Other Words For Love
Author: Lorraine Zago Rosenthal
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Read Time: 3 days
Rating (1-5): 3.5
Tag Words: 2011 Debut Author Challenge, Historical Fiction Challenge, 350+ Pages Challenge, 50 States Book Challenge (New York), ABC Book Challenge (O), first love, college, best friends, Private School, teenage pregnancy, family dysfunction
A Tale of first love set against the backdrop of New York in 1985. Reminiscent of Judy Bloom’s Forever, Other Words For Love will open a readers eyes to the struggle, joy and all the Other Words For Love that a teenage girl is given in first love.
Everyone is really raving about Other Words For Love and I understand why- this book is widely appealing, and I suppose the ‘Girl Next Door’ could really relate to Ariadne, but I didn’t choose this path in life, so I really can’t say I do.
I was lucky enough to be blessed with the wisdom to stop obsessing over boys while I was young- Other Words For Love does make me grateful for that decision.
The first 170 pages or so were a real bore; I kept hoping to know more about Evelyn, Leigh, or even Snobby Summer, anyone but Ari. I almost gave up, but I knew this was going to be a love story, and when I first “met” Blake I was swept off my feet- I had to continue.
Things spiral from there on out and I was really sorry for Ari, but I kept wishing I was reading one of the many other (cooler) characters stories who had much more relevant and deep life problems than breaking up with their first boyfriend.
In particular, Evelyn and Leigh were real heart breakers, their stories didn’t deserve a second-tier status IMO.
The book does come off as a direct cut, copy, paste of Judy Blume’s Forever plot-wise, so if you loved that book I highly recommend Lorraine Zago Rosenthal’s Other Words For Love.
Notes on the Names: The names are so amazing! Sister’s Ariadne and Evelyn. Brothers Keiran and Shane. Summer Simon, and Delsin, which means ‘He is so’ and is a Native American name I have considered using myself!
In the words of Leigh, who had the only boring name, “I can’t believe either of you [speaking to Ariadne and Delsin, “Ari” and “Del”] such distinctive names and for some strange reason you shorten them.” Leigh is a very wise, if poorly named girl.
Thoughts on the Cover: I was so into this cover...until. If you get it in front of you, and you happen to be a picky photographer, you will see that the “lips” portion of the cover is off. There should be a slight more bit of the model’s nose in the frame, but because of the lack of nostrils, the shot is unbalanced.
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Parental Book Review *spoilers*
This is a book centered around a girls walk into first love and the “sexual awakening” that comes with it.
Ariadne has sex with her boyfriend, but the scenes are not heavily detailed.
Blake also gives Ariadne oral sex, and Ari describes how she feels, but again the scene is not detailed.
Ari eavesdrops on her sister and brother-in-law making love when she sleeps over at her sisters house because she has an intense crush on Patrick.
Summer, Ariadne’s best friend, tells Ari that she and her boyfriend have been experimenting with different positions in their physical relationship.
Ari has drunken sex with her ex-boyfriend’s brother, Delsin, who has been described throughout the novel as a “player” by his girlfriend. He has a reputation for bringing women of ill reputation to his bedroom and when he brings Ari back in an inebriated state she wants to stop in the middle, but he has already finished before she can voice her concerns.
Delsin has syphilis and Ari is afraid he has passed it onto her and has gotten her pregnant because they didn’t use protection.
Ariadne goes to a women’s clinic for blood tests, but is neither infected, nor pregnant based off the tests.
Moderate, the F-word is one that Evelyn likes to use in particular.
Delsin accidentally hits Ariadne with a volleyball and she bleeds.
Ariadne completely falls apart after her breakup with Blake; she dresses trashy in an attempt to get him back, drinks heavily and throws herself at him. She later threatens suicide and her mother removes her migraine medication from Ari’s reach.
Ari later goes to a psychologist for help as her sister Evelyn has done before her.
Evelyn got pregnant at eighteen to get out of her parent’s house; Patrick marries her and they have their second child in the course of the book. There’s is a happy marriage.
Summer Simon, Ari’s best friend has to transfer schools because of the rumors that circulate about her promiscuity. Condoms are taped to Summer’s locker, and words are written about her on the bathroom stalls.
Leigh was driving her boyfriend’s car when he died and Leigh deals with her own grief over this issue. False rumors circulate that Leigh was drunk while she was driving.