I recently read this book by Carolyn Mackler, Love and Other Four Letter Words. I really enjoyed it. It was a nice dose of good old fashioned YA: lots of heart, a bit of angst, parent problems, friendship and, of course, a boy. The novel centers around a girl, Sammie, who moves with her mom from rural New York to The Big Apple after her parents get divorced. Suddenly, Sammie feels a bit like an orphan. Her dad is gone to California, and her mom can't hold herself together. On top of that, she's starting to grow apart from her best friend, but she finds some solace in the city's dog parks, where she meets a new friend, Phoebe, and with Eli, the hippie son of one of her mom's friends.
As I said before, I really liked this book. It's was just classic YA - no crazy twists, no love triangles, no gimmicks. Just one young girl's thoughts and feelings. The narrator, Sammie, felt so realistic, and I enjoyed accompanying her on this journey. She was really funny, and I think Mackler did a really good job of portraying the whole teen experience. It felt so funny.
One of the most interesting things about the book, I thought, was Sammie's relationship with her lovable but absent-minded mother. After the divorce, Sammie's mom really started to fall apart, and Sammie basically had to take care of her. It was interesting to see those roles reversed.
I also really liked how the book wasn't all about the boy. It was more focused on Sammie's friendship and her family. Even though I love a good love story, sometimes it's nice to examine other kinds of relationships, besides romantic ones.
I can't really think of any critical things to say about this book. I suppose this novel might not appeal to some people who like non-stop action, or who only like fantasy. But even though the novel was just about ordinary, everyday life, I never thought it was boring. I enjoyed being inside this character's head and getting to know her. Also, the New York City setting is always fun.
You should read this book!