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Other Words For Love by Lorraine Zago…

Other Words For Love

by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal

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Ariadne (Ari) Mitchell attends public high school in Brooklyn. She is artistic and dreams of one day attending Parsons School of Design and of falling in love. Ari’s best friend Summer is beautiful and flashy and attends the exclusive Hollister Prep on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. When Ari’s family receives an inheritance, they decide to send her to Hollister Prep. Ari’s preppy style and artistic sensibility is more of a match at Hollister. She quickly makes a new friend Leigh who introduces her to her wealthy family and takes her to nightclubs and museums. Leigh also introduces Ari to her gorgeous cousin Blake, and Ari can’t believe he is interested in her. They begin a relationship and Ari is so infatuated she forgets about her studies, friends, family and plans for the future. When there are some bumps in the road with Blake, Ari struggles to find her footing and find herself again.

This is a wonderful coming of age book by debut author Lorraine Zago Rosenthal. The setting is New York in the mid 1980′s at the time of AIDS blood tests, Live Aid, Madonna and Duran Duran. Ari is easy to relate to with her over-bearing mother, and pretty and popular best friend. Ari suffers from stress migraines and is a nice and hard-working girl. She wonders if she has what it takes to be an artist and if she will ever find love.

Ari’s relationships with her family and friends are vividly described. Ari’s mother wants the best for Ari. Her eldest daughter Evelyn married young after a teen pregnancy. She is very protective of Ari and holds her to high standards and does not want her to lose sight of her goals. Ari’s friend Summer is the popular and boy-crazy girl who we are not sure has Ari’s best interests at heart. Ari’s sister Evelyn suffers from depression and is threatened by Ari. Leigh is the friend that seems the most perfect for Ari. They both are quiet and kind and love art. Blake seems like the too-perfect boyfriend who is kind, polite and considerate.

The friend relationships ring very true. Ari has always had one best friend Summer, but is now managing the complexity of having another good friend Leigh. Adding Blake to the equation adds more drama to Ari’s life than she has ever experienced.

The writing in this book is beautiful and descriptive. I felt like I was there in New York in the 1980s. The story is something anyone can relate to about first love and following your dreams. This story is uniquely told and a fast read. Recommended for fans of contemporary young adult novels, and older teens. I am looking forward to reading more from this author. ( )
  readingdate | Jan 7, 2014 |
I was first drawn to Lorraine Zago Rosenthal's debut by the title and cover. It was immediately obvious that it was a contemporary YA title, which I'm always on the lookout for, and including "love" in the title always catches my eye. Little did I know that OTHER WORDS FOR LOVE would end up being so much more to me than a well told, entertaining story.

OTHER WORDS FOR LOVE tackles a variety of pertinent issues, including depression, discrimination based on socioeconomic status and cultural differences, teen sex and pregnancy, and general teenage angst. The novel's 1985 setting offers a twist while reminding readers that these issues, in many ways, defy time.

Perhaps my favorite aspect of Rosenthal's debut was her treatment of Ari's first crush, first love and first real relationship. This novel poses the question: "[Was it] true love... or something else?" In many cases, especially in YA literature, true love is always the answer, but Rosenthal strays from this well-beaten path and battles through the unforgiving undergrowth of that little used second path. Love is not simple or easy or perfect, but it can make us radiantly happy for a time and teach us valuable lessons - Ari's story reinforces this.

I read this novel at a time when I was feeling jaded about relationships and love, so maybe this mindset influenced me somewhat and fostered a closer connection with Ari... Regardless, Ari's romantic adventures left me hopeful. I love a happy ending with passionate kissing and whatnot, but the ending of OTHER WORDS FOR LOVE was different. It was still happy, but it wasn't happy because of a boy or a relationship... it was happy because Ari knew who she was, what she wanted, and that she was perfectly capable of being single. Go, Ari!

OTHER WORDS FOR LOVE is a gorgeous novel and I'll definitely be reading more from Rosenthal. Don't miss this fantastic debut! ( )
  thehidingspot | Mar 31, 2012 |
Ahhh... first love. NOT PRETTY!!I didn't really enjoy this book mainly because of Ari. Ari is the weakest person ever! Her parents warn her about everything and guess what? Everything she was warned about happens!Also, most of the book was Ari determining whether or not to have sex with Blake while the other fourth was crushing on her thirty year old brother in law.I hated that Blake had sex with Ari's best friend yet she forgave him in 30 seconds (not overexaggerating) and started making out with him immediately. Desperation!!She was thinking about suicide after the breakup. Honestly, I don't think first love is THAT strong. I found Ari pretty pathetic honestly...In case it wasn't obvious, this isn't exactly PG or PG-13 that much... ( )
  fourheadjen | Mar 12, 2012 |
Full review on Reader's Dialogue: http://readersdialogue.blogspot.com/2011/12/other-words-for-love.html

Though the story of Other Words for Love is set in the '80s, this story could have been happening right now. The emotions are so real, the relationships and complications so true-to-life. Ari is the perfect character for this story to happen to - just enough naivete, just enough repressed anger, just enough dreams and fantasies.

I love how there are so many layers to the story and how Lorraine knits them all together to create a perfectly woven, multi-layered story. Each thread is followed through and creates problems just when another thread seems to be finally coming together.

And the ending is great, too. It's not a "happy-ever-after," but it's true to real life. We're left with hope for Ari, hope that she learned something from this whole thing, hope that somewhere out there is the perfect situation for her - and I especially like that her hope does not hinge on her finding a guy! ( )
  EstherShaindel | Dec 21, 2011 |
Ari? This is a must read :D
  ar1anna | Aug 10, 2011 |
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In 1985, just about everyone I knew was afraid of two things: a nuclear attack by the Russians and a gruesome death from the AIDS virus, which allegedly thrived on the mouthpieces of New York City public telephones.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 038573901X, Hardcover)

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?

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:32:40 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

In 1989 Brooklyn, New York, sixteen-year-old artist Ari learns about first love.

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