Ten Things We Did
Ten Things We Did by Sarah Mlynowski
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I can’t help but think, in the aftermath of reading ‘Ten Things We Did”, that I’m reading the book version of a typical teen chick flick, a la “Can’t Hardly Wait” or “She’s All That” or something where it takes a teen’s fantasy situation and totally runs with the premise. Sure, this is a prime title for teen chick-lit, down to the chapter titles being the same as the ten things April gets herself into that she technically shouldn’t have.

Elements of a teen chick lit book (or at least this one) seem to apply:

Ditzy heroine: April (who manages not to be able to start a car right and finds grocery shopping strange…), check!

BFF who’s a bad influence, but ultimately does care for the heroine: Vi, check!

Incomprehensibly cute pet: A cat named Donut, check!

Discussions about boys/males and an objective to have sex: double check! (considering this book does focus on the sex aspect quite a bit)

Parents/authority figures returning when they’re not expected, resulting in a really close call: check!

Realization that the heroine’s dream scenario is not all that it’s cracked up to be: double check!

It’s a wild ride and a fluffy read in spurts, but I’m not sure that I was all that enamored with it when I consider the aftermath – it was just okay. The book is written in bite sized chunks of sections within chapters that give April’s attempts to stay grounded when she moves into her best friend’s house after convincing her parents to let her stay during the school year to avoid moving to Cleveland. Of course, April’s parents don’t know that Vi’s mother won’t be there because she’ll be working in Chicago, which means the two are unsupervised. This solidifies her goal to make the most of her situation, including having sex with her long-time boyfriend Noah.

But as one could imagine, there’s a lot of craziness to be had in April’s grappling with her newly found freedom, and it isn’t as rosy as she thought it would be, as she comes to some hard realities in the mix of things, and comes to terms with things in her past that lead up to the present realities. None of it ever gets too heavy, and the cliches are rather prominent, but if you’re not coming into the book with many expectations, it’s not a bad read. It was worth reading through once, and I liked the character voice of April throughout the work even if she made me roll my eyes on several occasions. Even managed to snort a few times at the humor.

Overall, I think the audience who would most like this book are those who appreciate teen chick lit that doesn’t stray too much from the formula, and manages to have some cute aspects in it, if you can stomach a little of the craziness (and sometimes weird plot) that ensues.

Overall: 2.5/5

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