“Most of all I’m mad at Swanee for dying and taking from me the most precious thing I ever owned. I didn’t own her, but she was mine. Mine, Liana. Do you hear me?”
Lies My Girlfriend Told Me is an intense read. It’s a f/f YA novel, which I naively assumed to be fluffy and fun, and I did get that to a certain extent – but I also got a book with complex family drama, morally ambiguous characters, and the struggles of growing up.
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?
There were moments I really loved Lies my Girlfriend Told Me and then there were other moments where I severely disliked it. Like I said – it’s a complex novel, especially for a YA.
Alix was an engrossing character: she had just lost what she thought was the love of her life, and then discovered that the same love was cheating on her. She struggled after the death of Swanee, and her relationship with her parents took a hit. She “rebelled” against them – “rebelled” in quotation marks because her version of rebelling was lying about where she was (all teens do this) and forgetting to call them – and seemed to strain under their regulated rules that she had always lived with.
I was absolutely fascinated by Alix’s growing relationship with Liana, primarily the way it began. Imagine knowingly starting up a relationship with the person your significant other was cheating on you with – what kind of thoughts would run through someone’s head to do that? What kind of a person would do that? I wanted answers to these questions, and for the most part I got them.
Despite the strange way their relationship started, I really adored Alix and Liana’s slow developing romance. There was a lot of cute banter, and enough fluffy scenes to make me swoon.
I absolutely despised Swanee, although the more we learned about her life, the more we understood how she came to be such a person – although that is not an excuse for her behaviour. She was an incredibly abusive young woman, not only to her girlfriends, but to everyone around her, including her younger sister.
Speaking of the younger sister – who’s name I have forgotten, oops – Alix frequently slut-shamed the young girl, who had just lost the person she was closest to in the entire world, and sought attention in all the wrong places. Not to mention, there was a scene where the sister began sleeping with a much older man while she was underage (14/15), and instead of being concerned for this young girl, or even helping her, Alix reinforced the slut-shaming behaviour. Ughhhhhhhhhhhh, no.
Lies my Girlfriend Told Me is definitely not the best f/f YA novel out there, but for the most part, I enjoyed the novel. There were a few instances where I was angry and annoyed at the characters, but I was able to put aside my feelings and enjoy a majority of the book.