Sunday, January 6, 2013

Not Exactly a Love Story: By Audrey Couloumbis



It's 1977.

Fifteen-year old Vinnie isn't having a good year. He's recovering from the worst case of galloping acne his dermatologist's ever seen. His girl moved to California without even saying good-bye. And the ink on his parents divorce papers is barely dry, when his mom announces that they're moving from Queens to Long Island.

The silver lining in all this is that they move next door to Patsy—everyone's dream girl. Not that she'd ever notice him. But when Vinnie calls Patsy one night, it leads to a chain of anonymous midnight conversations. Under the cover of darkness, Vinnie becomes Vincenzo, Patsy's mystery caller, and the two share a side of themselves they would never reveal in daylight and develop a surprisingly real connection (despite the lies it's built on). As Vinnie gets to know Patsy in real life though, it becomes clear both identifies can't survive and he'll have to find a way to hangup the phone and step into the daylight.

It's not exactly a love story . . . but it's pretty close.


So I had mixed feelings for Not Exactly a Love Story. I felt compelled to read it to the point that I couldn’t put it down, yet at the same time I didn’t love the protagonist.

Don’t get me wrong, I commiserated with his feelings of inadequacy, his nervousness, and even his changing personalities, but I just couldn’t relate to some of the personalities he creates in the book, nor the drastic change in between each personality. For a character who doesn’t have a serious mental disability the changing personalities should not have been so dramatic. As for the personas that I didn’t like, The over confidence of the phone caller was a bit much, and the fact that Patsy would stay on the phone after Vinnie was so crude and offensive boggles the mind and made me almost want to put the book down right there. Also on top of that point why in the world would he say something like that (I do understand that there must be conflict for the story to move forward but there must also be a sense of realism in a book like this, otherwise a reader will just roll their eyes and move on).

Besides those troubling aspects of the book I find myself leaning towards recommending the book. As I mentioned before there was some aspect that compelled me to keep reading, I’m not sure exactly what it was, but compelled I was. Possibly it was the interesting side characters such as Vinnie’s father and step-father, who grow into likable and more realistic characters. Possibly it was Vinnie’s growth over the course of the book, whether it be through his athletic prowess or his emotional growth. Or possibly it was just the speed of the book, moving at a good clip that intrigues the reader while not leaving out important details.

Who knows exactly what it was that made this book compelling, but it was and so if you’re looking for a YA book to read give Not Exactly a Love Story a shot.


Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers

Published: December 11, 2012

Price: $16.99

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