Cover Image: One Great Lie

One Great Lie

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Member Reviews

Honestly? I requested this book because my one day in Venice was not enough.

This book was…fine. It wasn’t great. It wasn’t terrible. It was…fine. I think I became more engaged in the subplot than in the actual plot. 
Young writer Charlotte is a character with depth. She has insecurities. She has a boyfriend because that’s what you do in high school. She has a major case of hero worship for an author whose work resonates with her, and is ecstatic to be able to attend his writing camp in Venice.

And then she finds out that, while he may be a great writer, he’s a horrible human being. Other reviewers have mentioned that she should have caught on sooner and not doubted her instincts as much, but he used his fame and her admiration (and that of others) as part of his arsenal to manipulate the girls at the camp. 

The secondary plot is Charlotte investigating a book of poetry that has been handed down in her family. She is eager to prove that her ancestress was the writer, although everything indicates that the poems were written by a man. It is her pursuit of proof that really caught my interest, and the way that the author showed how early woman poets were treated was really interesting.

In the end, Charlotte does not get the resolution in the main plot that we hope for. But her search for Isabella is much more rewarding.

Possible Objectionable Material:
Teenage drinking. Sex, though not described. Sexual assault. An adult manipulates and takes advantage of younger women, and is borderline abusive of the young men. Swearing, including the f word.

Who Might Like This Book:
People who like coming of age. People like me who love Venice. The protagonist is female, but I think boys could also enjoy this book. 

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

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This book was OK. I thought some of the dialogue and intersection was petty, but I later realized this was a YA novel. I like the main character and her ambition and drive. If you are a fan of YA, this might be more for you.
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It took me a good long while to get through One Great Lie, not because it was a bad book, but because the writing failed to hook me in. Once  I put it down, I felt no great urge to pick it up again, and actually finished a few other books  before I got back to this one. 
Content wise I have split feelings about this book. The setting was beautiful. It really made me wish I could go on a trip to Italy right away. Judging by the cover, I expected a beachy, travel romance. It was NOT that. 
The story itself is a little predictable. Right in the very first chapter I noticed some foreshadowing that made me guess what direction the book was going to go into. I  picked up the book blindly, without knowing what it was about. I did enjoy the main characters development and growth, which I always think is a very important feature in a YA title. 
However, clearly I am not the target audience, and a younger, less experienced reader would probably get more out of it. It is a young adult novel after all, and I am certainly not that anymore. Someone in the 16-24 range (or thereabouts) will probably really enjoy One Great Lie, so don't let my 3 star review dissuade you!
There are themes of victim shaming, grooming and sexual assault in this book, so if that is something you are sensitive to, beware.
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Charlotte wants to be a writer.  When she finds an opportunity to go to Italy for the summer after high school to study under her idol, she jumps at the chance.  She also plans on uncovering some facts about a long dead relative who was supposedly an author too.  Once there, things are a bit strange and her idol may just in fact be a regular man.
My absolute favorite part of this book is that each chapter started with information about a suppressed female author.  It was just a small paragraph each time but Deb Caletti thought enough about female writers to bring attention to the sometimes stolen glory of these women.
The story itself is a slow burn.  I honestly thought it was a great coming of age story where the main character, Charlotte, learned that things are not always what they seem.  This is a definite win.  Well done!
Many thanks to Net Galley for providing me with an ARC of this book.
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Thank you NetGalley for an e-ARC of One Great Lie by Deb Caletti.
Deb Caletti weaves together a present day story of a girl trying to find her voice with the historical injustices done to women in centuries ago in Italy. One Great Lie is a contemporary mystery entwined with romance. Charlotte is a talented writer who lacks confidence. Through the search for information about a past relative, Charlotte learns to speak up and find strength in herself. Caletti's use of historical information about oppressed women writer's and artists adds meaning to the text. Although the mystery is rather predictable, some unexpected twists keep the reader involved until the end.
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Overall I thought this was a great book! I was surprised by the twists in the plot, and happy with the ending.
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I didn’t think I would like this book at first. Started off slow to me. I am glad I stick with it because it got very good! I would definitely recommend this book !
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This was a DNF for me. I had a lot of trouble with the main character's obsession with an older male writer, especially where there were some red flags about his conduct with younger women. Maybe it would have been ok, and she would have learned something, but the ick factor was too much for me to finish it. I did love how driven she was and that her parents were generally supportive of her writing aspirations. More adults should be reading books like this, where parents are supportive of their children's dreams...I also think teens need to read more books like this too...just maybe without the ick factor.
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One Great Lie, by Deb Caletti, was a more complex story than I anticipated, dealing with topics that may be uncomfortable for some.  I fully anticipated an easy YA romance and got so much more.  I enjoyed reading about Venice and learning more about a place I've dreamed of visiting. While I found the start of the book to be predictable, Deb Caletti did a good job pulling off a stronger ending. Books like this are making me realize that I may need to read more YA fiction!
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While this book started a bit slow for me, once it got going, I couldn't seem to put it down. The characters were interesting, flawed, and well developed. The descriptions of Venice and Italian history and culture were captivating and made me long to visit Italy even more than I already did. Recommended read.
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YA book, check!
Set in Venice, check - check!
I’ve always wanted to visit Italy and after reading One Great Lie, I want to go more than ever. The authors imagery whisks the reader to Venice.

Each chapter opens highlighting a female author from the 1500’s. I found these mentions to be powerful and many were so sad. The main story centers on Charlotte who is selected for a writing program with Luca, a famous author, on an island in the Venetian Lagoon. Charlotte is 18 and inexperienced…she is immature about her thoughts for Luca - until she really see’s the real man.  I don’t want to spoil anything but there are deeper story lines within the pages. There’s mystery, young love, adventure, self-discovery, and a dominating male.

