Friday, June 13, 2014

Summer Reading Challenge 2014: Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan #SRC2014

This summer, members of the Vise Library are participating in a Summer Reading Challenge. We have received copies of several books from publishers for honest reviews. We hope you enjoy these reviews (and books)!

The second book on our schedule is Love and Other Foreign Words by author Erin McCahan.

About the book:
Sixteen-year-old Josie lives her life in translation. She speaks High School, College, Friends, Boyfriends, Break-ups, and even the language of Beautiful Girls. But none of these is her native tongue--the only people who speak that are her best friend Stu and her sister Kate. So when Kate gets engaged to an epically insufferable guy, how can Josie see it as anything but the mistake of a lifetime? Kate is determined to bend Josie to her will for the wedding; Josie is determined to break Kate and her fiance up. As battles are waged over secrets and semantics, Josie is forced to examine her feelings for the boyfriend who says he loves her, the sister she loves but doesn't always like, and the best friend who hasn't said a word--at least not in a language Josie understands.

I usually really enjoy young adult (YA) books, but this one was just okay to me.

To be honest, I didn't like Josie for the better part of the book. I haven't been a teenager in more years than I care to admit, but I felt like she wasn't a realistic representation of a fifteen-year-old (who turned sixteen during the book). I know that part of the behavior was based on her giftedness, but I still found it difficult to root for her or her plot to break up her sister and fiance. However, there is a scene between Josie and one of her professors that explained part of her behavior, and that helped make her more relatable.

I also sometimes had the feeling that the author was using Josie and the other characters to show off her own intelligence (or great research skills). For example, there is a scene where Kate, Josie, their mother, and Kate's bridesmaids were at a dress fitting, and Josie has a conversation in French with a boutique employee. Things like this didn't add anything to the story for me, and I felt that they were a bit forced at times. I liked the scenes when Josie and Kate acted a bit mischievous more than any other portions, probably because they seemed like normal people then!

The main plot of the book centered on Kate's wedding and Josie's determination to make Kate and her fiance break up. There were other subplots that revolved around other aspects of love, and those tied in with the overall theme of Josie not knowing about love or why people fall in love with one another.

Overall, this wasn't a bad book, but it wasn't anything outstanding. It would be a good, quick read for anyone who wants to relive their adolescence (wait, why would anyone want to do that?!?). We will be adding the title to the library's collection, so be sure to check our catalog and see when it is available for checkout. 

About the author:

Erin McCahan is the author of the YA book I Now Pronounce You Someone Else (Scholastic, June 2010). Erin's debut novel was a 2010 Cybils Award finalist. She grew up in Michigan and worked extensively with teenagers before beginning her writing career. She lives in Columbus, Ohio. 

Connect with the author

To find out more about the Summer Reading Challenge, click the link above!

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