Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn't Have) by Sarah Mlynowski. Grades 9-12. HarperTeen, June 2011. 357 pages. Reviewed from ARC snagged at ALA Midwinter.
It started with a lie to her parents (#1). When her dad announces they're moving to Cleveland, April convinces him to let her move in with her friend Vi. Two fake email addresses later, April's dad never has to know that Vi's mom is out of the state on an acting job and not likely to be home any time soon. And pretty soon, that leads to skipping school (#3), buying a hot tub (#4), and throwing a crazy party (#8). Somehow, April's gotten in over her head and suddenly everything she thought she could count on is falling apart. She's going to have to figure out how to put everything together again.
Suspend your disbelief and buy the premise and you're in for a madcap story of first loves, friendship, and one girl figuring things out on her own. I needed something to read for the plane down to New Orleans and this turned out to be the perfect thing - funny chick lit with some meat to it.
First, the funny. The book's divided into little sections with headings that add to the humor. The layout of the book really adds to its humor and I found myself chuckling along as I'm reading. April's mishaps as she tackles living on her own also bring some laughs. She's written very realistically, and the mistakes she makes as she figures out running the dishwasher, grocery shopping, and the joys of pet ownership are the mistakes many of us have probably made.
Now, the meat.
ETA: Hey, I've been alerted that what I'm about to tell you might be a little bit of a spoiler. I still think there's much to enjoy about this book, even if you read the paragraph below, but if you are sensitive to spoilers, be warned!!
Along with living alone, April's dealing with her boyfriend of the past two years, and the decision of whether to lose her virginity to him. She weighs this decision very carefully, plans in advance... and somehow winds up with an STD. I really like that this bit was included because I can't think of any other YA titles (there must be some, right? Help a girl out) that deal with teens getting STDs other than AIDS. I liked Mlynowski's treatment of this topic and safe sex in general and I think it manages to educate without being didactic. (Win!)
I would definitely hand this title to fans of chick lit with a little meat on its bones. Think Sarah Dessen, Ann Brashares, and others in that ilk.
Check out more reviews at Galleysmith, Novel Novice, and Read This Instead.
Ten Things We Did is on shelves now!