Saturday, March 31, 2012

Book Review: Ten Things We Did (That we probably shouldn't have done) by Sarah Mlynowski

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.

Sarah is the author of BRAS & BROOMSTICKS, FROGS & FRENCH KISSES, SPELLS & SLEEPING BAGS and PARTIES & POTIONS—all in the YA ‘Magic in Manhattan’ series, as well as GIMME A CALL and the upcoming TEN THINGS WE DID (AND PROBABLY SHOULDN'T HAVE). Along with Lauren Myracle and E. Lockhart, she also wrote HOW TO BE BAD.

Sarah's books have been translated into twenty-one languages. Originally from Montreal, she now lives and writes in New York City.

My Review:
There's really nothing I don't like about this author. Look at her, seriously. She's accomplished and beautiful and (What really counts) an incredible writer. Ten Things is the first book I've read by her, and I look forward to reading more. The only thing I could possibly ever count against her is the trouble I have trying to figure out how to pronounce her last name.  It's even a gorgeous, unique last name.

Pros of this novel:
What caught me right from the beginning is how realistic the voice of this novel is. It was endlessly entertaining to read something that echoes how I narrate my own life in my head. For some of you, this might be a con, but it doesn't even go overboard. In fact, the only reason you might not like it is if you're a snooty grown up (no offense to non-snooty grown ups).

For example, a 'sophisticated adult-like creature' might think like this:
  • Beginning>Middle>End
The way we were taught to write and think and report playground accidents in grade school.

But someone like me, a 'non-snooty adult who's not really an adult because I refuse to grow up' might think like this:
  • Middle>Right before the middle>Beginning>before the Beginning>something I forgot in the Beginning>back to the middle>End

And that is EXACTLY how this book is structured, which makes perfect sense to me. It's like an engaging television series that only makes sense at the series finale.

Here's a quote from the first page:

"Maybe I should just go back to sleep . . . No! Phone ringing. In bed with not my boyfriend. I managed to get myself out of the futon without disturbing him and—um, where were my pants? Why was I in bed with a guy who was not my boyfriend without any pants?"

Yes, but, would it make a good movie?

I'm adding this little section to my reviews because some of the kids I talk to about reading will review a book by saying " would make a good movie?" It's almost as if that's their language, whether a book will make a good movie, and what kind of movie, and where does it stand on the scale from 1 to ten, One being Rebecca and Ten being Harry Potter.

My answer:

Yes. Cute boys, cute cat, large target audience, and the book is already set up like a movie. I can imagine some of the chapter titles as headlines. For those of you who watch Spongebob (And bless those who don't) it would be like the intermission signs that say "One day later". It would be perfect.

Overall Review: 5/5 stars

Would I add this author to my 'Author Idols' list?
No, I wouldn't. I loved the book, but it isn't burned into my mental hall of fame. In several years, I may still remember my feelings for this book, but I may not remember exactly why (unless, say, I look back on this post.)

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