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Gimme a Call

Gimme a Call

4.2 74
by Sarah Mlynowski

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A new life is just a phone call away!

Devi's life isn't turning out at all like she wanted. She wasted the past three years going out with Bryan—cute, adorable, break-your-heart Bryan. Devi let her friendships fade, blew off studying, didn't join any clubs . . . and now that Bryan has broken up with her, she has nothing left.

Not even her stupid cell


A new life is just a phone call away!

Devi's life isn't turning out at all like she wanted. She wasted the past three years going out with Bryan—cute, adorable, break-your-heart Bryan. Devi let her friendships fade, blew off studying, didn't join any clubs . . . and now that Bryan has broken up with her, she has nothing left.

Not even her stupid cell phone—she dropped it in the mall fountain. Now it only calls one number . . . hers. At age fourteen, three years ago!

Once Devi gets over the shock—and convinces her younger self that she isn't some wacko—she realizes that she's been given an awesome gift. She can tell herself all the right things to do . . . because she's already done all the wrong ones! Who better to take advice from than your future self?

Except . . .what if getting what you think you want changes everything?

Fans of Sarah Mlynowski's Magic in Manhattan series will love this hilarious novel with a high-concept premise .

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Teens who long to fix past mistakes can do so vicariously in Mlynowski's (the Magic in Manhattan series) farcical fantasy. After retrieving her cellphone from a fountain, high school senior Devi discovers the only person she can call is herself—three years earlier. She immediately sees this as a way to warn herself not to get involved with the boyfriend who will break her heart. Freshman Devi is reluctant to take the advice of a “Crazy Stalker Girl” from the future, but eventually decides to change her fate by refusing to date a cute baseball player, forming a tighter bond with her girlfriends, and trying to persuade her father to quit his job before he gets laid off. As Devi strives to rewrite her history, unexpected mishaps occur. Switching between each Devi's perspective, the book delivers a mixed message about meddling with fate, showing that taking charge of one's life is important but indicating that some things—like falling in love—are destined to happen. Nonetheless, Devi's frenzied attempts to better herself create some funny moments and a touching conclusion. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)
Kirkus Reviews
In the waning weeks of her senior year of high school, Devi is wishing for a four-year do-over. Longtime love Bryan has broken up with her to attend college in Montreal, and because Devi's been so wrapped up in her relationship with Bryan, her relationships with her former BFFs and older sister Maya have evaporated and she's barely managed to be admitted to a very low-tier state university. An accidental dunk in the local mall's fountain transforms her cell phone into a time-traveling communications device, letting senior-year Devi talk to her freshman-year self. Older Devi, bent on righting the wrongs of the last four years, pressures younger Devi into abandoning Bryan and focusing on friends, grades and extracurricular activities. Every small change freshman Devi makes effects a dramatic change in senior Devi's reality-a query about starting a girl's golf team yields buff arms and acceptance to UCLA, for example-eventually leading the two Devis to embrace moderation in matters both academic and romantic. Fun and easy to relate to, but no great shakes. (Time-travel chick-lit. YA)
Children's Literature - Phyllis Kennemer
Devi is devastated. Although she and Bryan have dated throughout her high school years, she has broken up with him just before the senior prom. She is wishing she could go back in time and erase the relationship from her life. Then, her cell phone falls into water. When she retrieves it, the only number she can call is herself as a beginning freshman. Devi gives her younger self advice for two weeks. She insists that Frosh Devi should not go out with Bryan, and she advises her about improving her study habits and adding extracurricular activities so that she can get into a better college. Each time Frosh Devi does something differently, Senior Devi is thrust into an unfamiliar situation. She gets letters of acceptance from different colleges and when her friends mention her prior boyfriends, she has no recollection of having been with them. Frosh Devi persists in some of the changes as she drops others. These changes throw Senior Devi's life into turmoil. Her friends have also changed. She doesn't know who she has agreed to go to the prom with. The changes in her parents' lives are bizarre and unbelievable. Senior Devi has no memory of what has happened, and it is too much of a stretch to accept that her actions affected their lives so drastically. The concept that every decision we make has an impact on what we become is commendable, but the constant changing of scenes and situations is so confusing that the story as a whole lacks credibility. Reviewer: Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.
VOYA - Jennifer Ingram
Seventeen-year-old Devi drops her phone in a fountain at the mall. The incident makes it possible for Devi to call her fourteen-year-old self from the future, warning her to turn down a date with Bryan, who will monopolize her high school existence and break her heart at the end of it. Fourteen-year-old Devi initially follows the advice from the future, which leads her to a supersuccessful high school career culminating in admission to Harvard. Then she ignores the advice from the future, turning into a dropout and shop girl. Finally, the two Devis work together to set things back to where they belong. Mlynowski plays with alternate worlds in this novel, exploring how different priorities in high school can affect future success. She plays with ethics, too, when future Devi feeds exam answers to her past self—Mlynowski is asking whether the end justifies the means (it does not). Still, the novel has no great substance, and its close focus on high school life becomes tiring after awhile. Perhaps a shorter, tighter book might have worked better. Reviewer: Jennifer Ingram
School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—Just weeks away from high school graduation and suffering from being dumped by her long-term boyfriend, Devi's cell phone magically downloads a time warp app after an accidental dunk in the mall fountain in this novel (Delacorte, 2010) by Sarah Mlynowski. The one person she can call is her freshman self. The "girls" name themselves "Ivy" (the older Devi) and "Frosh" (the younger). Ivy convinces Frosh to change her choices in order to revise Ivy's present life. College acceptances and the circumstances surrounding Ivy's family and friends morph continually as Ivy demands more and more modifications from Frosh. The personas of the main character plus the mercurial situations of every character in the book will probably perplex listeners. Add a basically unvoiced narration by Cassandra Campbell and confusion reigns as listeners try to sort out just who is talking, what year it is, and who is taking whom to the prom. It is also difficult to ascertain whether parts of the reading are unspoken thoughts or audible conversations. The beginning and ending of each disk is not indicated, nor is the number of each disk. Chapters are announced. For many teens, the print version is apt to be better accepted than the audiobook.—Jennifer Ward, Albany Public Library, NY

