by Ellen Wittlinger
You don't have to have read Hard Love by Ellen Wittlinger to understand this companion novel, but if you want more of the background on the characters of Marisol and Gio, take a look. Love & Lies takes place a few months after the events of Hard Love, Marisol has decided to defer college for a year, live with her friend Birdie, work as a waitress, and write a novel. At work Marisol meets Lee, a newly out lesbian who has a crush on her, but Marisol's more interested in her writing teacher, the beautiful and worldly Olivia Frost. To her surprise, Olivia returns Marisol's affections and is wildly enthusiastic about her writing, giving her effusive praise in front of the whole class (which happens to include Gio, who used to be in love with Marisol). As they embark on an affair, Marisol realizes that everything isn't what it seems, and she'll have to get herself out of the tangle of deception in order to figure out who is being honest with her and what she really wants.