Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn’t Have) by Sarah Mlynowski (2011)
When April decides she really doesn’t want to move to Cleveland with her Dad or go to Paris with her mom, she has limited options for where to live out the remainder of her junior year. At least until circumstances align to let April stay at her BFF Vi’s house. Without any parents. Or supervision. On their own. What starts out as a fun adventure turns into a lot of disasters of varying sizes as she and Vi do a lot of things that would not fly with parents around. Too bad those things also wind up being things they probably shouldn’t have done.
This was a kind of strange book. I liked it, the writing was funny and April was okay as far as heroines go. I was engaged enough to want to see what happened. But the novel also felt a bit like a train wreck. That is NOT to say the book was bad but more like April’s life was a disaster and I couldn’t look away. (I spent most of the book wanting to shake her and tell her to get a grip.) For various reasons April and her story were hard for me to connect with–I wanted to but I just couldn’t get there. (April’s relationship with her boyfriend was especially problematic for me on so many levels that I can’t address because of spoilers.) So even though the book is fun and will appeal to lots of teens it was a bit of an anomaly for me.
The title speaks to character transformation but the ending was almost too abrupt to really appreciate how much April (and her friends) grew over the course of the story. Ten Things We Did has an original plot and a clever structure. But it didn’t come together as well as I would have liked.