Title: Love Lie Repeat
Author: Catherine Greer
Published: March 5th 2019
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Young Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Three girls, loyal to each other? That never happens. All the groups of three implode eventually. Two in, one out. Change. Betrayal. Again and again.
But not us. I make sure of it. I make Ash and Ruby see that our power is in our three-ness. We can do what no other trio can.
Together, we’re strong.
Thick, thin, boys, mothers, divorce, other girls, secrets, lies, all of it.
I’ll keep us safe. Whatever it takes.
Intoxicating and intense, lush and chilling, LOVE LIE REPEAT is the unmissable debut novel from Catherine Greer.
I’ve recently discovered an appreciation for the work of Margaret Atwood, so when Love Lie Repeat landed on my review desk, I was heavily intrigued by a book that has been inspired by the poetry of this modern literary icon. Catherine Greer imagines the voice of “Siren Song”, an Atwood poem from 1974 in her new novel. Greer works to tell the story behind the poem, with particular focus on the narrator, within the context of modern day Sydney and the north shore social set. A world of immense wealth, class and distinction, Greer’s main focal subject, Annie, reminds us that beneath the facade of perfection, lies guilt, anxiety, secrets, insecurities and loneliness.
Meet the Sirens, three teenage girls who have grown up together in the affluent suburbs of Sydney’s north shore. The trio are beautiful, talented, smart and successful. However, their loyalty to one another is tested when a change strikes at the core of their friendship. The girls must negotiate first love, heartbreak, betrayal, loneliness, rejection, replacement, separation and much more. It is a power struggle and the girls find they must dig deep to ensure they stay strong and connected in their testing experiences.
The perfect melting flower symbol that adorns the cover of Love Lie Repeat by Catherine Greer, provides the audience with an indication of what is to come once they settle into the pages of this modern young adult fiction novel. This image goes a long way, explaining that the perfect rosy life we think others that are in a class above us have is far from the truth. We all have fear, anxieties, secrets and pain, no matter your class or creed.
I admit that I have a difficult relationship with young adult books. As a reader closer in age to the parent figures of this tale, I knew I was going to find it difficult to connect with the main narrator of this tale, sixteen year old Annie. I did experience a little of the age and generation gap issue, however, I was able to see beyond this and appreciate the implicit messages Love Lie and Repeat was able to express to the reader. This novel provides an insightful commentary on modern society, culture and class. It also provides us with a glimpse into the social world of our present day teens, as well as their parents. I was able to connect with the problems and fears experienced by the mother figures in this story, despite being from a totally different background to these women. I think Greer does a fine job of encapsulating the preoccupations of these young women and their mothers. I came away feeling much more sympathetic about their situation than I would have expected! It just goes to show that many of these people are just like us, hiding behind a mask of pain and multitude of other problems.
Love Lie Repeat takes a set of characters that many will struggle to understand in the beginning. They may appear unlikable, selfish and self centred, but gradually, Greer unfurls their back stories. The progression of character was what I enjoyed about this story. I also appreciated being planted directly into the minds of a seemingly privileged teenager, friends and parents. I think Greer does a very good job of situating her reader in the shroud of her complicated protagonists.
Greer’s writing is sharp and edgy. I found myself literally sprinting through this book. This was a refreshing change, as the previous couple of books I read were much slower pace wise. Greer’s writing is a less is more approach. It is bold and innovative. The plotting was intense and fulfilling. I think this book will be easily appreciated by an audience from the mid to late teen years upwards.
In our modern pursuit for perfection and acceptance, Love Lie Repeat is a novel that very much situates the reader in this present day conundrum. It looks carefully and almost scathingly at feelings of power, guilt, risk, fear, rejection, sadness and pain. A novel that reminds us of the fragile nature of our inner selves, Love Lie Repeat is a great alternative addition to the young adult fiction market.
Love Lie Repeat by Catherine Greer is published on March 5th 2019 by Penguin Books Australia, details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of Love Lie Repeat, Catherine Greer, visit here.
*I wish to thank Penguin Books Australia for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.
Love Lie Repeat is book #26 of the 2019 Australian Women Writers Challenge