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
12 - 15 Years

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Read an Excerpt

I should just return Bryan’s watch to Nordstrom and go home. Instead, I’m sitting by the circular fountain in the Stonybrook Mall, staring at the window of the Sunrise Skin Spa. It features a poster of a wrinkle- free woman and the slogan Go Back in Time.
Sounds good to me. If I could go back in time, there’s lots I’d tell my younger self.

In third grade, do not let Karin Ferris cut your bangs. Your best friend is no stylist. She’s going to accidentally cut them too short. And too crooked. And she won’t always be your best friend either.

In fifth grade, do not put marshmallows in the toaster oven, even though it seems like a good idea. Toasty! Gooey! Yummy! No. When they expand, the tip of one of the marshmallows kisses the burner, and the toaster catches fire, and your entire family will forever bring up the story about how you almost burnt the house down.

Sophomore year: don’t leave your retainer in a napkin in the cafeteria—unless you want to wade through three spaghetti- and- meatball- filled garbage bins to find it.
This December: do not buy the Dolly jeans you like in a size 4 because you believe they’ll stretch. They will not.

May twenty- first: do not buy Him a silver watch for a surprise graduation present, because then you will spend senior skip day at the mall returning it. Which brings me to the most important tip.

About Him. Bryan.

If I could go back in time, the most important thing I would tell myself would be this: never ever fall for Bryan. I would warn  fourteen- year- old me never even to go out with Him in the first place. Or even better—the party where we officially met when I was a freshman never would have happened. Okay, the party could have happened, but when he called me later and asked me out, I would have said no. Nice of you to ask but I am just not interested. Thanks but no thanks. Have a nice life. Maybe I’d tell my­self to stay home instead and organize my closet.

Imagine that. Talking to my  fourteen-year-old self. I wish.

I spot Veronica at Bella Boutique, right beside the Sun­rise Skin Spa. She waves. I wave back. “Devi! Come see my new stock!” she calls. “It’s stunning!” As if I’d listen to her. She’s the one who swore up and down that my jeans would stretch. “I’ll give you the employee discount!” she of­fers, even though I haven’t worked a shift since the winter holidays.

