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A girl realizes her life is being written for her in this unique, smart love story that is Stranger Than Fiction for fans of Stephanie Perkins.

Annabelle’s life has always been Perfect with a capital P. Then bestselling young adult author Lucy Keating announces that she’s writing a new novel—and Annabelle is the heroine.

It turns out, Annabelle is a character that Lucy Keating created. And Lucy has a plan for her.

But Annabelle doesn’t want to live a life where everything she does is already plotted out. Will she find a way to write her own story—or will Lucy Keating have the last word?

The real Lucy Keating’s delightful contemporary romance blurs the line between reality and fiction, and is the perfect follow-up for readers who loved her debut Dreamology, which SLJ called, “a sweet, quirky romance with appealing characters.”

256 pages, Hardcover

First published April 11, 2017

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About the author

Lucy Keating

4 books516 followers
Lucy lives in Somerville, Massachusetts with her husband and scruffy dog.

When she's not writing, Lucy can usually be found anxiety-baking, bingeing TV shows, or having what she feels are perfectly acceptable conversations with her dog, Ernie.

You can follow Lucy on Instagram @lucy.keating, and Ernie The Dog @ernsboberns

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5 stars
262 (14%)
4 stars
491 (26%)
3 stars
679 (36%)
2 stars
328 (17%)
1 star
89 (4%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 379 reviews
Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,743 reviews1,305 followers
April 5, 2017
(I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

“Annabelle,” she says, “I’m not writing about you. I am writing you.”

This was a YA story about a girl who discovered she was really a character in a book.

Annabelle was quite an organised person who always liked to have things planned out, that being said she liked to be the one in control of her life, and the idea of someone else holding all the cards bothered her, which was pretty understandable.

The storyline in this was about Annabelle meeting an author (Lucy Keating) and realising that Lucy was describing her life when she described her current work-in-progress. This was a bit of an odd storyline, but it did make for interesting reading, especially when things kept happening which were unexplainable other than the premise that they were being written as part of a story. I did find it a bit weird that the author made up stuff about herself in the book though as I’m pretty sure she hasn’t really written 6 books, and isn’t a New York Times bestselling author.
We did get some romance in the form of a love triangle, and I was really rooting for Annabelle to be with Elliot, even if that didn’t seem to be the direction ‘Lucy’ was pushing her in.

The ending to this was okay, although I wasn’t sure

7 out of 10
Profile Image for Kristen Peppercorn .
558 reviews96 followers
January 24, 2018
How do I put this delicately? This book was not great. Even though it was only 250ish pages, it was pretty hard to get through. The concept behind the book was amazing. The actual thing = amazingly mediocre.

My main problem is how unlikable the main character is. She's one of those "perfect bitches" that I can't stand. The two main love interests were okay. Elliot was moderately cool. Will was an idiot, but he did grow on me towards the end.

There were a few logic flaws sprinkled here and there. Like, for instance, when AB was lying in her bed and her dog was lying there with her. Elliot tapped on the window. If there really was a dog there, it would freak the eff out and start barking like crazy at him, trying to protect his owner. Instead, the author chose to have the dog magically just disappear. He wasn't there anymore somehow.

I did like the parts in Annabelle's writing class where the elements of writing a story were discussed. I thought that was a fun way to sort of teach young peoples a bit of the writing and publishing process. I already knew everything they mentioned, but still. This book filled me with the urge to read Ray Bradbury's Zen in the Art of Writing.

The best part of the book was the Twilight references. So that should tell you something. I don't know what. But definitely something. lol

I don't want to be mean, but I feel like Lucy Keating would be better off writing adult chick lit. I feel like she would be amazing at that. YA just doesn't feel like the natural fit for her writing style.
Profile Image for Kei • fiction court •.
776 reviews89 followers
February 6, 2017
2 for the meta stars!

Well, well, well. This has to me the most meta book I've ever read. Or is it?

The book is about Annabelle, a high school student who discovers she's a fictional character and someone else - Lucy Keating - is writing her story. The author herself appears in the book and that's, really meta.

The one element that could have made this book THE BOOK, - the meta - was buried under all the cliche YA tropes. In her effort to make this a little bit sarcastic and a nod to all the YA cliches, and how authors make their characters do all the unrealistic stuff in novels, Lucy Keating went through a mental check list and included every single trope known to readers.

Basically, Lucy Keating wrote the most cliche YA ever but justified it under the this is the crazy author writing their lives umbrella.

It could have been so good if the idea had a better development, 30% in the story I was bored out of my mind and I just kept reading to see what is going to happen.

