Dare Truth or Promise

Dare Truth or Promise

4.2 73
by Paula Boock
     
 

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When Louie and Willa first meet, they don't know their lives will soon be changed forever. Self-assured Louie is gearing up for another successful year in high school, starring in a production of Twelfth Night and running the Comedy Club. Kicked out of her last school and still stinging from a past relationship, Willa wants only to get through her final year at

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Overview

When Louie and Willa first meet, they don't know their lives will soon be changed forever. Self-assured Louie is gearing up for another successful year in high school, starring in a production of Twelfth Night and running the Comedy Club. Kicked out of her last school and still stinging from a past relationship, Willa wants only to get through her final year at school quietly so she can graduate and become a chef. More than anything, she wants to be left alone. But each girl unexpectedly finds that plans mean nothing when it comes to love. Louie discovers that everything she was sure of-acceptance, faith, and identity-are not what they had seemed. And Willa finds herself suddenly willing to take another chance.

Editorial Reviews

Horn Book
(Young Adult)
In William Taylor's novel The Blue Lawn (reviewed 5/99), two gay teens survive a car crash and, giddy with relief, find themselves holding hands for the first time. In Dare Truth or Promise, another New Zealander author also recasts that old clich, of gay teen novels, changing a plot element of destruction into one of restoration: the car wreck near the end of Paula Boock's novel serves to jumpstart the healing of two girls' broken hearts. From the beginning, Willa and Louie's relationship is difficult-they have to sneak around and lie, and when Louie's mother catches them in bed together, the girls fight and split up. But their story has its moments of bliss, too, and-best of all-a happy ending. A limited omniscient point of view follows each girl in alternating chapters, so readers are equally acquainted with both characters and their situations. This is Louie's first love; she's amazed but not alarmed that she's fallen for a girl. Willa's been in love once before, but the relationship was a disaster. Willa's single-parent mom may not understand her daughter, but she loves and accepts her wholeheartedly; Louie, however, finds herself lying to her parents and wondering how to reconcile her religion and her love for Willa. As in Nancy Garden's Annie on My Mind, the descriptions of the girls' attraction and longings are authentically rendered. Lesbian readers will see themselves, and straight readers will see what gay teens already know-that the feelings of young love are the same for everyone. j.m.b.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
New Zealand author Boock traces the developing lesbian romance between two high school seniors in an ultimately uplifting novel. The two are from different social strata: Louie quotes Shakespeare and poetry and comes from a conservative, upper-middle-class background, while newcomer Willa, still suffering from the repercussions of an ill-fated first relationship with another girl, lives above a pub. Told in a third-person narrative that alternates between the two characters' points of view, the book offers a frank appraisal of the girls' initial attraction, passions and the conflicts of dealing with a variety of outsiders--parents, friends, co-workers, etc. When Louie's mother discovers the two girls in bed together in Louie's room, she forbids Louie to see Willa. After a rather prolonged period of suffering and soul-searching, they are able to reunite. Although Boock's intense narrative crosses into melodrama and occasionally plants an important scene offstage, teens who are curious about or struggling with questions of sexual identity will find reassurance in these pages. The characters' interactions with Louie's father and priest, and Willa's conversations with her own mother, convey an empathy and tolerance strong enough to counterbalance the intolerance the lovers face from everyone else. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Luisa "Louie" Angelo is rarely at a loss for words. Actress, extrovert, comedienne, she is well suited for the legal career she is planning. When she meets strong-minded Willa, her worldview and sense of self are forever altered with the realization that she is in love with her. Moving from disbelief to the awareness that the love she feels for Willa is "absolutely natural," Louie must cope with her mother's chilly suspicion, societal disapproval, and religious condemnation. When caught by her mother in a compromising situation with Willa, Louie is torn between the truth in her heart and the institutions that have guided her all her life. Willa, though secure with her identity, is recovering from a disastrous relationship with another girl whose fundamentalist family accused her of being a corrupting influence. Fearing a repeat with Louie, Willa is determined to suppress her own vulnerability. Tortured by the rift between them, Louie visits her family priest, who offers a liberal reading of the Bible, viewing all love as a gift from God. A car crash and hospital scare result in a satisfying denouement. While their problems are not instantly resolved, readers know that these teens have made a commitment to be open about their homosexuality. Both Louie and Willa are nicely articulated, and while the New Zealand locale and language differences may challenge some YAs, the emotions ring true and bridge the culture gap. Sexuality is sensitively yet realistically portrayed. Boock's courageous confrontation of the issues of homosexuality and religion, unique characters, and a talent for truth set this novel apart.-Jennifer A. Fakolt, Denver Public Library Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher

