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One Great Lie

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A compelling and atmospheric YA story of romance, mystery, and power about a young woman discovering her strength in lush, sultry Venice—from the Printz Honor–winning author of A Heart in a Body in the World. When Charlotte wins a scholarship to a writing workshop in Venice with the charismatic and brilliant Luca Bruni, it’s a dream come true. Writing is her passion, she lo A compelling and atmospheric YA story of romance, mystery, and power about a young woman discovering her strength in lush, sultry Venice—from the Printz Honor–winning author of A Heart in a Body in the World. When Charlotte wins a scholarship to a writing workshop in Venice with the charismatic and brilliant Luca Bruni, it’s a dream come true. Writing is her passion, she loves Bruni’s books, and going to that romantic and magical sinking city gives her the chance to solve a long-time family mystery about a Venetian poet deep in their lineage, Isabella Di Angelo, who just might be the real author of a very famous poem. Bruni’s villa on the eerie island of La Calamita is extravagant—lush beyond belief, and the other students are both inspiring and intimidating. Venice itself is beautiful, charming, and seductive, but so is Luca Bruni. As his behavior becomes increasingly unnerving, and as Charlotte begins to unearth the long-lost work of Isabella with the help of sweet, smart Italian Dante, other things begin to rise, too—secrets about the past, and secrets about the present. As the events of the summer build to a shattering climax, Charlotte will be forced to confront some dark truths about the history of powerful men—and about the determination of creative girls—in this stunning new novel from award-winning author Deb Caletti.


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A compelling and atmospheric YA story of romance, mystery, and power about a young woman discovering her strength in lush, sultry Venice—from the Printz Honor–winning author of A Heart in a Body in the World. When Charlotte wins a scholarship to a writing workshop in Venice with the charismatic and brilliant Luca Bruni, it’s a dream come true. Writing is her passion, she lo A compelling and atmospheric YA story of romance, mystery, and power about a young woman discovering her strength in lush, sultry Venice—from the Printz Honor–winning author of A Heart in a Body in the World. When Charlotte wins a scholarship to a writing workshop in Venice with the charismatic and brilliant Luca Bruni, it’s a dream come true. Writing is her passion, she loves Bruni’s books, and going to that romantic and magical sinking city gives her the chance to solve a long-time family mystery about a Venetian poet deep in their lineage, Isabella Di Angelo, who just might be the real author of a very famous poem. Bruni’s villa on the eerie island of La Calamita is extravagant—lush beyond belief, and the other students are both inspiring and intimidating. Venice itself is beautiful, charming, and seductive, but so is Luca Bruni. As his behavior becomes increasingly unnerving, and as Charlotte begins to unearth the long-lost work of Isabella with the help of sweet, smart Italian Dante, other things begin to rise, too—secrets about the past, and secrets about the present. As the events of the summer build to a shattering climax, Charlotte will be forced to confront some dark truths about the history of powerful men—and about the determination of creative girls—in this stunning new novel from award-winning author Deb Caletti.

30 review for One Great Lie

  1. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)

    3.5 stars. Not my favorite from Caletti, but still very good! Review to come! CW: rape, sexual assault, grooming, slut shaming

