Thursday, December 20, 2012

Book Review: Not Exactly a Love Story by Audrey Couloumbis

Not Exactly a Love Story
By Audrey Couloumbis 
Release Date: December 11, 2012
Source: Publisher
Summary: 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 identities can't survive and he'll have to find a way to hangup the phone and step into the daylight. Fraught with complications and crackling with witty dialogue, and all the angst and electricity that comes with always being just a phone wire away from the one you want, acclaimed author Audrey Couloumbis's YA debut is a smooth-talking Cyrano meets Saturday Night Fever and tells a quirky, flirty, and smart story that will appeal to fans of Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Frank Portman's King Dork, Natalie Standiford's How to Say Goodbye in Robot, and John Green's An Abundance of Katherines. It's not exactly a love story . . . but it's pretty close. 

Review: When this book showed up in my mailbox, I was really intrigued by the cover. I had never heard of it before, but it sounded like something I would love to read. A YA book about "not exactly" a romance? Tell me more! Sadly, the story just seemed to be lacking characters and a plot that could keep my attention. 

Vinnie is a 15-year-old who just can't seem to figure things out. His "girl" he's been crushing on moves away, his parents announce they're getting a divorce, and he has to move out of the city when his mom meets a new man. Oh, and all this is happening in the 1970s. This start looking up, though, when he gets sight of his new neighbor Patsy. Vinnie tries calling her when he finds her phone number in the boys locker room, but one tongue-tied conversation later and Vinnie is Patsy's anonymous phone caller she talks to every night at 12 on the dot. Growing a relationship over the phone with the girl next door, Vinnie has no idea how he can turn the charming Italian phone guy into the real-life Vinnie. 

The first thing that bothered me about this book was the fact that it took place in the 70s. The time period isn't bad, but there weren't that many details that actually showed you it was in the 70s aside from the phones. If the author decided to make the story take place during that time period, which doesn't usually happen in YA books, I think she should have used it to her advantage and include all of the things awesome about the 70s instead of writing a story that could have taken place today. Also, I wasn't really that big of a fan of Vinnie. Maybe it's because I normally don't read books from a guy's point of view, but I just didn't really care about how he felt about Patsy. His story was really slow-going and nothing really happened until well into the book. 

Not Exactly a Love Story had a lot of potential, but it fell short while I was actually reading it. While I expected much more romance and humor, i got a shy boy who couldn't carry the story on his own.


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