Thursday, July 25, 2013

Lindsay's Review: Ten Things We Did by Sarah Mlynowski

Then Things We Did by Sarah Mlynowski
Series: None
Genre: Young AdultContemporaryRomance
Pages: 368
Published by HarperTeen on June 7, 2011

Date Finished: July 24, 2013
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

2 girls + 3 guys + 1 house - parents = 10 things April and her friends did that they (definitely, maybe, probably) shouldn't have.

If given the opportunity, what sixteen-year-old wouldn't jump at the chance to move in with a friend and live parent-free? Although maybe "opportunity" isn't the right word, since April had to tell her dad a tiny little untruth to make it happen (see #1: "Lied to Our Parents"). But she and her housemate Vi are totally responsible and able to take care of themselves. How they ended up "Skipping School" (#3), "Throwing a Crazy Party" (#8), "Buying a Hot Tub" (#4), and, um, "Harboring a Fugitive" (#7) at all is kind of a mystery to them.

In this hilarious and bittersweet tale, Sarah Mlynowski mines the heart and mind of a girl on her own for the first time. To get through the year, April will have to juggle a love triangle, learn to do her own laundry, and accept that her carefully constructed world just might be falling apart . . . one thing-she-shouldn't-have-done at a time.
This book was not at all what I expected - and in a very, very good way. I thought it would be one of those teen books you pick up, enjoy, read once and then forget about it. However, I was wrong. And am I ever glad.

First of all, I've never, ever read a book like this before. The plot about sixteen year old April moving in with her best friend Vi instead of moving away with her father is entirely unique. Even better? Vi's mom is away on work and April's dad has no idea. The girls use fake email accounts to email both parents, making them think they're emailing each other. And with a bank account topped up monthly by her father, April has a healthy supply of spending money.

Personally, I think anyone can relate to April. She's dealing with some family issues that underline how she reacts to situations, but on top of that she's a high school student trying to discover who she is and grow into herself. Between personal struggles, curiosity about sex and feelings she can't control, April is the perfect character to relate to and I really enjoyed reading about her.

I don't think there was one character I didn't enjoy in the book. Vi is hopelessly unique, and though at first I was a little unsure about her, I grew quickly to love her (and her middle of the night workouts). Noah, April's boyfriend, was someone I had trouble liking in the present flow of the book. There always seemed to be something off about him that I couldn't place. However in the flashbacks of April's romance with him, he was such a sweetheart who I really wanted to smother and hug. I could go on and say what I liked about each of the characters, but I'll stop here. There is a lot of them, and each one was very real to me. It's as if they were real people because they were so well thought out and lifelike. I enjoyed reading about them because I felt like it was real.

What I enjoyed about how this book was written (other than the wittiness) was the lack of chapters. There are ten sections to the book, one for each number on the list of things April did (and shouldn't have done.) But there are titles every few pages to start a new point in time, memory or situation, which I thought was interesting. I actually enjoyed reading about it that way.

Something I didn't - and still don't like - is the cover. Why do publishers think that we need people kissing or almost kissing on the cover? There are already so many books with them. And on top of that, I imagined the characters nothing whatsoever like they are displayed on the cover, and the image of them there taints my view of them.

This entire book was very well written and I'm so impressed at how much I enjoyed something that I didn't think I would. Or at least, would this much. Though hilarious at times, I felt like there was a sad undertone to the whole book, as if I was feeling what April was feeling in her everyday life. Also, I found that the many situations the main character encountered were very real and the author tackled some hard issues that teens - and adults alike - face in their everyday lives.

I truly enjoyed this book and could gush at how much I did forever, but instead I'll end this here and go reread it. I recommended this book because I think it helps puts things into perspective about growing up - even if you think you already have.

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