“I’ll come look in a minute,” I call back to her. I rum­mage through my purse, find my phone, and dial for my messages. I want to hear the one he left this morning. Again. I’ve only listened to it once. Fine, seven times. I know: pathetic. But I keep hoping each time that it’ll be different.

“Hi, Devi. It’s me.” Bryan’s voice is low and raspy, like a smoker’s. We tried cigarettes once, together, at the Morgan Lookout on Mount Woodrove when we were sophomores. But when we kissed, he tasted like a dirty sock, so that was the end of our smoking.
Until our relationship went up in smoke.

“I wish you’d answer,” his voice continues. “You always answer.” A pause as though he’s waiting for me to answer. “I’m sorry. I mean, I’m really, really sorry. I never meant to hurt you.”

The message is still playing in my ear, but I can barely hear, because now I’m crying, and my cheeks are all wet and my hand is all wet and how could he have told me he loves me when he obviously doesn’t and—


Like a bar of soap in the shower, my cell phone has slipped through my fingers and landed in the fountain.

Superb. One more thing to tell my younger (by two sec­onds) self: don’t drop your cell phone into a  house-size saucer of green chlorine. I peer into the water. A flash of sil­ver twinkles up at me. Is that it? Nope. It’s a nickel. The pond is filled with coins in addition to my phone. Are there really people out there who believe that throwing a nickel into the water can make a wish come true?

Aha! I see it, I see it! I stretch out to reach it, but it’s a bit too far away. I lie down on my stomach and reach again. A little more... almost there...

The cell phone gets pulled further out of my reach by the swirling water jets within the fountain. Ah, crapola— I’m going to need to get in there.

Luckily, I’m wearing  flip- flops. I look around to make sure no security people are watching, then stand on the bench, roll up the bottoms of my oxygen- depriving Dolly jeans, and step in.

Cold. Slimy. When I look down, my toes are bloated and tinted green. Maybe the water is radioactive and I’m turning into the Hulk.

Out of the corner of my eye, I spot Harry Travis and Kellerman marching through the mall like they own the place. Harry—definitely one of the best-looking guys in our class—has dark hair, a muscular build, intense blue eyes, and the rosiest skin. He also has this sexy stubble going on— very rugged and hot. And Kellerman—everyone just calls him Kellerman—looks like he’s already part of a frat. He’s always wearing his older brother’s Pi Lambda Phi hat, and sweatpants.

I duck down so that the coolio senior duo won’t see me. That would just make today perfect, wouldn’t it? The water soaks through the knees of my jeans. Crap, crap, crap! When the guys turn in to the food court, I find my footing and try to relocate my phone. And there it is again! Yahoo! Balanced on top of a pyramid of nickels. Got it.

Now all I have to do is safely make it back to the side...

The swirls of water push me over, and the next thing I know, I’m flat on my butt. Great. Just great. My eyes start to prickle.

I heave myself up and back to the safety of the fountain’s edge, leaving a trail of shiny green droplets. I ignore my sop­ping wet jeans—maybe the chemicals will help them stretch?—and wipe my phone against my shirt, as if that’s gonna help. Please don’t be broken, please, please, please. I press the power button.

No sound. No connection. No nothing.

I spot Veronica staring at me. “You okay?” she hollers.

Um, no? “I’m fine!” I wave, then turn back to the phone. I press power again. Still nothing. I press the one but­ton. Nothing. The two. Nothing. Three, four, five, all noth­ing. Six, seven, eight, nine, the pound button, the volume button. Nothing, nothing, nothing. I kick the floor. My  flip-flop makes a squishy sound.

I hit the power button. Again. Nothing.

I hit the nine, the eight, the seven, the six, the five, four, three, two, one, the pound button, the volume button. All nothing.

I press the send button. The phone comes alive.

There we go. I have no idea who I called, but it’s  ringing.

Meet the Author

SARAH MLYNOWSKI is the author of the Magic in Manhattan series, Gimme a Call, and Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have), as well as several novels for adults. She also coauthored How to Be Bad and See Jane Write. Like Rachel, Sarah lives in Manhattan and wishes she had magical powers. Visit her at Sarahm.com. She'd love to hear from you.