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    What Caletti does so brilliantly in this book is weave together a story of a girl who so desperately wants to find her voice and all of the realities that come with it with a mystery about a young girl from centuries earlier who wanted the exact same. Charlotte earns a scholarship to attend a writing workshop with one of her favorite authors in Venice. She's lower middle class at best, and this is a way to get away from a complicated home life and to hone her skills as a writer. It's also a chan What Caletti does so brilliantly in this book is weave together a story of a girl who so desperately wants to find her voice and all of the realities that come with it with a mystery about a young girl from centuries earlier who wanted the exact same. Charlotte earns a scholarship to attend a writing workshop with one of her favorite authors in Venice. She's lower middle class at best, and this is a way to get away from a complicated home life and to hone her skills as a writer. It's also a chance for her to work through a family mystery of a writer from centuries earlier who she is convinced was the real writer of a famous poem -- that poem had been, through history, attributed to a beloved male writer. But when Charlotte arrives at the workshop, she finds herself tangled in things she didn't sign up for, and the author who had been her favorite, who she believed genius, turns out to be a creep. And she's not the only one to experience his predatory behavior. Scads of other young women begin speaking out about it, until suddenly, they're in the spotlight for trying to ruin the career of a powerful man. Caletti weaves together #MeToo with cancel culture and begs readers to think about what voices have historically held significance and which ones have been hidden away or squelched all together. Throughout, we know what's happening with Charlotte and writer Luca, in part because Caletti is smart in using a third person point of view, removing some of the story's immediacy. This is, of course, the bigger point, as Charlotte digs into the mystery of Isabella di Angelo and how her voice was claimed by a man and how her life and career were taken from her by more powerful men in her life. For as much as society and history have changed, Charlotte -- and we as readers -- see the parallels of then and now and realize how little the marker has actually moved. What WOULD it be like if we didn't have Woody Allen movies and instead saw films directed and written by women who were shoved aside for his fame? What WOULD happen if beloved male authors would be weeded from classroom syllabi in favor of the voices of women and people of color who have been underrepresented and overshadowed? It's not censorship; it's honoring and revering the realities of being outside the white male gaze. A smart, savvy, engaging read.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    It’s almost midnight and I’m crying because this was just so, so good. I feel like I say this a lot, but this is truly Deb Caletti at her finest. This felt like Caletti’s love letter to all the young women out there who are figuring out who they are and where they belong in the world and letting us know we are worthy. This book made me angry in the best kind of way. The injustice at knowing you’ve done all you can to right a wrong and people still doubting you is one almost unique to the female e It’s almost midnight and I’m crying because this was just so, so good. I feel like I say this a lot, but this is truly Deb Caletti at her finest. This felt like Caletti’s love letter to all the young women out there who are figuring out who they are and where they belong in the world and letting us know we are worthy. This book made me angry in the best kind of way. The injustice at knowing you’ve done all you can to right a wrong and people still doubting you is one almost unique to the female experience. But this book wasn’t just critique either. We also get this counterbalance in the relationship with Charlotte and Dante that makes my heart sing. (The best boys are fictional, but I’m praying that they’re modeled after ones we know in real life too)

  4. 5 out of 5

    eyes.2c

    Venice—family mysteries! Caletti’s YA novel with 17 year old student Charlotte cutting a literary swathe through Venice (that is if you count her research hours as a swathe!) Having been awarded the chance too attend a summer writer’s program in Venice led by her favourite Italian author Luca Bruni heads off taking with her a book of poetry, The Verses, supposedly written by a fifteenth century ancestor, Isabella di Angelo, a “great-great-(too many greats too count)-grandmother on her mother’s si Venice—family mysteries! Caletti’s YA novel with 17 year old student Charlotte cutting a literary swathe through Venice (that is if you count her research hours as a swathe!) Having been awarded the chance too attend a summer writer’s program in Venice led by her favourite Italian author Luca Bruni heads off taking with her a book of poetry, The Verses, supposedly written by a fifteenth century ancestor, Isabella di Angelo, a “great-great-(too many greats too count)-grandmother on her mother’s side.” Things don’t quite go according to plan and Charlotte ends up trying to track down Isabella and her writings. Of course their two lives collide in the written sense, the hunt for Isabella, who she was is fascinating—a mystery to be solved if possible. Likewise Charlotte’s journey has moments—of darkness and light, surrounding her search. This is equally as fascinating. A Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing ARC via NetGalley Please note: Quotes taken from an advanced reading copy maybe subject to change

