Quick Pick | The Art of Losing by Lizzy Mason

The Art of Losing by Lizzy Mason: On one terrible night, 17-year-old Harley Langston’s life changes forever. At a party she discovers her younger sister, Audrey, hooking up with her boyfriend, Mike—and she abandons them both in a rage. When Mike drunkenly attempts to drive Audrey home, he crashes and Audrey ends up in a coma. Now Harley is left with guilt, grief, pain and the undeniable truth that her ex-boyfriend (who is relatively unscathed) has a drinking problem. So it’s a surprise that she finds herself reconnecting with Raf, a neighbor and childhood friend who’s recently out of rehab and still wrestling with his own demons. At first Harley doesn’t want to get too close to him. But as Audrey awakens and slowly recovers, Raf starts to show Harley a path forward that she never would have believed possible—one guided by honesty, forgiveness, and redemption.

 


AUTHOR: Lizzy Mason
CATEGORY/AUDIENCE: Young Adult
GENRE: Contemporary
RELEASE: February 19, 2019
PUBLISHER: Soho Teen
LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository


 

Major Themes

  • Addiction: Lizzy Mason tackles this theme in a thoughtful and nuanced way (see more under ‘Highlights’!) by showing how complex addiction is. I appreciate that she shows that addiction can happen to people of any age and that it doesn’t always look a certain way.
  • Guilt: Harley struggles with the guilt of having ditched Audrey at the party and believes that it’s her fault Audrey got in the car with Mike. She must reconcile this with her own anger and feelings of betrayal.
  • Forgiveness: As Audrey lays in a coma at the hospital, Harley tries to forgive her sister and figure out how to move forward, while forgiving herself for leaving Audrey with Mike. Lizzy Mason perfectly captures how difficult and painful forgiveness can be.
  • Trust: The Art of Losing is very much about rebuilding trust between sisters, within families, and intimate relationships. Harley asks a lot of questions about finding that trust, and there aren’t perfect answers.
  • Sisterhood: This book is FULL of complicated sister dynamics! Harley and Audrey have had moments of closeness, but also challenges in their relationship. They’re very different, and the accident has forever changed things between them.

Highlights

  • Fat positivity: Harley is fat and is happy with her body. She feels self-conscious in a relatable way and occasionally wonders if Audrey is the more desirable sister because she’s thin, but Harley never feels the need to lose weight or change her appearance.
  • A main character who loves comics: Harley is a hardcore comic lover and collects & obsesses over them. I loved this personal detail!
  • Romance: while not the main story, Harley does have a very sweet and slow romance with her childhood friend, Raf, who has recently returned from rehab. This relationship is complex and Harley must decide if she can trust Raf and if she’s willing to be in a relationship with someone in recovery.
  • Flashbacks: Throughout the novel, we get snippets of the past that reveal more about the relationship between Harley & Audrey as well as Harley’s relationship with Mike, eventually learning more about what led to the night of the accident.
  • Own-voices addiction, mental illness, & recovery rep: Lizzy Mason shares in her author’s note her experiences with depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and treatment as a teen.
  • Sensitive & thoughtful discussion on addiction & recovery in a de-stigmatizing approach. Harley understands that addiction is complicated and not a choice, but also learns that her feelings of anger and betrayal are still valid.

 

Perfect for readers who...

  • Want to learn more about addiction, treatment, and recovery
  • Love the friends-to-lovers romance trope
  • Like complicated, messy sister relationships
  • Want a proud, fat girl character
  • Love comics and want a main character who loves them too!
  • Enjoy emotional rollercoasters and books with lots of feelings!

And for fans of...

 

 

Thank you to Soho Teen for the free review copy!

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