Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ten Things We Did Review

Ten Things We Did (and probably shouldn't have)
by Sarah Mlynowski

The Short Story 
When April's dad and step-mom decide to move the family to Ohio, April absolutely refuses. She doesn't want to leave behind her life, her friends, or Noah, her boyfriend of over two years. So she and her friend Vi concoct a scheme that convinces their parents the two girls should live together. Without adult supervision. Without the adults knowing that. What follows are ten wild things the two do.


Where I Tell A Story
Reading this book was a lot like trying to buy this dress. It's gorgeous. I liked the colors and the fabric and the idea of a fun, summery dress. And then I tried it on. And the dress's designated boob area didn't line up with my ... uh, yeah. And it made me look like I was pregnant (I'm not) and trying to cover it up (also not). So pretty on the rack. On me, a wreck.

Kind of exactly like Ten Things We Did. I wanted to like it. There are parts that are incredibly funny. There's a beauty contest! And the chapter titles/breaks are witty. But it didn't deliver on what I wanted from a book.     

My Two Big Complaints
First, there just wasn't enough character growth for me. No one really changes much, or enough, for my liking. I didn't get the feeling that April thought most things she did were a bad idea. I don't want a preachy book, but I do want characters to admit mistakes. Many choices were presented as the only thing to do under the circumstances, or even the right thing to do. And I felt like she blamed other people rather than accept responsibility for her decisions. 

And that would be fine (I guess), except for the second thing. It felt like this book was fighting with itself. I wasn't sure if it was just supposed to be a light, fun, summer read, or if it was going for a bit of depth and complexity. There are some serious issues in this book: feeling abandoned, infidelity, sex, body image, drinking, etc. I wish the author had either done more or less with them. The issues that came up could have been good opportunities for some character growth, or introspection, or something, but they never really got developed.

The Big Three
Language: intermittent swearing, including a couple f-words
Sex and Stuff: heavy sexual content. Teens discuss and plan having sex, although nothing physical is described. Descriptions of visits to Victoria's Secret and Planned Parenthood
Violence: not an issue

Want a second opinion? Check out this 5 star review from The Reading Housewives of Indiana.

It didn't work for me, but it might be a good fit for someone else. Which is why I'll be giving away my ARC starting Friday as part of the Freedom Giveaway Hop.

4 comments:

  1. Also, in case you're curious, the dress is from Kohls. (Also, yes, I was going to wear it with a shirt).

    If this one sounds interesting to you, but might not be your thing, I'd recommend reading The Ruby Oliver books by E. Lockhart. Funny, light, and plenty of character growth by the fourth book.

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  2. Oh no! I was so hoping this was a good one, in the light summer read genre. I'll try it whenever I can get it at the library. I love the Ruby Oliver books. Thanks for the review!
    Mary, A Book A Day

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  3. Yeah, I think I'll pass on this one. The Ruby Oliver books? I've only read the first (just finished yesterday) but I really liked it. Lots of silliness but lots of growth.

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  4. Mary I'd still give it a look if it sounded interesting to you. ( just wouldn't spend any money.) But seriously, I haven't seen anyone give this a less than glowing review.

    Jenny based on the other books you've reviewed on your blog, I don't know that you'd like this one. But I'm happy you liked the first Ruby book. I thought they got better and better as the series went on.

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