cover image One Great Lie

One Great Lie

Deb Caletti. Atheneum, $19.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-5344-6317-2

Writing is white high school senior Charlotte’s great love, so receiving a scholarship to a summer writing program run by her favorite author, Luca Bruni, is a dream come true. Its location in Venice is another draw: Charlotte’s ancestor, a poet now known only as a paramour of Renaissance poet Tasso, lived there, and Charlotte wants to know more about her. When she arrives, the workshop is equal parts writing heaven and peer competition. Charlotte, who’s a “polite, anxious sort,” has a writer’s strong observational skills—part of her knows that Luca is inappropriate and invasive; the other part wonders when he’ll notice her. Caletti (Girl, Unframed) links past and present via the through line of men taking advantage of women: confining them to convents, stealing their work, and generally abusing power structures. The incisive and sharply written, place-laden book balances its contemporary #MeToo narrative with Charlotte’s passionate investigation of Renaissance Venice gender politics, and though it’s clear from the start that Luca’s “words will shatter you, but so might he,” watching Charlotte connect past and present while searching for some measure of justice is empowering. Chapter heads reference female Renaissance poets remembered in connection with men. Ages 14–up. [em]Agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (June) [/em]