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  • Writer's pictureLilac Mills

Lily by Any Other Name by Julie C. Gardner

Happy release day!!!


17-year-old Lily Anderson is ready to wrap herself in a big red bow and give Zach Hewitt the greatest gift in the history of Christmas: Her. But when she pulls a pair of booties from her stocking and learns her forty-year-old mother is pregnant, Lily finds herself adrift, unsure of Zach’s commitment. Lily hopes Zach will anchor her with promises of love. Unfortunately, his chaotic home-life makes him afraid of those three little words; and Maddie Franklin-in her Amazing Technicolor Dream Thong–makes sure Zach can have her whenever he wants. With the help of her best friend Sarah, Lily plots to secure her place in Zach’s heart. But after a series of awkward rejections, Lily loses faith in her dream boyfriend, in herself, even in Sarah. That’s when Lily turns to Adam Connolly, a transfer student whose lash-y eyes and comfortable silences make her question who it is she wants and what she needs. But Adam’s support can’t help her the day Lily discovers her parents’ game-changing secret. Faced with the truth, Lily must decide how to deal with her family’s past, take hold of her own future, and accept that there are many names for love. Don’t bother making wishes; what you get is more than enough.

Here's an except to whet your appetite!

“You know what?” says Sarah from my bathroom. “I just realized who you look like since you darkened your hair.” She pokes her head out and grins. “Jennifer Lawrence.”

“Seriously? Wow.”

“Okay. Maybe you’re a little bit less pretty. But that’s still really good. Katniss is crazy-hot.” Sarah returns to the mirror and fluffs her orange hair. “The best I can hope for is a less pretty Ginny Weasley.”

“But Ginny Weasley’s beautiful,” I say. Sarah laughs.

“You would think that. Harry Potter nerd.”

“Well, I hope Zach agrees with you,” I tell her. “About me being pretty, I mean. Not the Harry Potter part.” I tug at my low-cut neckline. I’m not used to this much cleavage.

“Are you kidding?” Sarah turns and looks me up and down. “You’re gorge. And not the kind of gorge that means you ate too much. I mean the kind of gorge like gorge-ous.”

“You think?”

“Absolutely. Plus those wedge heels are going to make your legs look killer. And that green dress? Is on fire. Like Emerald City. I mean it. Even the Great and Powerful Madison Franklin will be jealous.”

Oof. Madison Franklin. I’d been trying to forget her. With that raven hair and those Bambi eyes, she’s desired by everyone at CHS. They either want to be her or be with her. And rumor has it, Zach was. At Devon Thorpe’s Sweet Sixteen.

“I hate that name, you know.” My voice quivers. “Please don’t say it out loud.”

“I’m sorry,” Sarah says. “I forgot.” She puts a hand on my shoulder. “But you need to remember that Maddie’s not Voldemort. And Zach didn’t ask her to Homecoming. He asked you.”

“Only after he aced his SATs.”

“Yes. But he kissed you before he took the test.” Sarah grins. “Why not rub that in her face?”

I sit on my bed to fasten the straps on my sandals. “Because that’s not who I am, for one thing. And for another, I don’t want to tempt her. If the Dark Lord-ess wants Zach, she can probably get him.”

Sarah nods. “I understand,” she says.

But I wish she’d tell me I’m wrong.


YA/NA isn't my usual read, but I must admit this was thoroughly enjoyable! Yes it dealt with teenagers and teenage issues (which is what you'd expect, given the genre), but there was a certain maturity to the writing which appealed to me. Aside from the normal problems of boyfriends, leaving home to go to university, peer pressure etc, there were some other issues which were rather unexpected, and it is these that makes the story stand out - and no, I'm not going to say what they are! You'll just have to read it!

About the Author

Julie C. Gardner is the author of Letters for Scarlet and Guest List. A native of Southern California, Julie lives in a suburb of LA with her husband, two children, and three dogs. When Julie isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, napping, and finding new excuses not to run. Lily by Any Other Name is Julie’s first Young Adult novel.

To learn more about the author, visit her website,, and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. If you sign up for her newsletter, you’ll receive a sample of her humorous marathon memoir, Running with Pencils.

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