  5. 5 out of 5

    Gary Anderson

    In Deb Caletti’s strong new young adult novel One Great Lie, aspiring writer Charlotte wants to be taken seriously as a literary artist. When the famous author Luca Bruni invites Charlotte and a few other promising young writers to his island villa near Venice, she is honored and excited to meet the great man she admires so much. Luca Bruni is enigmatic and strangely attractive, much like the mysterious beauty of Venice. He seems to be both flirtatious and deeply respectful of feminism. As Bruni In Deb Caletti’s strong new young adult novel One Great Lie, aspiring writer Charlotte wants to be taken seriously as a literary artist. When the famous author Luca Bruni invites Charlotte and a few other promising young writers to his island villa near Venice, she is honored and excited to meet the great man she admires so much. Luca Bruni is enigmatic and strangely attractive, much like the mysterious beauty of Venice. He seems to be both flirtatious and deeply respectful of feminism. As Bruni turns his individual attention to the various girls in the writing workshop, is he nurturing their writing voices, or is he grooming them for something more? Charlotte’s back story includes an awareness that she is a descendent of Isabella di Angelo, a 16th Century female poet whose work may have been stolen by an opportunistic male poet who is regarded favorably by history. Although five hundred years separate them, Charlotte discovers that she, her ancestor, and many other female Renaissance-era Venetian poets share the experience of being used and silenced by their mentors and lovers. While in Venice, Charlotte wants to uncover the truth about the authorship of Isabella’s poetry. One Great Lie is one of the best YA novels I’ve read so far this year. (Think Moxie meets Blood Water Paint.) This is a richly-layered novel sure to appeal to readers yearning for vicarious travel. Charlotte’s romantic life—first with an American boy, then with an Italian—is sweet and sincere, while the intrigue of the plot lines involving Luca Bruni and Isabella di Angelo keeps the pages turning quickly. The intoxicating atmosphere of Venice only adds to the allure. As One Great Lie unfolds, readers must confront important issues, including whether the lives of artists should be considered separately from their work, the lasting effects of sexual harassment, and the power that can be unleashed when courageous victims share their stories.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Isabella (The Feminist Bookworm)

    I'm kind of conflicted about this one. But I liked it! I definitely really enjoyed it, but I really did not jive with the writing style. It just wasn't for me, and that's my main critique and what kept this from being a solid 4 star read. I also was expecting, for some reason, that this was going to be a more light-hearted Summer story set in Venice and it's definitely not. I guess I was expecting Kisses and Croissants but in Venice instead of Paris, and with writing instead of ballet. But it's r I'm kind of conflicted about this one. But I liked it! I definitely really enjoyed it, but I really did not jive with the writing style. It just wasn't for me, and that's my main critique and what kept this from being a solid 4 star read. I also was expecting, for some reason, that this was going to be a more light-hearted Summer story set in Venice and it's definitely not. I guess I was expecting Kisses and Croissants but in Venice instead of Paris, and with writing instead of ballet. But it's really looking at the ways in which men take advantage of the destinies and legacies of women, and it does this in a really interesting and unique way. There is also a significant plot line regarding sexual harassment/assault that I wasn't expecting. And I did feel like that particular storyline wasn't really resolved, and the perpetrator, a very famous individual, didn't really face any consequences, which, in the context of the story, didn't make a whole lot of sense, I guess? There's also a romance in here which I didn't really care for. And we all know I love romance and barely read books without some sort of romance, but this one just felt... I don't know, forced? Like, of course the main character was going to meet a cute Italian boy and fall for him. I feel like that's the easiest thing to sell in a book about a girl who goes abroad for the Summer, but it just didn't work for me. The boy, Dante, is great and all, but I their romance was a bit underdeveloped. Lastly, I read an ARC, but it is still very clear that an enormous amount of research went into crafting this book, and I hope the finished copy has an author's note, as I think that would be really valuable.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ruthie

    I received this ebook ARC free of charge from NetGalley and Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing. It was my choice to read and I'm leaving this review voluntarily. It was pretty good but I wasn't sucked in. I kept switching to other books in between while reading it and I didn't have that urgency to read this book and only this book until about 60%. I think the historical aspect of the book was more interesting than the present-day story and I might have liked this as historical fiction more. I received this ebook ARC free of charge from NetGalley and Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing. It was my choice to read and I'm leaving this review voluntarily. It was pretty good but I wasn't sucked in. I kept switching to other books in between while reading it and I didn't have that urgency to read this book and only this book until about 60%. I think the historical aspect of the book was more interesting than the present-day story and I might have liked this as historical fiction more. The present-day story did become more intriguing during the tipping point and the events after. I also didn't feel too connected to the MC, Charlotte until the tipping point where she became the victim of the famous author Luca Bruni's unwanted advances. And even after that, I didn't feel like I knew her as a character. I knew I was reading a book and I like to feel so connected to characters that it doesn't feel like a book but instead, it feels like their diary etc. That's what makes strong character connection and a 5 star book for me. I also liked the tidbits at the beginning of each chapter on female poets and artists from the fourteen, fifteen, and sixteen hundreds. The themes about famous artists and how they may abuse their power, the way talented women artists have been treated in history, etc do make this a worthwhile read. TW: Sexual harassment and assault, underage drinking, anxiety, depression, pedophilia, references to: alcohol abuse, rape, child marriage

