Newsweek magazine just released their list of the best books of 2019 so far, which includes internationally bestselling author Lang Leav. Her most recent collection of poetry, titled “Love Looks Pretty on You,” tackles a myriad of themes relating to the struggles commonly faced by humankind, including but not limited to love, heartbreak, healing and self-empowerment. These deep-rooted themes are also prevalent in her preceding novel, “Sad Girls.”
Although she is renowned for her poetry collections, Leav’s only fiction novel to date has connected with the minds of many since its release two years ago. It quickly found its way into readers’ hearts as a timeless favorite because of the way Leav narrates struggle.
The author’s exploration into the world of narrative writing is an intriguing experience for fans of her poetry, because it offers a more detailed look inside the mind of an exceptionally skilled artist. Leav is a woman with several talents, including fashion design and painting. Her love of creating art fuels her passion and has made her extremely well-accomplished over time.
While she is consistently able to deliver messages of hope and self-acceptance within her poetry, “Sad Girls” proves how the insightful writer can also connect with deeper parts of her mind and creativity. The result is an exciting plot about layered characters on journeys toward personal growth and discovery.
In “Sad Girls,” Leav delicately illustrates the effect that mental afflictions can have on the individual as well as those around them. Through the presentation of the main character, Audrey, Leav displays how anxiety and panic attacks negatively control a person’s life. Audrey is an aspiring writer, and readers perceive how she improves herself among the difficult encounters that come her way regarding knowing one’s self-worth, especially when it comes to friends, family, lovers and advancing one’s career.
Despite having several opportunities to succeed, Audrey allows her worries to shape her decisions. It’s only when she faces her fears that she discovers her potential and the amazing opportunities that await behind doors she must open and explore for herself.
One of the biggest takeaways from the text is how unpredictable mood disorders and the inevitable bad days that follow can be. Leav exemplifies the various ways that people deal with grief through the differences between the experiences of Audrey and the enigmatic new boy in town, Rad. They have both gone through similar, yet separate, pain in life, and their encounters with each other impact them both indefinitely.
Through meeting each other, Audrey and Rad both find someone who believes in them more than they believe in themselves, and Leav’s depiction of this hope another person can foster is both romantic and heartwarming. Rad and Audrey feel drawn together instinctively and develop a meaningful connection, leaning on each other through difficult times.
In an interview, Leav states that she believes “the choices we make with love really, really shape our lives.” It’s no secret that her real-life partner and fellow writer, Michael Faudet, is a muse for her work. The two artists met online when Faudet purchased one of Leav’s artworks, and he’s been a significant part of her success ever since.
In her novels, Leav writes about love — the highs and lows it puts us through — and the way the journey is worth it because of the lessons it teaches us and the wiser person it inspires us to become. Relationships are an established theme in all of her works, and “Sad Girls” mainly appeals to romance readers.
When “Sad Girls” first came out in 2017, it received criticism for the often mysterious actions of the characters and its frequently jumpy storyline. Upon rereading the book two years later, I found a new sense of appreciation for the ways Leav constructs the story. The gaps that initially seem like blank spaces make Leav’s writing more profound and thought-provoking. It offers a sense of subjectivity and room for the reader to interpret the text in many different ways. For example, Leav never reveals the reasoning behind Audrey’s reactions to certain situations and the choices she makes.
By choosing to leave reader’s wondering, Leav builds a story that keeps people guessing about what happens next. Because it was her first attempt at fiction writing, Leav admitted shortly after the release that she wasn’t sure if she’d be able to finish writing a novel.
Writing novels demands an entirely different state of mind than that of writing poetry. “You think about your characters all the time and become embroiled in their fictional lives,” Leav shares. “Even though you have an idea of where the plot is going, your characters can sometimes take you in surprising directions. This was definitely the case for me when writing ‘Sad Girls.’” In comparison to writing poetry, she says that writing novels is significantly harder because “where poetry is pure, absolute pure emotion, with writing a novel you’ve got to be juggling a plot, you have to have something that readers can follow.”
Leav succeeded at her first go-around, and fans are hoping she gives fiction another attempt in the near future.
The awe inspiring and artistic scenes that Leav writes provide the perfect balance of dark and captivating content, hooking readers and making them crave more of her strong voice. Although there are a lot of melancholy undertones in “Sad Girls,” Leav’s message is to never give up, regardless of the hurt you go through, and it resonates with readers on a visceral level.