What did happen? A lot of Nicholas Sparks moments, and cliches, all the cliches. Yes, indeed authors do make their characters do all the urealistic stuff for their novel.
Profile Image for ✨ A ✨ .
432 reviews1,792 followers
November 13, 2020
The premise of this book seemed promising, alas my expectations were sorely crushed.

The main character was so annoying, I felt like DNF-ing this book so many times, but powered through in the hopes it would get better.
Profile Image for Lauren.
1,143 reviews302 followers
April 28, 2017
4.25 stars because I'm nitpicking. I really enjoyed this so much. I love Keating's books so far because the premises are incredibly unique and so fun. This made it onto my TBR ASAP because of her name, first of all, and also because of the Stranger Than Fiction premise - one of my favorite movies. I don't think she took the idea too far, where it felt like that was the only thing happening. Annabelle didn't have a lot of personality though, which is probably my biggest issue with the story. The love triangle was incredibly clever and super meta. I didn't love the actual triangle but I did love the boys and the reasoning behind it.
Profile Image for Kevin.
1,563 reviews34 followers
November 9, 2019
I loved this book and I can't believe it has such a low rating here on goodreads. I'm a big fan of the litrpg genre where just about every story the character gets trapped in a VR game world and usually has to win the game to get released and save his life or something similar. Once I got a few chapters in and the author showed up that's all I could think of this is a rom-com litRPG without stats.
Profile Image for alice.
270 reviews335 followers
Shelved as 'did-not-finish'
June 11, 2017
This review and others can be found at arctic books!

This novel started off well; I related a lot with our main character—I'm super organized, aim high, and I enjoy writing—it was something I love to see in contemporaries like these. However, towards the first quarter of the book, I felt sluggish reading through this book. I was curious about the incorporation of Lucy Keating in the actual novel, but it just felt so... picture perfect. Which is fine, in retrospect, but the main character (I forget her name at this point) was so DENSE. It felt like a pain to read.

Anyway. I totally loved the premise of the book, but I think it could have been executed a bit better. A bit disappointed since I enjoyed DREAMOLOGY so much, but props for the cute cover.

Thank you to HarperCollins for providing a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Aila.
911 reviews32 followers
July 15, 2017
1.5 stars

Review forthcoming on Happy Indulgence!

I really enjoyed Lucy Keating’s debut novel Dreamology, and Literally follows the fantasy-like concepts that she puts into a Young Adult contemporary. While the concept sounds very cute and sweet, the execution left much to be desired. Literally had literally the chance to break through common stereotypes, tropes, and commonly used clichés, but instead falls into the category of just another contemporary that seizes on these things – albeit with a fantastical twist. I would really only recommend this book for readers looking for a mind-numbing contemporary: nothing more, nothing less.
Profile Image for Lillie.
64 reviews46 followers
May 16, 2017
Review originally on Little Lillie Reads!!

Lucy Keating immediately impressed me with her debut novel Dreamology, coming onto the scene with a fresh voice, creative storytelling, and immersive writing. With Dreamology being one of my favorite contemporary novels ever, I knew I was in for a treat when she announced Literally. This book is so unlike anything I have ever read before. Lucy Keating has a unique writing style that I adore. It is simplistic, but commands the page. She has an excellent way of setting an elaborate scene and keeping you involved in the atmosphere. Just as the synopsis says, Lucy Keating is able to blur the line between reality and fiction, creating an intriguing storyline that has you really feeling for the characters and getting caught between what is real and what is fiction. Once again, Lucy Keating has stunned me with her writing.

The most exciting thing about this book is that you are able to physically detach the characters from their storyline and understand them through the fictional Lucy Keating's perspective. Throughout Literally we follow Annabelle, the main character of fictional Lucy's upcoming novel. Annabelle is snarky, incredibly organized and hard-headed, but relatable in a naive, sweet sort of sense. As her life unravels from the inside out, she soon realizes that fictional Lucy Keating has been planning out her life all along - the unseen misfortunes, her friends, the cute boy who magically appears in school. Instead of allowing this to stop her from living, Annabelle decides for herself that it is up to her to write her own story. Along with Annabelle comes Will Hale, aka the new boy in school, who is supposed to be the dreamiest, most perfect boy for Anna. However, I must say that Elliot, her brother's best friend, has him beat. This love triangle, for the most part, was a little unkempt. I believe within the first few chapters Anna and Elliot have a little moment, but then fictional Lucy Keating introduces Will for her own professional gain (as she is writing Annabelle's life for her, ya know). I understand that this supports the claim of fictional Lucy basically rewriting AB's life for her and by all means the two romances are incredibly fluffy and cute, but I thought the exposition of this love triangle could have been better.

