Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have)
Ten Things We Did by Sarah Mlynowski
Source: free Advance Reader's Copy from GoodReads' FirstReads program for my honest review.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
If I am perfectly honest, I actually bought it when it first came out in hardcover. I hadn't gotten around to reading it yet, but once I was the proud owner of not just one, but two copies, I knew it was time to read the darn thing already and took it on vacation with me. It was fairly light and perfect reading for a few days at the beach.
The main character April (somehow) manages to convince her father to let her live with her friend Vi instead of moving halfway across the country with him and his new wife. I had to suspend my disbelief a little bit here, because I can't realistically believe she really pulled this off. The same father who enforced a 10PM curfew (even on weekends, holidays, & vacations), was awfully quick to cooperate with this new living situation, despite the fact that he never actually spoke to Vi's mother in person. (Never would have happened in my family, just saying.)
The book then proceeds to follow April and Vi's adventures and misadventures living on their own. One of the big ones is having sex. I had to remind myself that these characters are teenagers and that it is quite realistic to be preoccupied with boys, sex, and relationships at that age. Most of the first half of the book, April is constantly thinking about and debating having sex for the first time with her long-time boyfriend. After many chapters of this, it really started to get annoying (and I really started to dislike the boyfriend), but again I remind myself -- they're teenagers!
April's complicated relationship with her parents and her struggle between wanting to be independent and missing/needing her family is also very true to life. She's at the age when every kid has that internal battle and I think those emotions are portrayed extremely well. The very fact that she starts to admit she misses her family shows how much April matures over the course of the book. Even though she is deceiving her father, being on her own really does teach her a lot. Her friend Vi can be irritating at times, but in a lot of ways they help each other grow up and face a lot of their own issues and demons.
And I do need to give Sarah some major credit for addressing several important issues that affect many teens including divorce, cheating, STDs, birth control, and the difficulties of being on your own for the first time, without being preachy about it. Despite all the things April and Vi get away with, there are plenty of times when their actions result in real consequences, which helped bring this book around for me.