Lang Leav is the author of several bestselling books of prose and poetry – Love & Misadventures, Lullabies, Memories, and The Universe of Us. The literary world fell for her beautiful words – as did the hearts of millions of readers worldwide. Leav has announced the publication of her very first debut novel, Sad Girls, which will be released on May 30th online and in bookstores. (You can pre-order it now on Amazon).
Lang Leav’s poetry is insightful, beautiful, and distinct. I was extremely eager to find out how her detailed usage of language and sentimental style of prose would translate into a novel. I also wondered if her words – when written in a novel – would resonate with me the same way her poetry did. I wasn’t sure quite what to expect, but I knew I had to find out.
“Ana was the original sad girl. She held the unofficial title long before her death. We all
became sad girls after that.”
When high-school senior Ana commits suicide, her death leaves an impact on the entire community, particularly one group of her classmates – Audrey, Lucy and Candela. Because Audrey had spread a terrible rumor about Ana, Audrey feels guilty, and ultimately, responsible for Ana’s death.
Stricken with feelings of grief and severe panic, Audrey experiences anxiety-driven symptoms and behavior. Nobody knows her secret, and she knows she must never make it known – not to her family, not to her best friends, and not to her sweet but terribly boring boyfriend, Duck.
When Audrey begins spending time with Ana’s ex boyfriend, Rad, everyone in town has something to say. As their friendship grows, Audrey latches on to the strong connection and the ease it brings to her seemingly out-of-control life. While Ana’s death always lingers in the back of Audrey’s mind, her worries are easily forgotten when she’s with Rad. They spend hours simply engaging in conversation, and Audrey is inspired by him, his mysteriousness, his passion for writing, and his way of seeing the world.
Despite these feelings, Audrey cannot bear the thought of being responsible for hurting her boyfriend. After they have both graduated high school, she cuts ties with Rad and they agree to never speak to one another again. Audrey finishes school and begins working for a magazine, and soon crosses path with Rad, who has become a bestselling author. To Audrey, their encounter doesn’t feel coincidental – it feels like fate.
Sad Girls is a beautiful and heartbreaking coming-of-age story about experiencing love.
“Your first love isn’t the first person you give your heart to – it’s the person that breaks it,” Leav writes. Audrey’s love for Rad is strong, but she deals with many conflicting emotions, including her desire to explore and live life on her own.
Beneath the surface, the novel has a deeper message. Audrey soon realizes that she isn’t the only one hiding a dark secret, and that nothing is what it seems. Everyone has a different way of coping with life in light of Ana’s death – some characters in the novel struggling with drug and alcohol abuse.
Sad Girls was everything I had hoped it would be – and so much more. Lang’s writing shines in a way that is beautifully vivid and poetic without being overly descriptive. The plot is fast-paced and engaging. At the end of the novel, Leav presents one extremely shocking twist that left me speechless.
I found Audrey’s character likable, and her struggles very relatable. Each of the characters are anything but perfect, and that’s what made this novel so real to me. Dealing with topics such as anxiety, depression, and suicide, the novel is especially relevant in this day and age.
For years, I have enjoyed her poetry, and I am pleased that she has taken her writing one step further with the publication of her first novel. I cannot wait to see what she releases next!
Lang Leav is an international best-selling author and social media sensation. She is the winner of a Qantas Spirit of Youth Award and coveted Churchill Fellowship. Her books continue to top bestseller charts in bookstores worldwide and Lullabies, was the 2014 winner of the Goodreads Choice award for poetry.
Lang has been featured in various publications including The Sydney Morning Herald, The Straits Times, The Guardian and The New York Times. She currently resides in New Zealand with her partner and fellow author Michael Faudet.
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