Tuesday, March 31, 2009

You should read it: Alix & Valerie by Ingrid Diaz

Alix & Valerie (2008) is the debut novel by writer Ingrid Diaz. Diaz was born in Puerto Rico, but currently resides in Lyon, France, where most of the time she can be found behind her computer.

When she is not busy writing fiction or recaps for eurOut, Diaz spends her time blogging about Grey's anatomy and gaming for b5media, and being a smart ass on Twitter (@dreams_).

The novel tells the story of Alix Morris, a 20-year-old theatre and film student with an obsession for Aerosmith, black clothing, and her straight best friend. For the last seven years, Alix has been in love with her best friend, who is about to get married. Needless to say, this hasn’t been easy and Alix is not at all happy about the upcoming wedding.

Then she meets Valerie Skye, an outgoing, intriguing, and wisecracking girl, who turns her world upside down. The crush Alix has nurtured for her straight friend for all those years, doesn’t compare to the feelings that Valerie bring out in her.

Little does Alix know, that Valerie has a secret past and is not quite who she seems. Will Alix and Valerie be able to make their relationship work, or is there too much baggage in their way?

I love this book, so much so that I want to marry it and have its babies. I don’t even want to have kids, but for this book, I’d make an exception. I was a bit worried beforehand that I wouldn’t like the novel. Not that I’d expected it to be bad, but because I thought it would suck having to write a negative review about a book of someone you know.

I needn’t have worried, as Diaz had me at the first sentence. I am not kidding. Ok, the first three sentences of the novel to be exact, in which Alix begs her straight best friend not to make her wear a pink bridesmaid dress.

I thought it was both hilarious and very recognizable. After the first chapter, I was hooked. Why? Two reasons: the style in which this novel is written and the likeability of the main character.

It’s hard to explain a writing style, at least it is for me, but what I like in particular is that it is fast paced and funny. Yes, I know, that isn’t very helpful, you are just going to have read the book yourself to find out what I mean. Let me just say that I enjoyed the writing style almost as much as the actual content, maybe even more.

That is really saying something, because the content was great. This novel tells such a wonderful love story, with enough drama, intrigue and complications to keep it interesting.

I found parts of the story so recognisable, it was like falling in love for the first time all over again. My story wasn’t like Alix’s story, but the description of Alix’s feelings, and the dumb things she says, thinks and does, were so familiar.

I had forgotten what it felt like to be in love with your best friend, or to be so into someone you are too scared and nervous to do or say anything about it. This novel brought back all those feelings.

The whole time I was rooting for Alix, identifying with her so much, even though we are really not that much alike. Well, apart from the fact that we are both smart asses. And big dorks.

Was there anything I didn’t like about this novel? Sure there was, but those were rather minor things. For example, the novel is divided into three sections; Alix’s perspective, Valerie’s perspective and in the final part the perspective keeps changing from Alix to Valerie.

I found the latter kind of confusing, it made me feel a little schizophrenic to keep switching perspectives. Also, I would have preferred a different ending, but that’s just my weird taste.

To sum up, Alix & Valerie is a wonderful novel about falling in love that should be in every queer girl’s bookcase. Maybe even in everyone’s bookcase. Buy your copy today from Amazon or at your local bookstore. I promise you won’t regret it.

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