My Beautiful Struggle + Review

Review: Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal

Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal Publisher: Delecorte Books for Young Readers (January 11th, 2011) Reading Level: Young Adult (14+) Hardback: 368 pages Source: Publisher Rating: 5 of 5 stars 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?
Review: Other Words for Love is a fabulous novel about a young girl finding herself and her passions. It takes place in the 80s, which was a new twist for me. I enjoyed the subtle differences placed in this book that made it different from books in the current day. Ari is more than a daughter, a sister, a student, a friend, a girlfriend; she loves with depth and her personality can touch some aspect of each reader. Everyone can find a quality they share with Ari.
This story begins with Ari starting a new school and it just happens to be the same place her best friend goes. That would be great but it seems Summer isn't the same and their friendship is more strained than usual. Leigh comes into the picture and Ari finally connects with someone new. Leigh introduces her to a more high class setting but things aren't always roses in Leigh's family. Del, Leigh's cousin, has his own issues stemming from a strained relationship with his father, and Blake strives to take up the slack left by his brother.
Blake wasn't always an easy character to love. He was frustrating and stubborn but I guess that was all part of his charm. His family situation, compared to Ari's, was drastically different. In a way, each of them showed two different sides of a coin, but in the end, their parents wanted some of the same things for them.
Ari feels the attraction immediately with Blake and soon their relationship grows. Although much of the story skips parts and focuses on day-to-day struggles, I was glued to the book. I felt each emotion Ari went through and I wished for her happiness. She didn't just have boy issues. Ari's family seemed to push her in several directions at once. She had a close bond with her mother, who didn't particularly want Ari giving up her goals to focus on a boy. The extra pressure was due to the fact that her sister had done a few things that disappointed them- all due to a guy.
So many questions came to me while reading this book. What would Ari do? What would happen with Blake? How would she get past the pain? And I will say that this book doesn't lay out an easy answer. As with real life, everything didn't resolve itself in a day and Ari fought to get to where she ended up. I loved that about this story! Time went on and, if anything, this book can show young girls how they can survive even after they get hurt. Ari was an inspirational character with so much courage.
Other Words for Love is a real-world story of love, hurt, and perseverance. Lorraine's writing was simply stated but each word carried a lasting effect. There was no fluff in this book. It's a raw, realistic portrayal of first love and heartbreak. Ari's story is not one I will soon forget.

*This book does contain sexual situations, as well as some language and drinking.

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Review: Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal + Review