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Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have) | What YA Reading?

Ana's Rating


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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.

 

I have recently discovered the ebullient brilliance of euphemisms. For example:

Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn’t Have) was not the best novel I’ve read.

For instance, it was not a coming-of-age story of a young woman facing life’s many challenges head on.

It won’t be winning any national merit awards any time soon, nor will it emerge as a classic to which to refer for years to come.

Regardless, I didn’t dislike Ten Things. Now and then everyone needs a break from required reading and a journey into the mindless world of entertainment fiction.

So it was written on the more fictitious side of contemporary fiction– I say this only because I am completely incognizant of parents who would let a sixteen-year-old move in permanently with friends, but correct me if I’m wrong– so what? It was fun. It was fluffy. It was exactly what I needed on a 9 hour road trip involving more drive-throughs than can be counted on both hands.

Many people are upset about this novel’s message about sex. Let me assure you: Ten Things is not anti-sex. Its ending was not archaic, unprogressive, or pro-abstinence. Its ending was just that– an ending. A twist. A dramatic turn of events not meant to be taken exorbitantly seriously. So I suggest we all take a step back, stop interpreting it as divine retribution, and take a moment to appreciate Mlynowski’s altogether modern point of view.

Mlynowski’s characters are realistic, although mediocre. Every reader’s inner wild child is secretly delighted by April’s reckless and rebellious tomfoolery, and many situations she encounters solicit at least muffled chuckling, if not uproarious laughter. She is not the most likeable character, or the most enlightened, but she gets the job done.

That being said, as mentioned previously, the novel’s plot borders the realm of fantasy. In no way could it ever occur in reality, and in no way is it representative of typical adolescent life. Do not expect to be able to relate to the majority of the challenges April faces, and do not expect to be astounded by Mlynowski’s interpretation of what it means to be a teenager. 10 Things revolves around actions without consequences and very little regret. Accordingly, character development is in short supply.

All things considered, there is one thing I did (and probably shouldn’t have) : read this book. Oh, well. Time one enjoys wasting is not wasted, n’est-ce pas? Recommended for all those seeking academic ataraxia, compelling chapter titles, and a disillusioned reality. 2.3/5 stars.

 

I’ll keep you posted,

 

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