See 'The Hundred Lies Of Lizzie Lovett' Cover & Read The First Chapter Of This YA Debut

Can a missing person help one girl discover herself? 

In The Hundred Lies Of Lizzie Lovett, a teenage misfit named Hawthorn Creely inserts herself in the investigation of missing person Lizzie Lovett, who disappeared mysteriously while camping with her boyfriend. Hawthorn doesn't mean to interfere, but she has a pretty crazy theory about what happened to Lizzie. In order to prove it, she decides to immerse herself in Lizzie's life. That includes taking her job... and her boyfriend. It's a huge risk — but it's just what Hawthorn needs to find her own place in the world. 

Debut author Chelsea Sedoti was inspired to write the young adult novel after she became obsessed with the story of a missing girl. 

"I didn't know the missing girl. I had nothing in common with her. There was nothing overly mysterious about her disappearance," she tells Bustle in an email. "Yet I found myself obsessively following the news story."

Thus, Hawthorn was born — a teenager who doesn't know when to stop.

"She may be misguided," Sedoti says. "She may be a little too determine to remake the world around her — at any cost. But she's also funny and idealistic and (mostly) well-meaning. As I wrote, Hawthorne's voice took over and a lot of the darkness fell away. In the end, I was left with a book that, I like to think, is pretty hopeful."

Despite the dark subject matter, the book has a surprisingly sunny cover. "The torn up daisy (Lizzie Lovett's favorite flower) is a good indication that not all is right with the puzzle Hawthorn's trying to piece together," Sedoti says. "But against that bright, sunny yellow, you get the idea it's not going to be all doom and gloom along the way."

Bustle is proud to exclusively reveal the cover and first chapter of The Hundred Lies Of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti, out in January 2017. See it below, and read the first chapter of the novel. I promise you'll be hooked on Hawthorn by the end.  

Chapter One.

The first thing that happened was Lizzie Lovett disappeared, and everyone was all, “How can someone like Lizzie be missing?” and I was like, “Who cares?” A few days later, there was talk about Lizzie maybe being dead, and it was still kinda boring, but not totally boring, because I’d never known a dead person before.

After that, I started to get fascinated by the whole situation, mostly because I noticed a bunch of weird stuff. Which was how I figured out Lizzie Lovett’s secret. But I’m probably doing that thing again where I get ahead of myself and skip all over the place, which I’m trying to stop.

So the beginning, or the beginning for me at least, was when I found out Lizzie Lovett was missing. It happened like this: It was Monday morning, and I needed an excuse to stay home. I was dreading school even more than usual, because the Welcome Back dance had been on Saturday, and I was probably the only senior at Griffin Mills High School who didn’t go, and everyone would be talking about it while I sat there thinking, Wow, I’m a loser.

So the beginning, or the beginning for me at least, was when I found out Lizzie Lovett was missing. It happened like this: It was Monday morning, and I needed an excuse to stay home.

I figured I could pretend to be sick and stay home, and by Tuesday, all the dance story swapping would’ve died down. Then no one would ask why I hadn’t gone, and I wouldn’t have to roll my eyes and say, “High school events are so stupid and pointless.” And no one would have to nod like they believed me, even though we all knew it was really because I hadn’t been asked.

But maybe I wouldn’t have to pretend to be sick, because my breakfast seemed more like silly putty than oatmeal and was quite possibly going to make me throw up. “I don’t think I can digest this,” I said, using my spoon to make peaks and valleys.

My mom was washing dishes on the other side of the kitchen and didn’t bother to look up. I tried again. “What’s wrong with pancakes? You could make them organic or vegan or whatever.”

“I’m not having this discussion right now, Hawthorn.”

“Or even better, we could drop being vegan completely, since it’s clearly never going to stick.”

Mom frowned, and I supposed I should shut up if I wanted to get out of school. So I sighed and shoveled a heaping spoonful of oatmeal putty into my mouth. I immediately regretted it, because it was too much food and way too thick, and I wasn’t going to be able to swallow. Or maybe I would, but the food would get stuck on the way down, and I’d choke and die right there at the kitchen table. Which would be a super unpleasant way to go. Food I could barely identify would be my last meal, and at my funeral, my mom would cry and say, “If only I’d made pancakes like Hawthorn wanted.”

On the plus side, I wouldn’t have to go to school. But then everyone would be like, “Oh, poor Hawthorn, she was the only girl who wasn’t asked to the Welcome Back dance, and now she’s dead,” and they’d think I was even more pathetic. I forced myself to swallow. It was maybe, probably, the right thing to do. I glanced at my mom, but she hadn’t even noticed my near-death experience. She was looking dreamily out the window as if there was something fascinating outside and not just the same boring view of the woods.

It was almost time to leave, so I started preparing my speech about it not being in my best interest to attend school that day. But before I could begin, Rush shuffled awkwardly down the hallway toward the kitchen. This immediately got my attention, because usually I’m the awkward one in the family.

Even on mornings when Rush was hungover, he managed to come across as an energetic superjock. The pale face and unfocused eyes and lumbering around were completely abnormal for him. I took a moment to assess the situation. Maybe he was sick. He certainly looked like he had a cold or a virus.

Rush opened his mouth, but no words came out. He seemed unsteady on his feet. Suddenly, I had this thought that maybe the virus was deadly—or worse than deadly. Maybe my brother had been turned into a zombie.

