|One great lie
Author: Caletti, Deb
Charlotte's dream of a summer writing workshop in Venice with her favorite author brings the chance to investigate the mysterious poet in her family's past, meet fascinating new people, and learn truths about her idol.
|Accelerated Reader Information:
Interest Level: UG
Reading Level: 5.10
Points: 14.0 Quiz: 514723
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 04/01/2021 *Starred Review* Charlotte wins a scholarship to a summer writing program in Venice run by her favorite novelist, the magnetic and brilliant Luca Bruni. She will even be staying at his villa on La Calamita, a private island that once sheltered plague victims. Charlotte also hopes to investigate her Venetian ancestor, Isabella di Angelo, a forgotten Renaissance writer whose book of poetry includes “In Guerra,” the world-famous poem by Antonio Tassi. Family legend claims that Isabella was Antonio’s lover, and that he published her poem as his own. But with Charlotte’s dream comes a dark sense of foreboding she cannot shake. Venice is stunning and learning from Luca is everything she dreamed, but La Calamita feels haunted and Charlotte’s fellow students are older. Even as Charlotte meets and falls in love with a young conservation student who helps her search for Isabella, she becomes increasingly uncomfortable with Luca’s over-familiarity. When he crosses the line, it shatters Charlotte’s faith in herself and her talent. Printz Honoree Caletti (A Heart in a Body in the World, 2018) leads her readers through intertwined stories of sexual harassment and misogyny with assurance and a fierce feminism, all while steeping her prose in sensory detail that creates an atmosphere of mystery. In a stunning finale, amid the floodwaters of the acqua alta, Charlotte finds Isabella’s truth and, most importantly, the inspiration to persevere. - Copyright 2021 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 07/23/2021 Gr 9 Up—In Italy for an elite writing fellowship, Charlotte, a recent high school graduate, is devastated by the firsthand discovery that her favorite author is using the program to groom and assault female fellows. From the beginning of the book, the narrator makes Luca Bruni's intentions clear before Charlotte herself understands them. This structure means that the plot does not build toward a salacious plot twist—it builds toward awareness, and how that new information is received by Charlotte's family, fellows, teachers, and the literary world that idolizes male geniuses with "complicated" legacies. These writing choices result in a work that is respectful and restrained yet powerful and emotional. While Caletti's book is certainly not the first to address power, grooming, and gray areas of consent (with an additional layer of economic control), it is an extremely effective and layered look at the topic. The introspective and quiet narrative is beautifully written, with rich sensory details and nuanced explorations of sexuality, artistic motivation, loneliness, and jealousy—including Charlotte's self-awareness about her own desire for Bruni's attention. The protagonist's overarching search in Italy for historical information about her ancestor, a female poet, mirrors her reckoning with Bruni's legacy—underlining that the lasting impacts of assault and abuse are not only borne by the survivors themselves, but also by future generations who will know nothing of the beautiful and necessary voices of women who were silenced. VERDICT A first purchase for libraries serving teens.—Susannah Goldstein, The Brearley Sch., New York City - Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.