Ten Things We Did by Sarah Mlynowski

Published June 2010 by HarperTeen
368 pages
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Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Bought @ B&N
Challenge: TBR Pile
Rating: Liked It

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. (Source: Goodreads)

This is a fairly typical YA Contemporary read. What makes it slightly unusual is April’s parents are moving to Chicago and decide to leave her behind to live with a friend. But April and Vi neglect to tell her parents that Vi’s mom is part of a touring Mary Poppins production. So they are home alone. Though I would strangle my child, I can get around this with the understanding that it will provide an interesting background to the story.

What I liked…April had been a pretty pampered kid. She has to learn how to cook, clean and take care of a cat. She actually starts to appreciate all her step-mother did for her. April also has an interesting relationship with her mom who lives in Paris, France. It is quite bizarre, but I like that the mom senses that April is thinking about losing her virginity to long-time boyfriend. Even far away, she does try to engage in a dialogue and isn’t squeamish about safety. There are some pretty serious consequences presented for not using a condom. April has some pretty good friends. They are supportive, encouraging and loyal.

What I didn’t like…the focus being so much on the loss of virginity. I know that it is a pretty important topic among teens, so I really do appreciate the fact that safety, possible lying by your trusted partner and STDs were addressed. I kind of got sex-fatigue from all the talk. I wanted to shake April, because she kind of feels she owes it to him for dating so long. Plus Noah totally telegraphs all his bad boyfriend behavior.

While the parents are away, April will play, get herself into trouble and have to figure her own way out without getting caught.

8 responses to “Ten Things We Did by Sarah Mlynowski

  1. Hm, yeah. I’ve only read one of Sarah Mlynowski’s books (well, started to) called Fishbowl which is more of the ‘new adult’ genre and I really didn’t even care to continue. Mostly just because the first couple chapters were just the characters complaining nonstop. It’s made me hesitant to try anything else of hers!

  2. I love when a book addresses the realities of sex in YA but it’s got to be part of the story and not stand out so much.
    the book does sound interesting though.

    • I agree. So the fact that there was some series consequences was a plus without making sex itself be the bad thing. It exposed the fallacy of her reasoning, some boys do lie, some boys do cheat, and safety for STD sake not just pregnancy. And there is a good guy.

      It is worth reading, just not a great read.

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