Not Exactly a Love Storyby Audrey Couloumbis
This quirky, flirty, and smart story will appeal to fans of Frank Portman’s King Dork, John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines, and Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor and Park./i>/i>/i>/b>/i>
“A fifteen-year-old creates an alter ego to woo his dream girl. Compulsively readable.” —The New York Times
This quirky, flirty, and smart story will appeal to fans of Frank Portman’s King Dork, John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines, and Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor and Park. It’s not exactly a love story . . . but it’s pretty close.
It’s 1977. Fifteen-year-old Vinnie is recovering from the worst case of acne his dermatologist’s ever seen. His girl moved to California without saying good-bye. And the ink on his parents’ divorce papers is barely dry when his mom announces they’re moving from Queens to Long Island. The silver lining? Moving 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, and the two develop a surprisingly strong connection despite the lies it’s built on. But as Vinnie gets to know Patsy in real life, it’s clear that both identities can’t survive. . . .
From the Hardcover edition.
“Not exactly a perfect story. But it comes pretty close.”
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“Not exactly a perfect story. But it comes pretty close.”
Meet the Author
AUDREY COULOUMBIS's first book for children, Getting Near to Baby, won the Newbery Honor in 2000.
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Not Exactly a Love Story By Audrey Couloumbis Random House Children’s Books $17.99 Hardcover $10.99 eBook Publisher’s 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 parent’s 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 identifies can't survive and he'll have to find a way to hang-up 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, it's not exactly a love story . . . but it's pretty close. My Review: I thought this book was especially charming and cute. Told in the very real voice of 15-year-old, parents recently divorced, just moved to a new neighborhood, Vinnie, Love Story is witty, quick, and fun. Back before cell phones and computers, if a boy liked a girl, he had to steal her number and call her from the safety of his dark bedroom, anonymously. Not really, but it adds to this story. This is Couloumbis’ debut novel for young adults, and I must say, it is a grand success. A quick voice, plenty of smashing dialogue, a charming ending, and some surprisingly profound moments--like the one below--make up this pretty pleasing package. “No one tells you how things really are. Everything coming in waves, one rolling in after the other, and in case you’re thinking that doesn’t sound so bad, keep this in mind: that’s how huge rocks, boulders, become sand on the beach.” (pg 14, ebook) Rating: I really liked it. It’s deep enough to keep older readers interested and challenging and clean enough for your younger YA reader. I’d rate it a PG (content wise). There are a couple of mild fight scenes and some language.
Vinnie is a high school student with a face full of acne and an extremely awkward personality that makes you sympathize with him. To make matters worse, his mom divorces his father and marries his gym teacher, and they decide to move to Long Island. There, he goes right from mourning his old relationship to crushing on Patsy, the gorgeous girl next door, whose room he can see through his window. Then, Vinnie accidentally finds Patsy's number in locker room. He decides to call her at midnight but can't bring himself to say anything. At his third call, Patsy answers acidly, and Vinnie says something rude in response. Vinnie feels badly about his racy comments to Patsy and continues to call her every night at midnight trying to apologize to her. In the process, a strange friendship is born between them. Vinnie's actions border on stalkerish, and yet I couldn't help wanting to support him. He's in an awkward stage of life and is like every other teenager looking for happiness in life. I like the connection that Vinnie and Patsy form during their late-night calls. Talking to each other anonymously allows them to chat freely and without fear of judgment. I’m sure Vinnie and Patsy wouldn’t have gotten to know each other so well if they just met each other in the class. They come from such different backgrounds. Still, I don't like how Patsy entertains a mysterious male caller every night. It's also strange that her parents never hear her on the phone. I wonder where Vinnie and Patsy's parents are because not once does any of them interrupts their child talking during such late hours or brings it up during the day. I also would have liked to see Vinnie make some regular friendships at school and do something other than listening in on Patsy's friends' conversations. It would help round out his character and add more to the story than the blooming romance between him and Patsy. Not Exactly a Love Story is a book about a regular guy's quest for the girl next door and, in the process, his exploration of his identity. What I love most about this story is how Vinnie is able work through his emotions about the divorce of his parents and how he understands that he loves both his parents even though they are not together anymore.
I listened to this audiobook while commuting to my job and while working. It was a cute story without any complication. Vinnie is a typical underdog who underestimates his abilities, athletic, smarts, and popularity potential. Patsy is your typical popular girl, who use to be an outcast. I could related to both these characters - despite having nothing in common with Patsy. There were times that I found Vinnie to be fake and unlikeable - I think that had something to do with the personas he was trying to keep up for Patsy, both as himself and as Vincenzo. But overall I really liked how he was written and how he developed throughout the story. I love how Patsy developed throughout the story - she turned into a real person not just a typical, stereotypical blonde popular high school girl. The story as a whole was cute and well written. I found the events believable. The only problem I found was that I didn't even realize that this was written in a specific time period (the 70s). Obviously it wasn't in present time because they weren't using cellphones but actual landline phones. This is nothing against the story exactly, but I was surprised to read that it was based in 1977 when starting this review (I had read the description ages ago). Overall, this was a nice easy read (or I guess listen for me). I actually put aside another book I was reading in order to finish this one - listening to it on my lunch instead of reading the physical book I had brought with me. I would recommend this as a summer read or if you just want something cute with an underdog story. I have a soft spot for the underdogs and despite the fake feeling I had every once and a while with Vinnie, I couldn't help but root for him. I guess I should mention that the voice narration was great. The narrator had a believable voice for Vinnie and he did a great job doing the voices for the rest of the characters too - including the Italian New York accent!
This book is a very cute, light read if you’re looking for a high school romance. It’s a bit different and quirky in the approach but creates a great connection to the characters. The writing is quick, witty and has moments of depth that I really enjoyed. I love that it asks the question who are you? are you defined by your labels? does society determine the actions you take? Simple questions, but also some great discussion points. I definitely recommend this book. I noticed some people complain about that “stalker-ish” theme throughout because of Vinnie – keep in mind this book is based in the 70’s. At least for me, that gave me a different perspective on Vinnie’s approach at getting to know Patsy.
This only has two reviess it sucks