Lies My Girlfriend Told Me
by Julie Anne Peters
Original Publication Date: June 10, 2014
Length: 256 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown
Obtained Via: Borrowed from Library
Format Read In: Library book
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When Alix’s charismatic girlfriend, Swanee, dies from sudden cardiac arrest, Alix is overcome with despair. As she searches Swanee’s room for mementos of their relationship, she finds Swanee’s cell phone, pinging with dozens of texts sent from a mysterious contact, L.T. The most recent text reads: “Please tell me what I did. Please, Swan. Te amo. I love you.”
Shocked and betrayed, Alix learns that Swanee has been leading a double life–secretly dating a girl named Liana the entire time she’s been with Alix. Alix texts Liana from Swanee’s phone, pretending to be Swanee in order to gather information before finally meeting face-to-face to break the news.
Brought together by Swanee’s lies, Alix and Liana become closer than they’d thought possible. But Alix is still hiding the truth from Liana. Alix knows what it feels like to be lied to–but will coming clean to Liana mean losing her, too?
Lies My Girlfriend Told Me is an aptly named book. Immediately, the novel starts with introducing the reader to Alix, and Alix finding out that her girlfriend, Swanee, is dead. In her grief, Alix goes to Swanee’s room to collect some things and makes a discovery that begins her on a journey of unraveling a web of Swanee’s lies.
The synopsis of this book puts much of the focus on Alix finding out the truth that Swanee hid from her, but that’s really only part of it. Alix begins meeting with Liana and realizes just how deep Swanee’s lies went. Lies My Girlfriend Told Me takes Alix on a very emotional journey. She’s still grieving Swanee’s death, but she’s angry at realizing how manipulative and deceitful Swanee has been, not to mention she realizes she has begun having feelings for Liana. . . even though they were both dating Swanee before uncovering her lies. In short, Alix is understandably an emotional mess.
It’s the emotional journey that’s really at the heart of Lies My Girlfriend Told Me, which surprised me. There’s a very clear comparison between Alix and Swanee’s relationship, which is revealed in flashbacks to be manipulative and unhealthy, and the developing relationship between Alix and Liana, which is much more healthy and mutual.
There’s not much to say about Lies My Girlfriend Told Me other than that because so much of it is Alix’s healing process. It’s complicated further by family situations. While Alix’s parents are supportive during her grief, they also have a young son and the dynamics of that were interesting to see on the page. I particularly found this fascinating because it’s rare to see a YA character have a sibling who is so much younger–Alix’s brother is still very much a baby–and that was a family dynamic in my house growing up(except I was the baby sibling). It’s not a huge part of the plot, but it is part of Alix’s emotional growth and it was a good addition.
The only part of Lies My Girlfriend Told Me that I would have liked further exploration of is a scene that happens hear the end. Through flashbacks, we learn that when Swanee and Alix started dating, Swanee completely became Alix’s whole world–and not in a healthy way, but in a “give-up-friends-and-hobbies-for-my-significant-other” kind of way. This, understandably, causes some personal rifts that Alix works to patch up towards the end of the book. Even though there’s a scene with a former friend, it did feel like a narrative thread was left hanging.
Overall, while not at all what I expected, Lies My Girlfriend Told Me was a pretty interesting read. I wasn’t expecting it to be so intensely focused on Alix’s emotions, thinking there would be more of the “mystery” of Swanee’s secrets, but in the end I found myself quite happy to be pleasantly surprised.
Lies My Girlfriend Told Me was not what I was expecting, but it turned out to be a really good read. It really explored contrasting romantic relationships in a way that felt organic and natural and dealt with issues without ever feeling overtly focused on one particular issue. 4/5 cupcakes.