I would like to thank @netgalley and @simonteen for the gifted copy. I apologize for the delay, I was gifted a pdf (but couldn’t get on my kindle) and struggle to read on a laptop - so I waited for the release and purchased the audiobook. While I enjoyed the audiobook, it would have helped me to see the spelling of names and places. 
Here's another I recommend!
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This was an interesting read. There were some twists and turns and a family mystery to be solved. I enjoyed the descriptions of Venice.
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There was so much to love about One Great Lie! First of all, who doesn't love a story where the main character can escape to Italy for an extended time? Not only is the setting alluring, but mystery of Isabella is intriguing as well. The research about the women writers and what happened to them in the 1500s keeps the reader invested in the same way that it keeps the characters invested. There's a little bit of romance, a little bit of Venice, and a storyline that illustrates the necessity of strong women to stand up and intervene so that history does not continue to repeat itself in a detrimental way.
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I was not expecting to love and hate this book so much.  I loved it for its adventure and colorful descriptions of Venice and the characters.  I hated it because the story mirrors the reality that many women of all ages face when they go looking for advancement and adventure.  These characters felt real and what happens to them is all to close to reality.  This is definitely a Book Club recommendation for all ages and genders.

Sometimes when something seems to good to be true, it really is.
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In One Great Lie budding writer Charlotte Hodges wins a scholarship to a summer writing program in Venice, run by her favorite author Luca Bruni.  She aspires to "write something that says something" and is sure she can succeed with his help.  She also wants to investigate her Venetian ancestor, Isabella di Angelo, a Renaissance writer whose book of poetry includes a poem which had been published by her lover, a world famous writer, as his own. When Charlotte arrives at Bruni's villa on La Calamita, a private island that once housed plague victims, she is at once charmed by Luca's brilliance, but disturbed by his over-familiarity with his female students. Even though Charlotte meets and falls in love with Dante, a young art conservation student, who helps her research Isabella, she can't shake her desire to impress Luca Bruni, but it comes with a price.  Reflecting on the sexual harassment Isabella and other young women experienced as they were put in convents, yet were abused by well-to-do men in power, Charlotte begins to think that things haven't changed that much for women.  Isabella and Charlotte's intertwined stories are filled with suspense as Charlotte struggles to vindicate her relative and stand up to the sexual harassment she herself experiences.  Each chapter begins with information about a female poet from the Italian Renaissance who despite her accomplishments, has been forgotten or is only remembered for her connection to a man.
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This book had some really topical issues brought up, just like Deb Caletti's other work. There were parts of this book that worked really well for me and parts that didn't work as well. The setting and writing were great. Caletti does a great job making you feel like you are in Italy experiencing along with the characters. I did not feel as connected to Isabella's story as much as I should have been. I get the parallels she was trying to draw about sexism and the history of the island but something just didn't connect in the end. 

YA fans that enjoy a more serious book or enjoyed "A Heart in the Body of the World" will enjoy this book but it didn't pack quite the emotional punch.
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This was not the romance set in Venice that I thought it would be, but I am still very happy that I read it. I loved the historical aspects of this book: walking through Venice, tracking down  Charlotte's family member's real history, and taking back their story. This book covered sexual assault, manipulation, and harassment more extensively than I had anticipated but did it so well. I'm glad I read this, even if it wasn't nearly as light as I thought it would be.
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There's something about a Deb Caletti book that is like a tender hug when you've been crying and at the same time a punch to the gut that forever knocks the wind out of you. ONE GREAT LIE is... a lot. It makes you feel things, things you hate, things you love, things you feel like you should understand but somehow don't, things you understand too well. There's a quote early on describing the writing of the idealized male author in this book and I think it perfectly describes everything I've ever read from Deb: her "work is beautiful, and meaningful, and powerful, and raging, and funny, and soul-crushing, and life-changing, full of blood and bone shards and heartbeats."
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This story was so powerful and moving. Charlotte had so many layers to herself and in the end was able to face her fears and let her bravery shine through. I love the way Charlotte and Isabella's stories alternate. They are both such powerful protagonists. I experienced many different emotions while reading this book, and I'm still not sure where to even begin. Don't think that just because this is a young adult novel that it doesn't possess the capacity to be powerful, moving, and full of many different layers.
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This was a complex and layered book. 

Each chapter starts with a bit of information about a famous poet from the 1500/1600s. I really enjoyed reading these tidbits and learned a lot. It definitely seems to be part of Caletti's style! 

For the storyline....
First, there's the story of Charlotte traveling to Venice for a writing program which is being led by the famous author Luca Bruni who she really admires. This storyline is very predictable as Charlotte ends up being a victim of sexual harassment/assault. However, this storyline takes an unexpected turn after Charlotte returns home; although I wish more the discussion about Charlotte's choice to speak up and mental health was included. Ultimately, I felt this storyline was both too predictable and underdeveloped. 

Meanwhile, Charlotte has taken a family heirloom, a book of poems, to Venice and is trying to learn more about this female relative. She meets a young male student studying history and culture who introduces her to historians who become interested in helping Charlotte. This storyline twists and turns around the other storyline, but it quickly became the most riveting part of the book! There are in-depth discussions about the power of male artists, separating art from the individual, female friendship/empowerment, and the power of books/writing. 

So, the first half was too predictable, and then the story was hard to put down. The last 100 pages were artfully written (much like readers would expect after AHIABITW) and left the reader full of emotions. I'm quite unsure of how to rate this book-- the last half was definitely 4-5 stars, but the first half was a solid 3; I'm settling on 4, but this still seems off. A 3.5 would probably be more accurate. I don't think this YA book will also connect with adult readers (like AHIABITW), but I definitely think high school students will read this book and appreciate the message.
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