Publication Date: December 20, 2012
Book one of the YA/New Adult Choisie series by the author of Emi Lost & Found!
When she was four, a generous couple welcomed orphan Olivia Sophia into their lives. As she grew up, her parents made good decisions for her, raising “Livvy” to be an intelligent and creative young girl. Now sixteen, three people influence many of her choices: her first love, her second father, and a third man who speaks to her through his artwork.
Livvy’s father is practical and steadfast; even-tempered and quietly observant. She’s an artist who acts on her emotions and thrives on attention. Unhappy with their differences– and misunderstanding her father’s methods– Livvy chooses to focus on the similarities she shares with an enigmatic painter from her mother’s past. Her overactive imagination leads her down an obsessive path– one that only stands to hurt everyone around her.
The distraction of a new boyfriend has the potential to end her search and reunite her family, but his involvement in her life could be just as devastating, taking Livvy away from her father for good.
Mature YA for limited sensual content.
True or False. If Lisa loves angsty books and Lori Otto writes angsty books, Lisa loves Lori Otto’s books. Answer: TRUE!!!!! Now, if this question were asked in a mathematics class, the answer might be different, but for all intents and purposes it is TRUE in this case.
In the Emi Lost and Found series, we are introduced to Livvy (Olivia) at the end of Never Look Back. She is a 3+ year old orphan that becomes part of Emi and Jack’s family. Contessa fast forwards to Livvy at 15 years old.
True to Lori’s writing style, she provides just enough descriptiveness to engage you, but leaves just enough out for your mind to fill in the blanks. She has an amazing talent in getting you emotionally invested in her characters whether you agree with their behavior or not. She writes them to be real human beings, not some unrealistic version of a person whom most people will never encounter in actual life.
So, what can we say about Livvy and Contessa. Livvy is 15 and behaves like most 15 year olds do. She craves independence and lashes out at those who not only love her the most, but those she decides are not as worthy to be in her life as she deems. Does anyone recognize this teenage behavior? As she approaches her 16th birthday, the date which her parents say she can date, we meet Jon.
The relationship between Livvy and Jon is not written the way most YA romances are. There are no quick leaps or rash decisions. There is more at stake between these two than a girl or boy next door type of story and they know it. While certain behaviors which are indicative to their age occur, i.e. lying to parents, pushing boundaries, saying hurtful things to people they love, Jon and Livvy are a blend of overly responsible for their years to remarkably selfish which is common for teens.
The high society girl and a boy from the wrong side of town has you loving and questioning them both at different times in the story. From a parental perspective, the problems, responsibilities, appearances and etc. are all written extremely lifelike and believable. Memories of raising my own teen daughter came rushing back in certain passages and exchanges in the book.
I truly enjoyed Contessa and seeing the continuation of the Emi and Jack story, with Nate’s character blended in. Adding the burgeoning relationship of Livvy and Jon and this is another must read series from Lori.
After an exhilarating, collaborative writing project, Lori L. Otto had an idea for an original novel. The characters and their rich stories would keep her awake at night, and even with barely any sleep, she felt more alert and alive than she had in years. Her days off were spent in cafés, sandwich shops and bookstores, feverishly trying to get all of the details out of her head and onto paper.