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Literally Hardcover – April 11, 2017
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“This festival of metafictive fun should particularly appeal to budding novelists.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Keating inserts a fictional version of herself into her entertaining second novel. Avid readers will enjoy the playful suggestion that although characters are inventions of their authors, they also take on lives of their own.” (Publishers Weekly)
“This whimsical novel is a light, satisfying read, full of humor and tidbits about the writing process and publishing world that any youth interested in writing will enjoy...For readers who want to be entertained while discovering that life can only be truly lived when you take control.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA))
“Short, sweet, and brazenly meta....cleverly and at times hilariously playing with YA romance tropes and its own self-awareness....A quirky little love story.” (ALA Booklist)
“In Keating’s fun and whimsical voice, the book questions how much of our life we really want plotted out, and how much we’d like our story to be purely ours.” (Brightly.com)
Praise for Dreamology: “This is a sweet, quirky romance with appealing characters and loving descriptions of Boston landmarks…Keating is particularly good at capturing the surreal nature of dreams. Give this one to fans of Jenny Han and YA romance.” (School Library Journal)
“A fun spin on contemporary romance.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA))
“Alice is a fun, sarcastic heroine, and readers will be more than happy to join her on her journey both in and out of dreams.” (ALA Booklist)
About the Author
Lucy Keating is a New Englander who fell in love with California and now splits her time between Venice Beach and San Francisco. When she’s not writing, Lucy is probably walking her dog, listening to music, or eating ice cream. One of these things is almost always true, and on a particularly great day, all are true. She is the author of Dreamology and Literally. Visit Lucy at www.lucykeating.com.
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Lucy Keating inserts herself as a somewhat antagonistic omnipresence throughout the story. Causing Annabelle to question if the things she wants are truly of her own making or something cooked up by Lucy for the story. Does she really like new guy Will? Who seems so utterly perfect for her and does, in fact, seem to pop up wherever she is at any given moment. Or are her sudden feelings for long-time friend Elliott real? Lately, whenever Elliott has been coming around instead of the knee-jerk eye-rolling reaction to the presence of her brother's best friend, Annabelle has been feeling something different.
Once Annabelle discovers that she's been written she sets out to make her life her own regardless of what the author wants.
So like I said, pretty cool premise, but does it pull it off? I guess the answer would be yes and no.
I cannot tell you how many of my favorite authors' blogs I follow or interviews I've read where they talk about their process, and a lot of times there's an answer going something like "I have to follow what the characters are telling me" or "suddenly that character doesn't fit into the box I've created for them". You know, giving their characters, their creations, almost this life of their own. I think Literally takes those thoughts and those processes and kind of turns them into a very good visual example. How sometimes, from the author's perspective, things you want to happen just doesn't fit or doesn't work out.
Now, from the actually story side of things, or Annabelle's side, there are some drawbacks. Besides showing the character that just won't listen, it also, in a light manner, talks about some stereotypical tropes of YA fiction. You can check the love triangle off the list when Annabelle starts having feelings for both Will and Elliott. The fact that Annabelle doesn't recognize her own beauty, but everyone else around her seems to: check. The sudden upheaval of Annabelle's seemingly perfect life, sending her even more into a spiral questioning her life: check.
Combining everything together like this, I felt like what ended up happening was that we got a very repetitive story. The characters weren't really allowed to break out of their designated box, or only break out to a certain extent. They became a little too one-dimensional which is another trope that is discussed in the story as well. I wanted to care more about Annabelle's plight but I just couldn't. There was really no room for other characters to grow because all the focus was on Annabelle trying to break out of what the author has written for her.
I'm kind of wondering if this was part of the overall point of the story though. In which case, yes it meets expectations. But I'd rather have a character and story that I grow to care about. Where I too want her to break out of the words written for her and see her branch out on her own, but I think that's where the premise made it difficult to actually do this.
Overall, I enjoyed the book with it's varying twists and turn. And there are truly some clever moments when Lucy Keating tries to assert her authority over the story. If you're looking for something a little different, I think Literally is perfect.
This is a story about a character, a girl, a pretty type A personality girl. It's the story about how her perfectly organized and put together life gets interrupted, turned upside down. Her family dynamics change, she meets a boy, she find out life isn't at all what she thought. She meets an author, an author that says " oh hey by the way I am writing your story, your life, you are not in control. This girl says oh no I am in control and this character fights back. Choosing her future, her feelings, and her choices.
This book was cute. I loved the idea. It was fun to explore. What if you found out your life was being written for you. Are you just a character or are you real. Can you fight back, make your own choices. How can you gain control of your own life. Cute concept. I liked it. I also liked that it wasn't just a concept.. Its also about taking control of your life and not allowing life to make choices for you. Circumstances are just that. Choose to make what you want with it. I loved this even more. And yet beyond that.... What if you can't take control in the way you want. How do you deal. How do you accept. This was more than a story about a girl that is a character. It was fun and quirky but also had some good life lessons written between the lines.
I loved the plot and I loved the pace. It was a real quick read.... but on the downside of the quick read... I felt that it fell in the pit of undeveloped characters. They did have some substance. I did feel like I understood the main character Annabelle but even though I understood her... I didn't feel her. She wasn't complex enough to actually hone in on her emotions. I would of loved to feel sad, angry, confused, in love. I just couldn't. I definitely read this one from a distance.
There were a couple of really good secondary characters that brought some feels into the story... but even at that it was only just below the surface instead of deep down. The love story was kind of cute. The family dynamics was good but simple. The best friend was good. She seemed to really be there for Annabelle but only sometimes did she make an appearance in the book. would have loved to seen more of her.
The characters were a great start to some pretty awesome characters. Some were snarky and some were sweet. Loyal and charming. Crazy and aggravating... but all just on the surface. I needed just a bit more and think if the book would have been more drawn out not such a quick read, the complexity could have been there and the book would have been awesome.
There is the story of friendship, romance, and family. It hit all the marks and touched on some tropes found in ya books today which I thought was fun. I laughed a bit at these. Love triangle. best friend sidekick, and such like these.
It was a fresh idea for me and I did enjoy it for a quick simple read but the lack of depth did keep me from loving it.
I liked but not loved. It had potential it didn't quite reach... but still was a fun read.
Most recent customer reviews
I loved Annabelle and her family.Read more
Dreamology was a book I thought was so much fun and had such an interesting concept last year.Read more
Annabelle is all about being in control. Each day is color-coded, and all decisions are made well in advance.Read more