The primary reason as to why this book hit it off with me so well, is that I read it during a time where I was unsure of what I wanted to pursue in life. Annabelle is going through an extensive internal and external problem where everything she knew is being flipped upside down on her head. She's lost, alone, unsure of what is coming next or if she's going to lose the life that she knows. Instead of letting all these situations get to her, she makes the ultimate decision in the end that no one is allowed to take charge of her life except for herself. To me, during my little existential crisis, this meant a lot. I realized how important it is to make decisions about my future and my story on my own. While Literally is an incredibly light, cute contemporary romance, it teaches you the importance of writing your story. Fictional Lucy Keating made all these decisions for the Annabelle and the people in her life, but quite a bit of them were able to fight against the urges and rewrite what was already plotted out.

If you are ever in the mood for sweet contemporary romance that is a quick read, this is the perfect book for you. The premise for the plot is so interesting and if that synopsis didn't lure you in, then I am here to tell you that you need to read this book. It was a lot of fun to read, brought me tons of happiness, and even made me chuckle. With the creativity, imagination, and talent Lucy Keating has, I cannot wait to see what she conjures up for us next.
Profile Image for Louisa.
7,171 reviews43 followers
March 24, 2017
This was a fantastic book! Loved having an author write their character, and the character fight back! I know it happens when authors write fiction, but this makes that the story! So awesome and meta!
Profile Image for Claire (Book Blog Bird).
1,055 reviews38 followers
January 26, 2019
This was really quite good. I liked all the characters, the plot was crazy weird but really enjoyable and everything rocketed along nicely. The plot borroewd a lot from the film Stranger Than Fiction but still managed to be a decent read.
Profile Image for Zuzana Hnátová.
118 reviews27 followers
January 8, 2018
Po Zavri oči a snívaj som sa veľmi tešila na toto dielko. A nie nadarmo, lebo to bolo rovnako milé a rozkošné a romantické a surrealistické. A to mám rada. Teraz môžem ísť snívať ja.
Profile Image for Lulai.
1,279 reviews155 followers
April 1, 2018
Un livre mignon qui rend hommage aux personnages des romans et se moque un peu du genre romance mais toujours dans la bonne humeur.
Profile Image for Cassie-la.
523 reviews63 followers
May 9, 2017
ORIGINALLY POSTED: https://bibliomantics.com/2017/05/08/...

Lucy Keating’s sophomore novel may have the exact same premise as Stranger Than Fiction, but trust me, it’s no Stranger Than Fiction. The story revolves around Annabelle, a teenager with a perfect life who realizes she’s trapped inside a novel written by author Lucy Keating. It could work, but it doesn’t. Super contrived and over the top, there’s nothing worse than Lucy Keating writing about how great Lucy Keating is.
Profile Image for Kim at Divergent Gryffindor.
470 reviews131 followers
April 8, 2017
When I first saw the synopsis for Literally, I was excited. I think a bookworm would be immediately attracted to what the story is about, because after all, it's about a main character in an author's story. However, it wasn't like I imagined it to be, and I felt like there were too much ambiguities.

Annabelle discovers that she is a character in Lucy Keating's newest romance book because the author visited her school. When the plot of her new book sounded similar to Annabelle's life, Annabelle confronted her. Lucy then proceeds to tell her that she is a character in her newest book.

From this point everything that became weird for me because why would an author be in her own novel? If she's writing the character, shouldn't it have been impossible for them to meet? And why was Annabelle the only one out of all the character to notice the inconsistencies within the novel, and the only one to notice the TK signs? I mean, it's just all hard to grasp when you're reading about it, which is why I think this would have done better as a movie.

For the first half of the book, I really felt confused. However, at the latter part of the book, that when I started enjoying. I liked the message that the author was trying to get across, and there were lots of good quotes in the book. I also started enjoying when she finally decided to choose between Will and Elliot, and how she chose the one I was rooting for, haha!

"I think you have to try your best to find your best self, and the person who makes you your best self."

"And just because something ends, doesn't mean it didn't mean anything. Sometimes, you have to take the risk."

"You can't expect anything real or awesome to happen to you, if you don't take a chance."

"The end is up to you now, Annabelle. You'll find your Happy Ending, and it's not about whom you end up with. I am only just beginning to figure that out."

