When I first began “Love-Shy” I thought it was another invention from the imagination of Lili Wilkinson. It’s not! It’s a real actual condition that people suffer from – you can google it for yourself if you don’t believe me.
But that doesn’t mean that Lili’s latest novel is any less imaginative. There are beautiful elements of the characters that clearly come from a vivid imagination – a boy who builds tiny terrariums, a girl who loves manga, two dads on a mission to find the worlds ugliest jigsaw and the central character, who’s convinced that she doesn’t need anyone’s help to achieve her dreams.
Although I didn’t enjoy this quite as much as “A Pocketful of Eyes”, which I really loved, it was a fun read and a good way to begin the weekend. This is a romance, but for those disdainful of the genre, it is a good one with characters that break away from the stock standard mould. There are a lot of little treats – interesting things that make the characters more than the stock standard offerings of romances that give the genre a bad name.
“Love Shy” looks at the complications of falling in love – for the first time, the second time or starting all over again. The secondary characters (family members etc) offer a good backdrop with a variety of families and show them as real people – as real and as vulnerable as the young adults finding their way for the first time.
Lili wrote the initial draft of “Love Shy” as a part of NaNoWriMo and although I’ve no doubt that a huge deal of work went into getting turning it from manuscript to book this stands as an impressive example of what can be done if only you have a draft to work with.
The is a book that is fun above all else, by a writer working in a genre that she clearly feels at home in. There is a real ease in the writing of this book which makes it a pleasure to read.