Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal
★★★★☆ 4/5 Stars
Summary (from Goodreads): “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?”
I liked this book a lot! Although I found the very beginning a little slow, Lorraine does a fantastic job of writing and it flows really well. I had friends like Summer, always had a boyfriend and some of them seemed more like arm candy than real relationships. I went all of my High School years without a boyfriend, so Ari got me beat there! Ari does get so wrapped up in Blake that she forgets about her other friends. I have felt left out by some of my friends when they get that wrapped up in their boyfriends, but then I am the friend who picks them up, and Ari didn’t seem to have a friend who would do that for her. Not having that friend to pick her up made her struggle with the breakup even more, and forced her to become more dependent on herself when she finally decided it was time to move on.
Ari’s relationship with her mother reminds me a lot of my relationship with my mom. In the sense that it is good, but talking to her about certain things, I just can’t do. I also relate myself to Ari in the sense that I often keep things to myself even if other people tell me to talk about it and to not bottle it up. It was nice to see her open up to someone after months of refusing to.
Ari’s sister Evelyn I can also relate to one of my cousins. She had a child before she was married, and had a rough time for a while. She now has three kids and is working on her second marriage. She is doing a lot better than previous years, as is Evelyn in this story. I loved watching all of these relationships unfold into something better, even through their rough spots. (Clearly I relate character’s in books to people in my personal life a lot.)
I would definitely recommend this book to a lot of teens. Maybe they would see that your first love, while unforgettable, may not be the right one.