"I don't do this because it was my plan; it was my plan because I love it. But I'm determined no to stick to it too closely. I have no idea what surprises the future will hold. Now my plan is to follow my dreams. My plan is to surprise myself, and write my own story. I hope, whatever age you are, each one of you chooses to do the same."

Overall, I was really confused about this book at first but grew to love it when I learned the message of the novel. It's a quick and fun read that helped me pass my time, and after all the confusion, it was kinda entertaining and enjoyable as well.
Profile Image for Kate Willis.
Author 20 books510 followers
December 3, 2019
Meta, meta, meta--to the MAX! This book was so, sooo cliche from the very first pages, and I chortled to myself when the characters themselves began to realize that. (Sorry, Ava. I feel ya on getting to be the “emotional support pony” supportive best friend. XD ) Like seriously, the protagonist Annabelle doesn’t know how beautiful she is and the love interest was ridiculously perfect and soooo obvious. XD

It got even better as author and characters went to battle. I really loved the mystery aspect of the story--unexpected and really fun. Annabelle (with the help of Ava) was so clever to notice continuity errors and figure out how to play the system. I was rooting for her to win. ;) I also loved how she wasn’t the only one discontent to stay in her written role and how other characters had been subtly influencing the story for a while. ;) (Elliott, you loyal side character! I’ve seen your kind before.) Also, the message about being willing to live life even if the results aren't guaranteed to be perfect was amazing.

Because this book is about a fictional character literally being controlled by her author, there are some rebellious messages I think it would be a mistake to apply to real life. Also, this book, while being a very meta, fantastic surprise, is still a tropey romance, so there were some scattered innuendos, some “desperate” kissing, and two somewhat suggestive “midnight swim” type of scenes I skimmed. :( (Would have been five stars without that. ;) ) Also, some scattered “a” and “d” swear words, underage drinking, and upper male nudity.

Best quotes: “You’re so much more than a sidekick to me.” “I know,” she says, turning around and wrapping an arm around my waist. “But you are a killer emotional support pony,” I say quietly, and she gives me a playful shove.

Altogether, this was a delightful meta treat that had me loving and laughing at cliches. ;)

Google the Egtved Girl...
Profile Image for Shannon.
278 reviews252 followers
March 18, 2018

This time, my 2-star rating is completely guided by Goodreads' guide: It Was Okay.

On the surface, the premise sounded promising. It sounded great, in fact. A teenage girl discovers she is a character in an author's novel. Bam. Endless possibilities!

However, I found that I had more problems with it than not. First, I found it so....cringey how the author wrote herself into the novel. Either she was depicted in such an ego-stroking way (describing herself as a New York Times Bestseller, commenting on her good looks and charm, and having her deemed important enough to be interviewed by Diane Sawyer), or she was utterly unlikable and rude to her own characters, who only wanted to be heard. Secondly, the "rules" of the story weren't consistent (who is writing the story now? does someone need to write forever? if not, does everyone just fade away? none of that was made clear.). And thirdly, I found the two love-triangle boys to be completely interchangeable, and everyone else was either boring or unlikable. While I read through it in one day, I found myself not caring one bit what happened to these characters when I closed the book.

And I'm sorry to say this, but *slaps hand in admonishment* I couldn't stop comparing it to Marc Forster's "Stranger Than Fiction," which I think was such a stunning movie based on the same concept (and done 11 years earlier). This book wasn't awful; if it was, I wouldn't have read it in one day. I wish the author would have reconsidered some of the rules of the world and made different choices. The premise was great, but execution could have been better.
Profile Image for Rebeca.
151 reviews20 followers
March 24, 2017
This was a very cute book! It was funny and swoony <3 you guys can see my full review on April 7th :D
Profile Image for Rabiah.
488 reviews218 followers
July 8, 2017
Originally posted at: https://iliveforreading.blogspot.com/...

Lucy Keating's latest book is about a girl trying to stop the story that she's been written into. The best way to put it is probably Stranger Than Fiction meets a young adult contemporary novel. And the best part? I really, really enjoyed it. This is a book I didn't know I needed, let alone wanted. I love meta stories and breaking the fourth wall, and Stranger Than Fiction is one of my favourite films–I could watch it over and over again and not get bored. This book, like the film, fictionalised the idea of literally breaking the barrier between creator and creation, and in the end has brought to life an imaginative, original and quirky story.

It must be pretty weird writing yourself in as a character! Sure, some of it is fictional, but I am pretty curious about the process that Lucy Keating went through writing this book and how she decided to portray herself on the page. Especially since she comes off as sort of a counter (not exactly antagonistic) force in this novel. The characters in this novel were fantastic by the way. You're really made aware that they are characters, but they tend to redefine themselves in unexpected ways. I actually don't think there was a single character I hated in this one–Annabelle was strong character (whose organisation skills I envy), I adored Elliot, I loved the developments with Will, and our protagonist's family was wonderful.

