Saturday, June 29, 2013

Book Review | Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn't Have)

Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have) by Sarah Mlynowski
June 2011 by HarperTeen
368 pages
Amazon + Good Reads 
4/5 stars

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

If 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 thing-she-shouldn't-have-done at a time."
-Good Reads

Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have) stands as yet another success story in my quest for "Perfect Summer Reads." Although the premise sounds a tad outlandish and over the top (two teenage girls successfully lie to their parents and live alone for half of a year), Mlynowski was able to execute it in a believable fashion. More often than not, I feel as though I need to suspend reality when reading contemporary YA - either the parents are just too absent or the characters get into incredibly ridiculous shenanigans - but I didn't have to for this one. I just kind of nodded my head, said "Okay," and went with it.
(Seriously, though - if you are an author and want to write stories about young adults with zero chaperons... just set your story in college... you heard it here first!)

That being said, this book was light and fun with just a sprinkle of serious development put into the mix. April has a lot of fun in her few months parent free and a lot of times, I was laughing out loud. There were also moments of seriousness in which the girls were forced to accept that they were probably too young to be living on their own without hands on help from a parental figure. Oh, and the boy drama... Oh, the boy drama. This is the key ingredient to making a perfect summer read for me... you have to have good romantic drama and Ten Things delivered.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was written in a series of flashbacks mixed with the present to give well rounded view of April and the situations that she was dealing with. Mlynowski teetered on the edge of the plot being just too ridiculous for a couple of teens but actually was able to make it believable. All in all, if you're looking for a read similar to The DUFF by Kody Keplinger, definitely give Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have) a read - I adored it!


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