Friday, October 7, 2011

Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have) by Sarah Mlynowski

ISBN: 978-0061-7012-45

Publisher: HarperTeen

Source: Library

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

Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have) was one of those books I found while perusing the New in Young Adult bookshelf at the library. I hadn't read a contemporary non-issue-based young adult book in awhile. This one had a good concept, so I decided to give it a go.
In this book, Mlynowski tells the story of April, a girl that ends up living with her friend Vi while trying to deal with the emotional damage from her parents' divorce, a slightly tumultuous relationship with her boyfriend Noah, and the addition of new friends in her life. April was a likable protagonist--I find that in some contemporary YA books the characters can be too focused on their relationship problems. April gave equal weight to all of her issues--including her feelings of abandonment, the idea of losing her virginity, and attempting to save her cat--all while keeping up a good sense of humor and reality.
I found her issues with her boyfriend Noah to be incredibly real, for lack of a better term. He wasn't the devil incarnate, he was just a scared teenage boy. Most of the characters surrounding April were well thought out and necessary to the story, rather than being afterthought additions.
Marissa was the only character that I felt lacked depth. She was supposed to be April's best friend, but I felt that I could have seen more of their friendship. I felt like I was being told about their friendship rather than shown evidence, whereas all of the other relationships spoke for themselves.
I also found that the "ten things" aspect fell by the wayside just a little bit. I barely noticed the "things" being the labels on each chapter, which probably says more about me than the book. However, I wish I had noticed them more.
Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have) is a great contemporary YA read. Mlynowski created an awesome story about a girl just trying to find her independence amongst her friends while living away from her family.

Rating: 4 - the book was good.

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