August 08, 2013

Review: Ten Things We Did by Sarah Mylnowski

Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have)
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.
A Long Story Short:
You can of course not change the nature of a contemporary novel, so if these are really not your thing, don't go for it. However, if you do enjoy contemps, this is a good one. A lot more mature than you'd think, very funny, too and just life as it happens to most of us. I was disappointed by the ending, but as the rest was great, I don't really care.
RATING: 3/3 Smarties
 Review for You:
I was surprised by how attached I got to the characters from Ten Things We Did. Seemingly just another fluffy, meaningless contemporary "beach read", I envisioned a few teenage misssteps, alcohol, maybe parties and annoyed neighbours in a suburban area.
What I did not expect were the serious issues and problems that were acknowledged in Ten Things We Did. Also not the characters whom I could all identify with in some way. Well, what I did expect was the super cheesy and unbelievable ending with the "my parents would never, ever do/say that" effect.
But whatever.
Until the last three pages, Ten Things was extraordinarily well done.
I connected with the main character, April, by the second I opened the book. I loved the chapter captions and the headings within the chapters, I loved the writing style and character's voice. In short - I was excited to read the book directly after the first page...which happens not very often for me. The plot took over where the excitement about the beginning left off. Instead of dragging on and on until the real theme of the book started to set in, the author got "straight to the point" which yes, did take a bit of realistic atmosphere away. However, I'd rather have to overlook that than get bored by the first quarter of the novel.
The rest of the novel was carried on just by characters and their development and mostly April's experiences of living on her own meanwhile dealing with friends and family issues like any teenager has to.
I especially liked how - although this was a book without parents  - it still dealt with parents a lot.
April, but also Ivy, one of her best friends, and later also Lucy all revealed to have serious issues with their versions of adults and it was interesting to see them deal with it.
This, but also the things the girls went through with their boyfriends - or boys in general - made Ten Things We Did a lot more mature than I'd first realized.
The way the characters figure out how far they are willing to go with a boy and why and how and under which circumstances was interesting to read about and certainly reassuring and interesting for younger girls.
In the end, there's not that much to tell about Ten Things other than it was a lot better than expected, you will probably really like it a lot and it would be sad if you missed it.

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