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sheri

    This book does an excellent job of showing how women were treating hundreds of years ago and mirroring how they are still treated today. There are actually 2 stories being told in the book at the same time and the way they are woven together is fantastic. Our main character is chosen for an exclusive writing class in Venice with a brilliant and charming author that she adores. At the same time she uses her down time to investigate an old family mystery that unfolded in the same town. You can pre This book does an excellent job of showing how women were treating hundreds of years ago and mirroring how they are still treated today. There are actually 2 stories being told in the book at the same time and the way they are woven together is fantastic. Our main character is chosen for an exclusive writing class in Venice with a brilliant and charming author that she adores. At the same time she uses her down time to investigate an old family mystery that unfolded in the same town. You can pretty well see where things are progressing in the current story line. In my opinion, I felt that the family mystery had better closure than the events that our main character, Charlotte, did in present day. This is a very good book and I do recommend it for Young Adult and Adult readers.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Trisha

    "She shouldn't make it into something it wasn't, just because it seems like a great story. You could forget that history was something that happened to real people." 3.5 stars rounded up. I thought this was such a great, fun and interesting story. Charlotte (Char) was an easy MC to love. She's a women of words - she loves them and loves to write. She has such appreciation for it all. I loved writing style as you see the world through her eyes and I loved her adventure to unearth this mystery from "She shouldn't make it into something it wasn't, just because it seems like a great story. You could forget that history was something that happened to real people." 3.5 stars rounded up. I thought this was such a great, fun and interesting story. Charlotte (Char) was an easy MC to love. She's a women of words - she loves them and loves to write. She has such appreciation for it all. I loved writing style as you see the world through her eyes and I loved her adventure to unearth this mystery from the past. But I like how interesting and real the story was. I was completely romanced by the adventure of the mystery and loved the above quote when she pulled me back down to reality. This is a story with great twists and takes place in a spot to love. I really liked this one! A huge thank you to the author and publisher for providing an e-ARC via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion regarding the book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Neha Magesh

    oh my god this was amazing. I was expecting something more lighthearted but this book was AMAZING. 10 stars out of five.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    Learned a lot about Venice in the 1500s but didn't connect with any of the characters. Learned a lot about Venice in the 1500s but didn't connect with any of the characters.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    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 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.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Like any Deb book, this was beautiful and harrowing and gorgeous!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Schultz

    This is my first Deb Caletti novel. Story is based in Italy and the descriptions are so vivid you can totally picture it in your mind’s eye. In fact, you will want to book a flight and start packing. Story features Charlotte who wins a scholarship to Venice to attend a writing intensive program with a famous author, in fact an author she greatly admires. There are parts that were a tad slow for me as the genre is a bit different than my typical psychological thrillers. I am a fan and look forwa This is my first Deb Caletti novel. Story is based in Italy and the descriptions are so vivid you can totally picture it in your mind’s eye. In fact, you will want to book a flight and start packing. Story features Charlotte who wins a scholarship to Venice to attend a writing intensive program with a famous author, in fact an author she greatly admires. There are parts that were a tad slow for me as the genre is a bit different than my typical psychological thrillers. I am a fan and look forward to the twists and turns. This, however, was a nice change of pace for me. Want to thank NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing for this eGalley. This file has been made available to me before publication in an early form for professional review purposes. Publishing Release Date scheduled for June 1, 2021

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Long

    The mystery the summary of this book offered was intriguing. I loved learning about Venice in the 1500’s. The modern day story line was relevant and interesting. I had a hard time connecting to the characters. Overall though, this was an enjoyable historical mystery that made me want to hop in a plane and go to Venice.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Tasha

