Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn't Have) by Sarah Mlynowski

Publisher: Harper Teen
Age: Young Adult
Species: Human
Rating: 3.5/5
Interest: Plot/Nice Cover/ Book Buzz

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 apart . . . one thing-she-shouldn't-have-done at a time. (Summary from goodreads.com)

Consequences. That single word has become nearly profane in reference to young adult literature. In books about real teenagers especially, the word has become filthy. Either there are no consequences for character's bad decisions or they spend an entire book making up for just one. There usually isn't a balance. While I love not having to read about the complications of groundings and chores, I still don't feel like the characters should get off scott free all the time. One of the things I loved about Ten Things We Did was that there was a reaction for every action. Even in this ridiculously improbable story, characters got what they had coming to them and I was overjoyed about it.

April was your average, sweet high school student. She was funny and not at all hard to read. However, the girl seriously needs to work on her decision making processes and trusting her instincts (hence the title.) I liked April well enough, but wasn't very interested in her. The utter faith and naivety she displayed around her boyfriend turned me off. I understand that she was in love with him and it was hard for her to see past that to what Nate was really like. However I really wished she hadn't spent so much time on that idiot instead of being with a guy who thought she hung the moon in the sky.

Violet was a slight more interesting. I will confess that I think the story might have been better or maybe a bit more captivating if told from her point of view. I was drawn to her trickster spirit more than anything. The way she jerked around the guy she liked had me sighing in irritation. She liked him, she had sex with him, she clearly wanted to be more than friends and she simply did not get it for the longest time. I loved the fact that Violet had a little bit more sense than April in regards to sex. She at least made sure they got birth control and condoms and chewed out April for unsafe sex. While Violet was not the voice of reason by any means, I did end up liking her more than April in the end.

All of the other characters didn't have a very lasting impact on me. I loved the sweet and supportive Hudson and his brother. They always cheered me up and made me laugh. I was rooting for them the entire time. Everyone else from April's parents to her friends, her boyfriend and the random strangers popping up only seemed to aggravate the situations (and me) or take up space. I really could have done without them. All of them.

The most ridiculous aspect of the story was money. I admit I'm a modest girl with a good, but not rich upbringing. The amount of money that April was receiving each month was staggering. I could never be trusted with that much a month at that age. I'd spend all of it on books, junk food and cable. So, that weirdly would always manage to pull me out of the story to just go "HOW DOES HE TRUST HER WITH SO MUCH MONEY, BUT STILL GIVES HER A 9PM CURFEW?" In my humble opinion, if you aren't trusted enough to be out past 9 PM on any given weeknight, you should not be responsible for around $1,000 a month, just sayin'.

Ten Things is a great book to use as an escape for a couple of hours. It's not too heavily serious and mainly it's laughably insane with all the plots and things the characters shouldn't have done. A great escape, but possibly not the best book I'll read this year. Definitely a good one day beach read for people who want something light and fluffy.

Teaser Lines: "How much wood could a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck chlamydia?"

Happy Reading,


  1. This book was great! The format it was written in was a bit annoying, but other than that I love it. The audience would be a high schooler. Any younger or older probably wouldn't like it.

    1. Yes, the book is geared many towards teens in high school. I still was able to enjoy it as a college student though. I think younger teens are definitely reading it more than the older ones. They can relate to it easier, I'm sure. :)


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