Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Review: Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have)

Title: Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have)
Sarah Mlynowski
Release Date:
June 7, 2011

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. 

Ten Things we Did (and Probably Shouldn’t Have) is super fun. I suspected as much based on the title and synopsis, but I was surprised to find that the story is also quite sweet. April’s adventures – including the adoption of an adorable kitten named Donut, frequent parties, sex, and purchasing a flamingo-pink hot tub named Hula – are as ridiculous as they are hilarious. Fortunately, the craziness of April’s lifestyle is grounded by her normality, realistic struggles with interpersonal relationships, and family issues.
Ten Things we Did (and Probably Shouldn’t Have) contains some very touching, emotional moments relating to April’s scattered family and abandonment issues. It never approaches tearjerker territory, thanks in large part to the humour and sense of teenage debauchery that infuses each sentence, but the depth and development of its characters keeps the book from being merely a fluffy, funny attention-diverter. I also liked the cutely creative narrative quirks Sarah Mlynowski integrated into the book, such as random mini-flashbacks and aptly-named chapter titles summarizing the ten things April and her friends did (and, you know, shouldn’t have).
The romance is fairly predictable. It’s definitely cute, I liked the “mystery” surrounding one half (third?) of the love triangle, but there seems to be too little build-up for what happens at the very end of the novel. Nevertheless, Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn’t Have) is endlessly entertaining, with an endearingly teenage narrator, a refreshing lack of stereotypical side characters, and quirky-cute writing.
Rating: 4/5
Cover Thoughts: The models' expressions are cute, but I'm kind of indifferent to the cover as a whole; my biggest pet peeve with contemporary young adult covers is that there's nothing especially unique or eye-catching that draws my attention, which is sort of the case here.
If you liked Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have), you may enjoy reading:
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
The Summer I turned Pretty by Jenny Han