    When Charlotte wins a scholarship to an elite writing workshop given by her favorite author, Luca Bruni, she is thrilled. The workshop takes her to Venice, Italy and a summer spent on a private island with a small group of other college students and Bruni himself. The trip also gives Charlotte a chance to investigate a family legend that one of her female ancestors actually wrote a very famous poem. As Charlotte explore her heritage, looking for clues to a woman who has disappeared into history, When Charlotte wins a scholarship to an elite writing workshop given by her favorite author, Luca Bruni, she is thrilled. The workshop takes her to Venice, Italy and a summer spent on a private island with a small group of other college students and Bruni himself. The trip also gives Charlotte a chance to investigate a family legend that one of her female ancestors actually wrote a very famous poem. As Charlotte explore her heritage, looking for clues to a woman who has disappeared into history, she meets Dante, a college student working at the library who works to save flood-ravaged pages. As Charlotte falls for both Venice and Dante, the attentions of Bruni begin to become more problematic. After one girl leaves the program and another has clearly been hurt, Charlotte gains his unwanted attentions and finds herself alone with him. Charlotte must now face her own powerful mentor and decide whether to keep his secrets or not, just as her ancestor and so many women have done before her. Award-winning author Caletti has created a book that shows exactly why we see music, poetry, painting and more as male dominated throughout history. She highlights real female poets and artists from the 1400s-1600s at the beginning of each chapter, showing how they were quickly either muted, disparaged or killed. She uses these women and the warning signs of Bruni’s behavior throughout the book to foreshadow what is about to happen to Charlotte. It’s terrible to wait for the predator to turn his attentions to her and then strike. The darkness throughout the book is broken by the accomplishments of some of the historical female figures and also with Charlotte finding her own voice and demanding change. Nothing though is done without cost and loss, there is nothing simple in this novel, no easy way out. The writing is exquisite, dark and rich, with room for a good man like Dante to emerge as a worthy partner for Charlotte. Feminist, ferocious and full of fight. Appropriate for ages 16-19.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tara Weiss

    Deb Caletti has crafted a five-star masterpiece that has set a new standard for stories of female empowerment. One Great Lie is a riveting story of women sidelined by men and the devastating ways men throughout history have controlled the fates of women who challenged them. Set along the dreamy canals and isles of Venice, Charlotte, an American student who aspires to be a writer, is selected for a summer program hosted by Luca Bruni, a legend in the field of literature. However, a dream opportun Deb Caletti has crafted a five-star masterpiece that has set a new standard for stories of female empowerment. One Great Lie is a riveting story of women sidelined by men and the devastating ways men throughout history have controlled the fates of women who challenged them. Set along the dreamy canals and isles of Venice, Charlotte, an American student who aspires to be a writer, is selected for a summer program hosted by Luca Bruni, a legend in the field of literature. However, a dream opportunity becomes a nightmare when Luca creates elaborate scenarios to lure young women into secluded locations. The story is balanced by women of Italy's cloistered past, who had been deprived of the right to publish, their words stollen by men who hid them away in convents or had them killed. As the past can never stay hidden, especially in the Aqua Alta of Venice, the truth floats to the surface, revealing the power of women helping other women. This book is perfect for discussion and should be a necessary part of the literary canon. Please, add this to your library, share it with teachers and professors of literature. It would be no surprise if this becomes more than a book. With romance and action, the story has a cinematic quality that would easily translate to the screen.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Daniele Kasper

    Years ago I spent two days in Venice and I left a little part of my soul there. Reading this book took me back there, the smell of the water in the canals, the shouts of the gondoliers, the crowds of tourists. I love books set in other countries and this one was no exception. Charlotte wants to do a summer program with famed writer Luca Bruni all the way in Venice. But once she arrives, the man she admired turns out to be not as she once believed. It is honestly brutal, unapologetically facing d Years ago I spent two days in Venice and I left a little part of my soul there. Reading this book took me back there, the smell of the water in the canals, the shouts of the gondoliers, the crowds of tourists. I love books set in other countries and this one was no exception. Charlotte wants to do a summer program with famed writer Luca Bruni all the way in Venice. But once she arrives, the man she admired turns out to be not as she once believed. It is honestly brutal, unapologetically facing down the problems with how women are treated and seen in historic and modern society. It tackles tough subjects such as unwanted advances, finding your voice, and standing up for the truth. Luca may be a brilliant, talented writer, but he is a predator who had learned to masterfully manipulate his biggest fans. And as we often see, the rich and famous get off the hook, leaving his storyline unresolved without there being any consequences as we all would like to see. The atmosphere is creepy and stomach churning, as it should be. Teens should read this because it is very eye opening to the plight of many young women trying to make it in a man's world. Interwoven with Charlotte's story is that of Isabella, an ancestor of Charlotte's. Isabella's story rings so familiar, her beautiful poetry was stolen by a man who took credit for the work. Charlotte has proof of this and begins to unravel the mystery of her ancestor. This tale has some potential triggers for young readers but is a beautiful tale in a spectacular setting.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Alison