Rush opened his mouth, but no words came out. He seemed unsteady on his feet. Suddenly, I had this thought that maybe the virus was deadly—or worse than deadly. Maybe my brother had been turned into a zombie.

I glanced at my mom to see how she was taking this new development, but she was still lost in whatever world she goes to when she’s ignoring me.

Rush hesitated in the doorway, giving me time to evaluate my options. Obviously, it was up to me to save both me and my mom, which I found slightly unfair. If I was smart, I’d leave her to fend for herself. But considering that she gave birth to me, it wouldn’t be very nice to run off and let her be devoured by her only son.

On the other hand, if I tried to save us both, there was a good chance I’d get bitten in the process, and then I’d have roughly twenty-four hours before I became a zombie too. And from what I’ve read, the process of turning into a zombie is totally painful. Before I could take any kind of action, like trying to chop off Rush’s head, he cleared his throat. I was taken aback. Generally, the undead aren’t big communicators. Or so I’ve heard. My mom looked over, and I could tell she knew something was up.

She put down the plate she was washing. “Rush, what is it?”

I opened my mouth to tell her to keep her distance, but Rush started talking. I could accept a zombie clearing his throat, but talking was entirely out of character. Which meant I’d jumped the gun, and Rush probably wasn’t undead after all. What Rush said, while my mind was still filled with thoughts of zombieism, was, “Lizzie Lovett is missing.”

I was disappointed. My zombie fantasy was ripped away for Lizzie Lovett of all people. I’d never been a member of the Lizzie Lovett fan club and didn’t have much interest in her whereabouts. Not to mention, if my brother really had turned into a zombie, my boring life would’ve become way more exciting. Also, it would have probably gotten me out of school.

My mom said, “She’s missing?”

Rush looked like he might cry. I couldn’t remember the last time that had happened. He sighed and slumped into the seat across from me. My mom left the sink and joined us at the table. We were almost like a normal family having a normal breakfast. Almost. 

“Are you really having an episode over a girl you haven’t talked to in years?” I asked.

My mom gave me an unamused look, then turned to my brother with concern.

“What happened, Rush?”

I could feel my chances of skipping school diminishing. But seriously, I was pretty sure Rush and Lizzie hadn’t seen each other since their graduation.

“Whatever happened, I’m sure she’s fine,” I said. “This is Lizzie Lovett we’re talking about.”

Rush ignored me. He pulled his phone from his pocket and read my mom the texts he’d gotten from one of the guys who’d been on the football team with him, Kyle something-or- other.

Kyle something-or-other used to date Lizzie, which he figured was why Lizzie’s mom called him, even though they’d broken up three years ago, right after their senior year. But Kyle guessed Lizzie’s mom must be calling everyone she’d been close to, just in case. So she called and asked if he’d randomly heard from Lizzie, and of course, Kyle hadn’t, because that would be weird, and she said to let her know if he did, and Kyle said OK and blah, blah, blah.

And that’s how I found out Lizzie Lovett disappeared before it was even on the news.

“But missing from where, Rush?” my mom asked.

While Rush was taking eight million years to answer the question, my mind wandered back to zombies. I enjoyed the thought of my brother as a zombie. I quite frankly found it preferable to his actual personality. That probably meant something was very wrong with our sibling bond. Rush was scrolling through his text messages and still hadn’t answered the question, which was kind of annoying, because I was actually a little curious, which was even more annoying. I kicked him under the table. 

“Seriously. Are you going to tell us what happened or not?”

Rush put his phone down and glared at me. “I don’t know details, OK? Lizzie and her boyfriend were camping, and this morning, he woke up, and she was gone.” 

Silence descended on the kitchen. I decided to say what all of us were certainly thinking. “Probably the most incredible part of the story is that Lizzie Lovett went camping.”

My mom and Rush looked at me like I’d just admitted to bombing a kindergarten, and I realized, possibly, we hadn’t all been thinking that same thing.

My mom reached across the table and took my hand. 

“Hawthorn, I really wish you’d find more compassionate ways to express yourself.”

I was going to explain that I wasn’t trying to be a jerk. I just didn’t believe anything bad could really happen to a girl like Lizzie. That’s not how her life worked. But before I could respond, Rush asked, “Shouldn’t you be in school?”

I was going to explain that I wasn’t trying to be a jerk. I just didn’t believe anything bad could really happen to a girl like Lizzie. That’s not how her life worked.

Traitor. “About that.” I smiled sweetly at my mom. “I was thinking I should probably stay home today.”

“Were you?”

Lizzie going missing had given me a much better excuse than just being sick. “Yeah. To, you know, comfort Rush.”

“Hawthorn, go to school.”

“Seriously?”

Mom’s expression told me she was quite serious. Like she might try to murder me if I made any attempt to resist. Which doesn’t mean I didn’t consider resisting, because I did. I knew it was pointless though. I stood up but didn’t move toward the door. Rush was staring at his phone like he was willing it to ring. As dumb as it seemed to me, he was really worried.

I sort of felt like I should hug him. Maybe tell him I was only messing around, and I was sorry Lizzie was missing, and I was sorry it made him sad. But then I imagined Rush rolling his eyes and pushing me away and me slinking off to school, feeling like the biggest idiot in the world.

So instead, I grabbed my backpack and left my mom and brother sitting at the kitchen table talking quietly. About poor Lizzie Lovett, no doubt.

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