Sunday, April 22, 2012

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

Combine two teenagers, one house, absolutely no adult supervision, and a list of some very interesting things that they did (and probably shouldn’t have) and you have the formula for Sarah Mlynowski’s teen novel Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn’t Have).

April’s parents have divorced, her mom has remarried and moved to France, taking her brother with, and her dad has married a new woman who seems less than thrilled to have a teenaged daughter around. However, April has found her niche with a great boyfriend and a solid group of friends, until her dad drops the bombshell that he and his wife are moving and taking April with them. Not at all interested in leaving behind her school, her friends, and most importantly her boyfriend, April devises a brilliant plan. She will move in with her friend Vi and her mom—after all, they have an empty basement that would make a perfect bedroom.

The only thing that the two friends leave out of the equation when pitching the plan to April’s dad is that Vi’s actress mom will be perpetually out of town as she performs in a traveling Mary Poppins production. And so, the first thing on the list of things they shouldn’t do—“lie to our parents”—is put into motion.

April and Vi begin living as teenage roommates and the list of things that they did, and probably shouldn’t have, continues to grow as they navigate their way through being a teenager and living on their own. As expected there are a few crazy parties, and the occasional missed day of school, but there are also some slightly more interesting items that make the list, such as buying a hot tub, and spending $3000 on a donut (which makes way more sense when you actually read the book).

On a more serious note, the novel also touches on issues, such as the changing nature of friendship, having sex for the first time, relationship problems, and coping with divorce and a changing family dynamic. While some of these issues are more fully fleshed out than others, the novel still has some value beyond being a fun and fast read.

This book certainly deserves its recognition as one of YALSA’s 2012 Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers. Mylnowski has crafted an engaging and fast-paced read that can easily be recommended to a teen girl looking for something she can relate to. I would recommend this book for girls in 9th-12th grade, but I could not see it being used in the classroom other than as a great addition to a classroom library. Overall, I say this book is worth a read, and that can go on a list of things you did (and probably should have).


ashallard said...

This book sounds like such a good and cute read. As we have all experienced that "the parents are out of the house, now what can we do feeling." I like that while it might touch on some fun events that wouldn't necessarily happen to the average teen, but that it does talk about sex, divorce, and family dynamics. This is something that all teens have to deal with at some point and it is often alot easier to read about it rather than talk about it. I personally would probably still pick up a book like this just for a quick read that can make me smile and learn a thing or two.

FFoster said...

This review has succeeded in intriguing me into considering reading this book. I want to know how teenagers could possibly live by themselves; I want to know that list of what they did or did not do; Most importantly, I want to know how in the world $3000 was spent on a donut. This looks like a fun read, but I wonder if there is a moral to the story.

KMilsap said...

This books also seems to offer many topics for discussion as it deals with many of the issues that teens deal with. I too would like to get my hands on a copy of this books!