Seventeen year old Alix wakes to the worst news she can imagine- her girlfriend, Swanee, has died of a sudden heart attack. Still reeling from her grief, Alix finds Swanee's phone in her room. On it she finds dozens of messages from someone called "L.T.", professing love and begging Swanee to respond.
Through Swanee's sister, Joss, Alix learns that "L.T." is Liana, Swanee's ex-girlfriend, who turns out not to be an ex after all. Swanee has lied to both of them. Impulsively, Alix responds to Liana's texts, pretending to be Swanee, stringing her along before finally meeting up in person and breaking the news of Swanee's death. The two grow close, but Alix lets Liana think it was Joss who sent the texts which lead her to believe Swanee was still alive for a week after her death. As their relationship deepens, the secret hangs between them threatening to ruin everything.
The author does a great job of getting into the head of a teenager in love, with all the sturm und drang that goes along with that. Alix is convinced that her six week relationship with Swanee is true love and can't see herself ever getting over it. And then she does, within just a few more weeks. The book really captures the emotional intensity of being a teenager, when everything seems all or nothing, now or never. Alix's journey through her grief is a moving one, from being madly in love with her dead girlfriend to coming to recognise the way Swanee manipulated her and the people around her. At times I found Alix a bit hard to like since much of her behaviour comes across as childish and selfish, and the trouble she gets into is largely self-inflicted, but I remember what I was like at that age and try to cut her some slack.While the two main characters are lesbians, the book isn't about the fact that they are gay. It's not about coming out or dealing with homophobia or anything like that. They just happen to be gay, in what is otherwise a pretty standard teen romance. I found that refreshing. The book also addresses the topic of grief, in particular mourning someone who dies young and unexpectedly, and touches on the contrast between healthy and toxic relationships. These darker themes aren't overwhelming though, and overall the book was fairly positive and not too taxing. Lies My Girlfriend Told Me is a teen romance which makes for a quick, light read.
If you enjoy this one you might like Julie Anne Peter's other young adult books, many of which deal with GLBT themes, among other things, such as Luna (2004), which features a male to female transgendered character and Rage: A Love Story (2009) which deals with a lesbian relationship and domestic violence.