    Very powerful and riveting story of how women's fates and stories have been controlled by men throughout history. The writing style wasn't my favorite, but the heartbreakingly beautiful mystery drew me in. This book is brutally honest tackling dark subject matter like sexual assault and manipulation. Yet at the heart of the story was the topics of finding one's voice and standing up for the truth. Highly recommend for a great lesson in history and an open discussion of the problems of how women Very powerful and riveting story of how women's fates and stories have been controlled by men throughout history. The writing style wasn't my favorite, but the heartbreakingly beautiful mystery drew me in. This book is brutally honest tackling dark subject matter like sexual assault and manipulation. Yet at the heart of the story was the topics of finding one's voice and standing up for the truth. Highly recommend for a great lesson in history and an open discussion of the problems of how women are treated in society, past and present.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Vicki

    Charlotte gets chosen for an internship in Venice, Italy for the summer after her high school graduation. The head of the program is Luca Bruni, a beloved, charismatic author. Caution is given about who we give praise to and a look historically about a pattern of unsung writers who are with talent but aren't recognized for it. Beginning each chapter is background information on female poets and artists from the fourteen, fifteen, and sixteen hundreds. Quote: "All of that praise and attention and study Charlotte gets chosen for an internship in Venice, Italy for the summer after her high school graduation. The head of the program is Luca Bruni, a beloved, charismatic author. Caution is given about who we give praise to and a look historically about a pattern of unsung writers who are with talent but aren't recognized for it. Beginning each chapter is background information on female poets and artists from the fourteen, fifteen, and sixteen hundreds. Quote: "All of that praise and attention and study of his great works--he thinks he is the source of the light. He's a god in his own mind, a lawless god. But it is one great lie. We chose him, we made him, as we have for centuries."

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lola

    “You could forget that history was something that happened to real people.” Eighteen-year-old Charlotte Hodges is a talented young writer who spots a flyer advertising a summer writing program in Italy for college students, led by her favorite author, the famous Luca Bruni. She applies for it, excited by the chance to meet Luca Bruni as well as investigate her mysterious Italian ancestor, the poet Isabella di Angelo. She is accepted into the program, along with seven other college students, and t “You could forget that history was something that happened to real people.” Eighteen-year-old Charlotte Hodges is a talented young writer who spots a flyer advertising a summer writing program in Italy for college students, led by her favorite author, the famous Luca Bruni. She applies for it, excited by the chance to meet Luca Bruni as well as investigate her mysterious Italian ancestor, the poet Isabella di Angelo. She is accepted into the program, along with seven other college students, and travels to Luca’s private island near Venice, Italy. Charlotte and the other students are awestruck by Luca Bruni, shower him with compliments, and try hard to please him. Luca is charming and deep, and makes everyone feel special. But another side of the esteemed author begins to show, and Charlotte feels increasingly uncomfortable. I absolutely loved One Great Lie! It went above and beyond my expectations. I was expecting a lighthearted, cutesy summer romance in Italy, but this book goes far beyond that into darker subject matter. Everything about this book was amazing; I loved the plot, the setting, the characters, and the writing style. The author, weaving history and present-day together, addresses important issues and creates an unforgettable story of one girl’s unexpected summer in Italy. Charlotte was a relatable, realistic character. She loved reading and writing, and she was insecure and anxious. I thought she was an extremely well-written character. The way she felt about Luca Bruni was complex and realistic; the way she loves his books, loves him, and desperately wants to be noticed and praised by him, all the while feeling uneasy in his attention. The forty-year-old Luca was charismatic, friendly, and intelligent, but underneath his charming exterior was an angry, sorrowful, and greedy man. This other side of Luca began to show as he acted increasingly flirty and familiar to the female students, and cold and aggressive to the male students. While in Venice, Charlotte is searching for information on her ancestor from the 1500s, Isabella di Angelo, whose only evidence of existence is an old book of poetry that has been in Charlotte’s family for ages. I really enjoyed this part of the plot. It was such a fun, intriguing mystery, which led to more serious revelations and social commentary about women in the arts. During her search for Isabella, Charlotte meets Dante, a charming and sweet Italian college student who works at a library restoring old books. They fall in love as they work together to uncover the secret history of Isabella and other forgotten female poets of Renaissance-era Italy. Their relationship wasn’t the main focus of the novel, but it was romantic and cute, and I loved it. I think Dante is my favorite character other than Charlotte! Seriously, I loved him, and this might sound silly, but I wish I could meet someone like him in real life. Furthermore, I loved the setting. Deb Caletti perfectly captured the eerie, unsettling feeling of the private island, La Calamita; the bright, bustling energy of Venice; and the historical, mysterious, almost spooky vibe of ancient places like the convent and the library. Plus, I loved the addition of the bookstore, Alta Acqua Libreria (which is actually a real place!!!). This book was so atmospheric and made me want to visit Italy. One Great Lie is an atmospheric, heartrending, and compelling novel which deals with themes of power, women’s roles in society, and finding your voice. Each chapter is headed with a brief biography of a little-known female Italian poet from the Renaissance, which adds to the historical aspect of the book. I really, truly enjoyed reading this, and I highly recommend it. If you’re looking for something similar to Love and Gelato, but more serious and solemn, read this book. Content warning: (view spoiler)[sexual harassment, sexual assault (hide spoiler)]

