Literally by Lucy Keating
Published April 11th, 2017, by HarperTeen.
YA > Contemporary, Magical Realism, Romance
From the author of Dreamology comes a young adult love story that blurs the line between reality and fiction…
Annabelle’s life has always been Perfect with a capital P. Then bestselling young adult author Lucy Keating announces that she’s writing a new novel—and Annabelle is the heroine.
It turns out that Annabelle is a character that Lucy Keating created. And Lucy has a plan for her.
But Annabelle doesn’t want to live a life where everything she does is already plotted out. Will she find a way to write her own story—or will Lucy Keating have the last word?
The real Lucy Keating’s delightful contemporary romance is the perfect follow-up for readers who loved her debut novel, which School Library Journal called “a sweet, quirky romance with appealing characters.”
Literally has been on my radar since before it even came out, yet like so many others, it got swept aside by my busy life… until I stumbled upon it at Housing Works a few days ago. There it sat, in perfect condition. I couldn’t not whip out my wallet and dish out the $3 to get this in my hands. Needless to say, I walked straight from the store to Washington Square Park, plopped down on a blanket in the shade, and didn’t put this book down until I had finished reading it.
A very meta bookish story, this is a love letter to readers and writers. But what I found so interesting and different about this book, is not just its self-awareness, but also its ability to be both a contemporary romance and some variation on magical realism.
After I finished it I started to question everything about the story — not something I was expecting from a fairly short seemingly straightforward book. But Annabelle’s struggle to be her own person throughout the book creates a jaunting idea… Lucy Keating wrote herself into the story, so what does that mean for her feelings toward herself? She wrote herself to be the antagonist, but does this speak to her feelings about her own life?
Those questions are probably getting too personal to actually have answered, but I was pleasantly surprised at how much this book blew my mind. Literally remains the cute, somewhat expected contemporary, but throws you for a loop with its smart commentary and acknowledgment on YA tropes, fandom, romance, and writing.
I must say though, the writing and characters aren’t anything too special. It’s all pretty generic. Easy and fun reading, this fact presented what could’ve been an extremely complex and difficult concept in a digestible way. So, not totally a bad thing. It let the overriding story and idea shine.
Still, I think it’s a must-read for book lovers and writers alike. Literally remains on my mind, and is one of the more interesting YA books I’ve had the pleasure to read lately!