Willa and Louie could not be more different. Louie, who wants to be a lawyer, is an outstanding student and a prefect at her New Zealand high school. Willa lives in a pub and just wants to get through her exams so she can become a chef. But they are immediately and completely attracted to one another when they first meet as employees at a fast-food restaurant, and they soon fall in love. Louie's mother suspects the affair and orders her daughter to stop seeing Willa. Unwilling to defy her family, Louie seeks counsel from an understanding priest at her church and finally comes to accept her sexuality and her love for Willa. Boock's characters are lively and believable; even Louie's mother is multidimensional. Like M. E. Kerr's Deliver Us from Evie (1994), this is a heartening novel in which the lesbian lovers stay together despite family and societal objections.

September 15, 1999 Booklist, ALA

From the beginning, Willa and Louie's relationship is difficult-they have to sneak around and lie, and when Louie's mother catches them in bed together, the girls fight and split up. But their story has its moments of bliss, too, and-best of all-a happy ending. A limited omniscient point of view follows each girl in alternating chapters, so readers are equally acquainted with both characters and their situations. This is Louie's first love; she's amazed but not alarmed that she's fallen for a girl. Willa's been in love once before, but the relationship was a disaster. Willa's single-parent mom may not understand her daughter, but she loves and accepts her wholeheartedly; Louie, however, finds herself lying to her parents and wondering how to reconcile her religion and her love for Willa. As in Nancy Garden's Annie on My Mind, the descriptions of the girls' attraction and longings are authentically rendered. Lesbian readers will see themselves, and straight readers will see what gay teens already know-that the feelings of young love are the same for everyone.
Horn Book

The course of true love hits the rapids again in this steamy, brilliant, girl-meets-girl romance from New Zealander Boock. The first time Louie makes eye contact with Willa, back in the kitchen of Dunedin's Burger Giant, she feels as if she's been struck by lightning. So does Willa, but for her the feeling is familiar; she is still on the rebound from a first love affair that came to an abrupt and ugly end. Strong and weak in complementary ways, the two are plainly made for each other, and quickly become inseparable. Then Louie's mother catches them in bed, and furiously marches Louie off to Bali for three weeks. Louie returns a wreck, borderline anorexic, frozen into feverish immobility by her inner conflicts, while Willa, unwilling to hurt and be hurt again, deliberately distances herself. There is plenty of soul-searching here, and a river of tears, but no glib answers; Boock evokes the intensity of teenage love with tender, sometimes humorous precision. In the end, tolerance and wise counsel come from surprising directions in the supporting cast; fans of melodramatic climaxes will be fully satisfied as the author brings her heroines safely through to both personal and familial reconciliations. Challenging waters, skillfully navigated.
Kirkus Reviews

Dare Truth or Promise, a turbulent love story by New Zealander Paula Boock, recalls Nancy Garden's Annie on My Mind and Good Moon Rising in its portrayal of two young women caught up in sexual passion for each other. Louie is the talented daughter of wealthy and cultured parents, and Willa is a strong-minded redhead who lives over the pub. They come from different worlds, but when they meet working at Burger Giant, lightning strikes--soon they are frantically in love. Willa has had a previous affair that was undermined by denial, but this time it feels inevitable and right, even when Louie's mother banishes Willa after discovering them in an embrace; even when Willa is threatened by hostile anonymous notes; even when they avoid each other in confusion and pain. Thanks to the acceptance of her tough bartender mother, Willa gains the strength to wait it out, but a psychologist tells Louie that her feelings are a passing phase, a fundamentalist promises her sins will land her in hell, and her best friend is supportive but embarrassed. The healing words that finally enable Louie to believe in herself and return to the relationship come at last from a young priest: "You see, I think love comes from God. And so, to turn away from love, real love, it could be argued, is to turn away from God." Amazon.com

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780547347844
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
03/02/2009
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
176
Sales rank:
520,011
Lexile:
800L (what's this?)
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

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