Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn’t Have) by Sarah Mlynowski
HarperTeen June 2011
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn’t Have) is every teen’s dream come true….living with your best friend while you are in high school with no parental figure around whatsoever. Our main character April lives the dream for a semester as she and her best friend Vi have managed to convince her dad, who is moving to another state in the middle of a school year, that it is a good idea for April to finish out the semester there. The catch? Vi’s mom travels for work and will not be around at all. You can imagine the shenanigans that would have happened had your teen self been in this situation…and they do. AND THEN SOME.
I undoubtedly LOVED this book. It was a hilarious contemporary read that was just perfect for the summer. Mlynowski certainly knows how to write the kind of contemporary YA novels that I love — realistic, humorous, authentic to the teen voice, light yet with substance. And did I mention this book cracked me up?? The writing was just sharp and witty and the dialogue was perfectly delivered. Not to mention, I really really LOVED April and found her to be a wonderful main character and VERY relatable.
I know, the premise might be a bother at first and seem SO unrealistic that this would happen..that the stars would align for their lies to work out right and that Vi’s mother would not be at home nor care that they were on their own and that April’s dad would ACTUALLY leave his daughter to live with a friends family and not suspect that something fishy was going on. Get past that and you’ll be fine. It’s so funny because the way in which they go about setting all of this up is TOTALLY stuff I did back in the day. It’s just this tangle of lies and stories you have to keep up and so immediately I was able to look past the ease of which the scenario unfolded because I know sometimes how easy it was to sneak around on a smaller scale — ie saying you were spending the weekend with a friend and have them cover for you. Also, I feel like I knew A LOT of mom’s like Vi’s who worked a lot and were way laid back and trusting about things. So, unlike some, the fact that the parents were so easily out of the picture didn’t bother me so much.
I love the balance that was struck in this book. It wasn’t all fun and crazy times with no consequences because clearly, as you’ll read, April discovers some consequences to some of her actions. I think the tone of the book really helps delve into some of these important issues that are addressed (ahem..LOTS about teen sex!) and is much less in your face and preachy. Not only that but I really appreciated the fact that it DID show the downside to the dream of growing up and having complete freedom before it is your time. I thought that the author really showed, through April, how we truly still need to depend on the support, wisdom and direction from our family to help us come of age. Mlynowski pulled this all together really well and made for a read that simultaneously had me peeing my pants in a fit of laughter (ok I didn’t REALLY pee my pants!) and contemplating the world of hurt I felt as a teen trying to grow up too fast…although all the stupid “things I shouldn’t have done” made the journey worth it!
My final thought: Ten Things We Did was a delightfully fun read that tackled some issues in a heartfelt yet HILARIOUS way. If you like smart and funny contemporary YA that will make you seriously DIE laughing, surprise you and find you thinking back to all those things that your parents STILL don’t know you did..this would be a great pick!
What did you think if you’ve read it? What did you think about April’s BIG consequence to her actions? I know I certainly was shocked.
And for fun (for those who have read or haven’t): any things you did in high school or college that you probably shouldn’t have done?? I want to hear the crazy stories!!