My only complaint would be about the resolution. I kind of didn't get it, and it seemed to cut too quick to the problem being solved. I enjoyed the several obstacles Annabelle has to go through–Lucy Keating doesn't make it easy for her!–but it just fell flat after. I liked the ending, but as I said, it seemed slightly too tidy for me. The book is pretty short, but I felt like exploring the meta-ness of this concept in tying up the main problem, as well as maybe delving a little more into the characters, the romance, the problems that family faces, the character-author relationship, and so on, could have made this an even better read (that's just my opinion).

Literally was sweet, quirky, full of heart, unique, adorable and–above all–fun. I love books with a larger-than-life premise, even though they take place in 'our world,' and this book had it all. Lucy Keating's books all seem to have this special spark to them, and I can't wait to read more from her (Dreamology: I'm coming for you!).
Profile Image for Kelly Hager.
3,102 reviews132 followers
April 9, 2017
Annabelle has just learned she's not real. Instead, she's actually a character in YA author Lucy Keating's newest novel. On the plus side, she writes love stories. On the downside, SHE ISN'T REAL; SHE IS ACTUALLY A FICTIONAL CHARACTER.

This is such a fun concept. I love the Stranger Than Fiction-esque idea and Annabelle is incredibly fun. (I also love that she's good at a lot of things but actually awful at creative writing; I feel like a lot of times YA characters are almost ridiculously good at school.)

I do wish this had been longer--it's not even 300 pages! But I love Annabelle and both her potential love interests. :)
Profile Image for Tracy Banghart.
Author 13 books917 followers
October 16, 2017
This was a cute and trippy book that came along just when I needed it. I've been under a lot of stress lately and really needed something fun and light to distract me, and this was perfect. It put me in a good mood, it was short and sweet, and I appreciated the message of claiming one's agency in a world that's out of your control.
Profile Image for cyborgcinderella.
164 reviews21 followers
February 6, 2017
This book was...really weird. It was basically a statement about all the tropes authors tend to use in their stories, but it just wasn't done very well. The premise was super cool, but the execution was lacking and I feel like it would've been a better story had someone else written it.

For starters, the self-insertion of the author into the story was really bizarre and didn't really work. It just felt so forced and weird and didn't really make much sense. She actually interacted with the characters which just didn't really work for me. It just felt too out there and I didn't really like it.

I also found the tropes to be just annoying instead of interesting. Instead of turning them on their head, she kind of tried to just poked fun at them, except it didn't really work. Instead, it just kind of fell flat and felt like we were just seeing the same tropes from a new perspective (one where the characters are aware that tropes are being used instead of just being part of them). It just didn't really translate well.

The only reason this is a 2-star rating and not a 1-star rating is because I liked how the story ultimately ended, even if the rest of it didn't work so well.
Profile Image for Kaitlin (Next Page Please!).
196 reviews73 followers
August 12, 2017
I recieved an eARC of this book via Edelweiss from the publisher. This doesn't affect my thoughts.

Okay this book was pretty okay. I had read Keating's debut and really enjoyed it, so I was optimistic about this book. I thought the concept was super interesting and definitely something that was going to be fun to read about. The main character basically figures out that she is being written about, which is something I have never see in a book, so of course I was going to be interested in reading it.

I have to say though, I was lightweight disappointed with this book. I enjoyed the writing and the plotline but honestly, I thought Literally had some cliches, which sucks because I really wanted to like this book. Also, the main character irritated me sometimes.

I loved the plot but the characters in this book was kind of what ruined it for me a little. Wouldn I recommend this book? Eh, I would say go for it but I wouldn't push it onto someone. I wish I liked this book more but unfortunately, it just didn't work out as well as I wished.
Profile Image for Michaela.
1,396 reviews65 followers
February 4, 2018
Vďakabohu, že to nebolo dlhé. Banálny príbeh o všemocnosti grafomanskej spisovateľky a o tom, ako občas literárne postavy nerobia to, čo majú a tie opice chcú byť samostatné, dokonca si chcú aj vybrať frajera ;-). Keby z toho bola poviedka na 4 stranách, tak som nadšená Teraz som len umrela nudou.
Profile Image for Iving.
248 reviews16 followers
December 30, 2016

Good thing this was short. I didn't want to dnf the last "read" book of this year's challenge.
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