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 to admit that I put off reading this novel for a while because I was worried that it would be all about illicit behavior and sex, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it really wasn’t. Yes, the parents are out of the picture due to some ingenious leg work by April and Vi, but it’s not just a tale about girls and boys gone wild. It’s really more so a story of love, betrayal, and coming of age in the real world. Growing up. And it’s a really cute tale that took hold of me from the very beginning and didn’t let go until I turned the final page. This was a fantastic read!
Now, while I don’t think some of the situations within the novel would actually come to pass, or are one hundred percent believable, I am able to easily overlook that because Mlynowski is such a superb story-teller! The situations the girls find themselves in are comical on the one hand, yet present real life morals on the other. And, the characterization within the novel is amazing! I was afraid that April would be a bit bratty and selfish after reading the first few pages, but I found that I really took sides with her and cared about her as the story unfolded; she’s a very well written character that evoked protective feelings from me as I read. I’d like to meet her in real life; I think she’d make a great friend, and I truly enjoyed reading about her rollercoaster of a ride junior year as she begins to figure herself out.
And yes, there is sex in this novel. But, it’s tastefully done. This YA novel doesn’t give the reader play-by-play erotic descriptions, but rather just brushes over the act, as it should. I was very thankful for this, especially as I’m noticing that many YA novels are now leaning towards more explicit descriptions of the act in their books, and that’s not something I want to read about in my novels, especially a YA book. I also loved that sex is not glorified as the end all be all of April and Vi’s lives, and that there are very real consequences involved. This made the story very endearing to me, as well as the superb characterization, hilarious situations, and fabulous morals. Mlynowski is an outstanding writer and I will definitely be reading more of her work! Five stars!