Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn’t Have) by Sarah Mlynowski
Published: June 7th, 2011
368 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Contemporary YA
Acquired this book: From the library
Warning: may include spoilers
Synopsis: 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.
Ten things I loved about this book:
1. April. She was a very real character who was easy to relate to. Even if you’ve never been in the situations she was, anyone who’s survived their teen years should be able to relate to her in some way. I shook my head at her sometimes, but no matter how crazy the things were that she did, it was all very believable for a teenage girl in her situation.
2. The fact that it dealt with real subjects. So many YA books shy away from real topics - sex, birth control, STDs, drinking, partying. A lot of teenagers don’t wait to have sex, and a lot of them drink and do stupid things - by not talking about it in books, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. And it wasn’t overdone, either - I never got the feeling that some of the more scandalous things were being condoned, they just happened. That’s life.
3. Hudson. Yum. Sweet, sexy, mysterious, thoughtful. I wanted to see more of him, and yet at the same time, I loved that he wasn’t the main focus. This was April’s story.
4. The fact that Noah, April’s boyfriend, wasn’t perfect. I do love the sweet, kind, sensitive, swoon-worthy boys in YA books, but they’re not all like that in real life. Some of them *cough*a-lot-of-them*cough* are jerks. And Noah could be a real jerk. It was obvious he cared about April, but he was a little misguided at times.
5. Lucy. Creepy, stalker neighbour girl. I was shocked at how ballsy she was to basically stalk and then blackmail April and Vi, but then she ended up being so much more than she appeared to be.
6. Donut the cat. Just because.
7. Hula the hot tub. Again, just because. Hilarious.
8. The ‘fantasy’ aspect of living on your own. What teenager doesn’t dream of living away from their parents with no rules (or, rather, plenty of rules, but no one there to enforce them)? This brought back memories of my house-sitting days when I was about April’s age. We never did anything as crazy as they did, but we sure did have a lot of fun. *insert wistful sigh here*
9. The emails between fake Jake and fake Suzanne. They were hilarious, and at times even a little heartbreaking. I kept waiting for April and Vi to mess up or get caught, so it added a nice sense of urgency in a way - will they get caught? What will happen?
10. Hudson’s secret. It made me love him even more. I was expecting something totally scandalous, and I could not figure out what it could be. I laughed so hard when I found out what it was, and thought it was completely brilliant.
Overall, this was a terrific book. Books like this are the reason I love contemporary YA. I definitely recommend it.