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Gimme a Call 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 74 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If I could call my future self that would be amazing. This book is hilarious. I laughed on every page. I connected with all the characters. This is a must read! :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OMG!!!!!! I love this book soooooo much. I looked it up and it was only published in 2010 so i hope there will be a sequel!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really really love this book!!!! Its so suspenceful and u really want to know what happens next!!! I would recomend this to teenage girls.
MizLaurenMyracle More than 1 year ago
omigosh, seriously? if you could CALL YOUR YOUNGER SELF and boss her around and make her change past mistakes?!! imagine the insanity! Sarah Mlynowski is queen of putting her poor, adorable characters in the most ker-azy situations, and doing it with charm and love. Gimme a Call is the PERFECT laugh-aloud book for tweens, teens, and anyone who has ever been or is still alive!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So amazing! Witty, poignant, laugh-out-loud hilarious! Highly recommend!
MichelleCupcake More than 1 year ago
this is the best book ever i cant describe how good it is like omg wouldn't it be cool to call your younger self!?!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great for teens! You dont even have to like to read u will still luv it! You will find urself reading it everywhere!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I hope there is a sequal :D
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the best book !! I am so going to drop my cell fone in a wishing fountain and wish to speak to my younger self
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I very much enjoyed this book,i couldnt put it down. But who would ditch their grades and their friends for a boy? And why wouldnt her parents say anything? It was a good book and I would read it again. On the same note I would check it out at the library before buying it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book sooooooooooooo much. Also sarah mlynowskis series magic in manhattan. Strongly recommended!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
GreatBooks1WowEC More than 1 year ago
So fun and funny. Reminds me of "Freaky Friday." Love this book!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book wasamazinggg! Hope there is a sequal coming out soon.
InkandPage More than 1 year ago
If your current self could speak to your past self, would you? It's like a giant, cosmic do-over. What would you change, if anything? I sure know what I would do in a few cases... Devi and her long-time boyfriend have been dating all through high school. They love each other so much and spend all of their time together, almost to the exclusion of everything else. Then one day, it’s all over. Bryan has broken up with her right before their senior prom, and Devi realizes she has no one. She’s lost all of her friends, her parents are different people, she’s going to a horrible college and she doesn’t talk to her older sister much anymore. At the mall, returning her now former boyfriend’s surprise graduation present, she chides herself for being so stupid for wasting her time with Bryan. If she could talk to herself before she made that mistake, her life would be so much better. But of course, that’s not how things work, right? As she listens to Bryan’s last message again, her phone slips from her grasp and into the mall’s fountain. When she finally retrieves it, she is relieved that it still works - until she realizes that the only person it can call is herself...three and a half years in the past. This book has been sitting on my TBR pile for at least a month now. I don’t know why I picked other books to read first; I think I thought this would be frothy and shallow, maybe? It was a fast read (well, I read it quickly anyway!), but I have to say that I enjoyed it immensely. This could have been a book about revenge or finding new friends or getting a new boyfriend or finding grace, but what it really is about is finding balance. It’s great to have a boyfriend, but have friends, too. Find something you like to do. Don’t give up everything for one thing. See the forest and the trees. Every choice makes ripples that affect us later down the road; as an adult, I can say “duh.” But as a high school student, college student? I know I would have benefitted much from a little future assistance! But what if, after you know you can change your life, you think you know how to make these things better? You make a small change here, plant a suggestion there - what if it all just makes everything worse? What if the original not-so-bad was a lot better that the new hell no? Senior Devi and Freshman Devi have to figure out together how to keep friends, get into a better college, and deal with Bryan before it’s too late. And her phone battery dies. The answer for Devi might be a little different than what she thinks it should be, but ultimately, it’s the right one. It just takes a little while for her to get it. As with most people, what we think should happen and does happen can be two completely different things. We can be surprised and humbled by the outcome. And most times, that’s the best answer of all. 4 of 5 Stars (Based on Ink and Page’s Rating System) Genres: Young Adult Fiction Contemporary/Fantasy Ages: 12 and up Gimme A Call by Sarah Mlynowski was published April 27, 2010 by Delacorte Press.
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