Thursday, October 20, 2011

Review: Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn't Have) by Sarah Mlynowski

Title: Ten Things We Did (and probably shouldn't have)
Author: Sarah Mlynowski
Series: N/A
Pages: 354
Publisher: Harper Teen
Genre: Contemporary YA
Source: Library

Goodreads Description:
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 house mate 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.

My Review:
This book was excellent! I have been really into contemporary YA lately, and I am constantly amazed at how good they are. When I was actually in high school there was a terrible selection of YA books...Basically you had two categories: Paranormal(which I loved) and the "Gossip Girl" type novels. I never have been a fan of the fluffy pink girlie novels. I feel slightly less smart every time I read that left me kind of limited in my choices. Nowadays there is SO much more to choose from! You still get the dramatic clique novels and such, but there is a whole lot more about your average teenager. Ten Things We Did was like a slice out of the average teen's life...if something dramatically awesome happened to the average teen! I'm not quite sure what it was about this book that made it so good. You couldn't help but feel upbeat and smiley even when drastic things were happening to April and Violet.

These girls were brilliant. And let's face it, you have to be pretty brilliant in order to pull off the ultimate scam of living unsupervised for your entire senior year of high school. Some people say that it is unrealistic that the girls got to live on their own, but I say it was all because of their quick wit. Granted, it helped that Vi's mom was kind of a flake, but I had a friend with a mom like that in high school...She would let boys sleep over at age 14 and left for weeks at a time to go on random it was easier for me to believe that the girls could get away with it than most. April's dad was a little harder to believe. If my parents were leaving me with another mom for months, they would INSIST on meeting up with her in person...but I guess I can believe that if they were pressed for time they could be okay with phone calls and emails. Speaking of emails...I thought it was absolutely genius to make fake emails so that each parent could "keep in touch" with each other. That way the kids can monitor exactly what information that the parents are giving each other...perfect scam. I'm so jealous...I wish I could have thought up something that epic when I was still young and

April was really easy to relate to. There were some times when you wanted to shake her and tell her to stop letting her guy walk all over her, but she is acting like any teenager when they are in the middle of their first real relationship. The first guy I really fell hard for kind of messed me up too...if my life had been a novel, I doubt anyone would have like my co-dependent, whiny, obsessed self. I skipped out on group projects for him, drove him all over town (he didn't get his license till he was 17)...looking back, I was as pathetic as the most devoted, love-struck high school characters that drive me nuts. I was happy that April was so comparable to me, she made me feel a little less embarrassed about my own high school sweetheart. I also loved that each character had at least one flaw and one redeeming quality. So often you get characters who are so sickly sweet that you can practically feel them giving you cavities. Or then the mean girl is such a bitch for no reason that she just ends up pissing you off. In Ten Things We Did, all of the characters had their own agenda and MO's. This gave them an amazing 3-D quality that a lot of YA books lack. I really loved all the different aspects of their personalities, especially the different love interests.

And speaking of love interests...the boys in this book were totally swoon-worthy!! I absolutely adored Dean. He's Violet's best friend and admirer, and is an all around great guy. I admit I was a bit uneasy when she used him to deflower her...I figured nothing good could come of that...but everything worked out eventually and with a lot of dramatics and hilarity  all around. Dean is utterly adorable and has that good guy jokester kind of vibe that all the girls are secretly looking for. Dean's brother Hudson is no slacker either. He has a little less banter and snark than Dean, but he definitely makes up for it with mysteriousness and kindness. He is generous, loves animals and kids, and doesn't judge April when some VERY unfortunate circumstances turn up. I actually wish we could have had a little more of him...I know she was dating someone else for the majority of the novel but still...he was amazing and I really would love another look at his hotness.

I give this book 4 of 5 Keys! It was a fantastic contemporary read! It's a bit on the lighter side which is perfectly fine. It deals with a lot of tough stuff in a suprisingly bright tone. Things like cheating, divorce, moving away from family, growing up, STD's are all dealt with in an optimistic way which makes them seem more hopeful than a lot of books regarding the same subjects. As devastating as some of those things are, Mlynowski leaves you with a sense that things will eventually get better, which I really liked. It was a fantastic book and a must read!


  1. Seen this book all over blogs lately. I loved your review. The book sounds really interesting and although it isn't something I would normally pick up, I would give it a try for sure now:)

  2. This book sounds great! I'm planning to read it soon, I can't wait. :)

  3. This book sounds so good. It's fine that it's lighter sometimes I'm just in the mood for something like this. Great review!!

    Xpresso Reads

  4. I've been thinking about adding this book to my to-read list because I've noticed it a lot around the blogs. I love your review! Now I am adding it and I hope I get to read it soon!

  5. The majority of reviews I've read for this book were positive, but made it seem like a fluffy read. However, the last review I read just about a week back left me disheartened because this was on my to-read list and got knocked off after reading that review. Somehow, that negative impression stuck with me but I'm happy to have read your review because it's made the book appear less fluffy and more realistic. I also didn't like the YA choices available when I was young (I hated Sweet Valley books) so I just stuck to my Nancy Drews. I'm so glad that today's teens have more to look forward to.

  6. This one is getting dust on my shelf! I have to pick it up! Thanks for the review.

  7. looks good, but I don't really like the cover

  8. I've read it and I guess it was an okayish book in my opinion. The plot itself was interesting, but I thought that it wasn't quite believeable. Like you said, most parents who truly care for their children would insist on meeting up with the guardians that they would be staying with.

    I couldn't help but cringe at some of the stuff that April did, such as buying a hot tub or throwing that crazy party just before her parents did a surprise visit. It seemed like a disaster, but it was fun seeing how they were able to cover it up.

  9. Oh! I really want to read this one now. It sounds really interesting, but I don't like the cover. Should I buy it?

  10. I agree with much of what you said in your review. I don't think the stupid things you do with your first love are just limited to high school though. Sadly I think that happens to most girls with their first boyfriend. Therefore I too was willing to forgive Violet for her bonehead decisions.

    I too absolutely loved Hudson, I too wish he was in the story a little more just because he is so dreamy.