn, however, is still obsessed and spends time in the woods near the tree where Lizzie’s body was discovered hanging. What is wrong with this girl?! Hawthorn doesn’t believe Lizzie was depressed and right up to the final page she firmly believes in her absurd werewolf theory – the werewolf side was too much for Lizzie to handle and suicide was her only way out, etc. Ugh.
Another issue I had with this book was how a minor character was portrayed. The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett takes place right outside Pittsburgh. (Interestingly enough, it’s the second book I recently read that was set near me and the other book was horrible too.) Pittsburghese is a thing that really does exist (yinz is our y’all, for example) and I’m wondering where Sedoti got her information from. There’s a side character who’s a regular at the cafe where Hawthorn works. Think of the most stereotypical hillbilly impersonation imaginable…that’s how he was depicted. He also used Pittsburghese words wildly incorrectly. No thanks.
I have nothing good to say about The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett apart from it’s over. The title and summary were both extremely misleading and the story itself dealt very little with Lizzie’s disappearance and more with Hawthorn’s creepy obsession. A HIGHLY disturbing (and illegal??) relationship, an absurd supernatural element, and ridiculous plotpoints made this one a struggle to finish.