Shirley Marr's Reviews > Love-Shy

Love-Shy by Lili Wilkinson
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's review
Jan 03, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: aussie-ya
Read from April 28 to 29, 2012

The endorsements on the back of this novel should have actually gone like this:

"Chock full of sass" - Leanne Hall

"Penny Drummond is smart and funny, vulnerable and fierce" - Melina Marchetta

"Lili Wilkinson OMFG bloody marry me!!!" - Shirley Marr

Verdict: Shirley Marr is definitely not love-shy.

I'm never going to be sick of saying this, so I'm going to say it again. "Too many points of views" is a literary gripe most people are familiar and passionate about, but for me "Use of first-person point of view when one bloody does not need to" is my biggest bugbear. Pardon me for all the "bloody" - I'm Australian. Whether it's because of the fact that first-peron is the easiest narrative to use or because of complacency 'cos everyone is doing it - nothing makes me grumpier than reading a novel which basically is a "this happened" and "then that" and "then I" form of observational narrative. If that is your only purpose, then switch to third-person. If you want to commit to giving me a story from inside someone's head, then I want to be smacked in the face by the narrator's personality, I want to see all their value judgements and honest feelings, I want to feel how they feel.

Which is why Penny Drummond is my favourite YA character of the year (thus far). She is such a vocal, opinionated and funny character she practically squeezes herself beside you and nominates herself as the guide to introduce you to her school, her classmates and all the coming and goings of her life. She says some completely inappropriate things, she says some things that are intelligently imposing and hilarious. She's loveable in the same way that Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory is loveable.

Lili Wilkinson writes with the sort of ease that suggests she's been writing YA forever and although I am a fan of first/second time writers with their new voices, there's something to be said about the compulsive readability and flow of Lili's prose. Penny Drummond is an over-achieving student and aspiring journalist who knows she's onto a scoop when she suspects a male student has a condition called "love-shyness". The novel is part "teen gumshoe" as Penny works to find the mystery man and part "Eliza Doolittle" as she attempts to help him.

There is no great secret what our highly neurotic heroine needs to learn about herself as she attempts to help another. There's no twist to what happens when the love-shy boy discovers she's been stalking him. This storyline is a YA staple, but having said that, it is done nicely. And at the same time there are some brave choices: an extremely unlikeable male lead to go with our purposely difficult female lead. But for me, it paid off.

I am not shy (slightly topic-related pun intended) to admit I didn't like Pink. I found the MC weak and annoying, I disliked the supporting cast and I found all the pop references in it indulgent. Love-Shy though - I love the main character, love the supporting cast. I loved all the pop references because when they are being delivered by someone I love (Penny) then it's actually adorable.

In conclusion, I think Lili Wilkinson has hit the mark with Love-shy. I would be happy to have another novel in this vein. On the other hand though, as in Scatterheart I know she can write darker than this, so perhaps it would be interesting to see Lili test herself in the future. Whether Love-shy was an easy write or whether Lili just makes it look easy… only Lili can answer that.


Here's my piece of investigative journalism where I prove that Lili Wilkinson and me are SOUL MATES.

Love-Shy vs. Preloved

If you click onto the spoiler tag, you get the above list, but with more points. Warning, it DOES contain spoilers! Read at your own risk.

(view spoiler)


meanwhile... earlier on the ranch...

Basically inhaled this in one reading and made me like all glowey. Lili Wilkinson, finally, welcome to my heart.
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Reading Progress

08/23/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-15 of 15) (15 new)

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Amanda YAY!

Shirley Marr I like Penny so far - she has spunk :-)

Amanda Great! I think Penny is awesome and so amusing

Reynje Hooray! I can't wait for this review :)

Shirley Marr :)

How to not come on so strong that Lil Wilkinson might actually fear me? Hmmmmm.

(view spoiler)

Reynje :D (view spoiler) Come on strong! I love it when you do :)

Shirley Marr FOILED!

(view spoiler)

Can't wait to compare opinions!!!!! (so many exclamations!)

Reynje (view spoiler) Yes, I must get onto this one soon... I keep saying that about every book, don't I? But seriously. I should.

Shirley Marr It has Shirley's stamp of approval. Don't you trust Shirley? (view spoiler)

Reynje Rey approves of Shirley's stamp of approval. Yes, she does.

Noelle Shirley I felt the same way about Pink but was super charmed by Penny. And I love how Wilkinson handled Love Shy Guy (in case it's a spoiler who it is...:)) and the resolution of all of that. Great review!! :D

Catie I couldn't agree more with you about first person. If you're writing in first person, I want to feel all the emotions, hear all the thoughts, and experience all the inner-turmoil! :) I really need to finally read something from this lady. Also that list of similarities is down-right eerie.

Amanda Wow, I want to organise for you and Lili to meet up and then I need someone to take a photo because I bet you'll both show up in similar outfits!

Loved your review, Shirley! Penny is the BEST!

Reynje This is so amazing, Shirley! Marry me! :) Actually.. no.. it's clear that you and Lili Wilkinson are soul mates.

I love how you liken Penny to Shelden Cooper - this bodes well :)

Shirley Marr @ Catie - yes, do check this one out! I don't know what you will think of Pink. Heaps of people like it, but that book just annoys me :P

@ Mandee - thanks Mandee. You think Lili will show up in a purple taffetta ballgown too? I better wear the peach coloured one then.

@ Rey - you can be the Maid of Honour. I'll make sure you look like a ball of tulle

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