  22. 4 out of 5

    LibraryLaur

    Caletti is so good at exploring serious topics in a very entertaining way. She never talks down to her teen audience. Another winner with the bonus of a trip to Italy. *Thanks to Netgalley, Edelweiss, and the publisher for providing an e-galley in exchange for an honest review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Allyssa Graham

    Very atmospheric, maybe all much too much. A bit repetitive. However, did enjoy reading Charlotte’s transformation as a character.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lawyer LaMay

    the aesthetic ahhhh!!! but the rising action was wayyyyyy too long

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ann Carboneau

    Part history, part coming of age, all about females finding their power and voice.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Randi

    There is way too much going on in this for any one storyline to get the attention it deserves. And despite everything happening, I still wasn’t enjoying the story itself. The distant third person narration really brought me out from the beginning, and Charlotte as a character, our main character, seemed pretty hollow. Also, fthere is literally no resolution with Shaye or the harassment and that entire chunk of the book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    I received an eARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 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 her 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 I received an eARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 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 her 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. Rtc

  28. 5 out of 5

    Faith Hurst-Bilinski

    I really found this to be formulaic and predictable but it very much was what I claimed to be. Can’t be mad at it, I guess. I was not the audience for it but I know that audience exists and this is a basically a run of the mill version of what it says it is.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Britta

    I'm honestly not sure how to classify this book-- romance, mystery, historical-fiction, feminism, young adult-- and that made me love it more! I loved the setting and variety. I didn't love the writing style but this would make for an awesome book club book! I also loved the shout-outs to 'forgotten' women writers, seriously so cool. --4.75 I'm honestly not sure how to classify this book-- romance, mystery, historical-fiction, feminism, young adult-- and that made me love it more! I loved the setting and variety. I didn't love the writing style but this would make for an awesome book club book! I also loved the shout-outs to 'forgotten' women writers, seriously so cool. --4.75

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tara

    This book is a girl power story about forgotten female writers in history. Charlotte gets the opportunity to attend a writer's workshop in Italy with her favorite author, only to discover that misogyny is more present than she expected. Although the book is filled with facts about female writers and beautiful descriptions of places in Italy, the story was too predictable and won't appeal to the vast majority of my students. This book is a girl power story about forgotten female writers in history. Charlotte gets the opportunity to attend a writer's workshop in Italy with her favorite author, only to discover that misogyny is more present than she expected. Although the book is filled with facts about female writers and beautiful descriptions of places in Italy, the story was too predictable and won't appeal to the vast majority of my students.

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