Reading level: Ages 14 and up
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen (June 7, 2011)
Buy the book: Amazon
2 girls + 3 guys + 1 house – parents = 10 things April and her friends did that they (definitely, maybe, probably) shouldn't have.Ten Things We Did is a heartbreakingly sad story about a 16 year old girl who is desperately searching for some stability in her life. Her divorced parents have each moved on to new partners and new lives. The main character, April Berman, is angry at her mother's infidelity and her decision to move to Paris, France, taking her younger brother with her. April chooses to stay in her hometown of Westport, Connecticut with her father , close to her friends and boyfriend, Noah. This is why it is particularly devastating for April when her dad announces that he and his new wife are moving to Cleveland, Ohio, halfway through April's junior year. When April discusses her dilemma with her friend, Vi, they come up with a plan that will allow April to remain in Westport. Their situation would seem to be perfect for a couple of teenage girls but ultimately points up the need for parents to be parents and teens to be teens.
If given the opportunity, what sixteen-year-old wouldn't jump at the chance to move in with a friend and live parent-free? Although maybe "opportunity" isn't the right word, since April had to tell her dad a tiny little untruth to make it happen (see #1: "Lied to Our Parents"). But she and her housemate Vi are totally responsible and able to take care of themselves. How they ended up "Skipping School" (#3), "Throwing a Crazy Party" (#8), "Buying a Hot Tub" (#4), and, um, "Harboring a Fugitive" (#7) at all is kind of a mystery to them.
I found this story heartbreaking because I feel it reflects too accurately the way many parents handle their most important job. They either want to be a friend to their teen or they want to abdicate their responsibilities and allow the teen to make adult decisions that they aren't prepared to make. Unlike many stories of this sort, April is forced to face the consequences of some of her actions, including dealing with an STD. If this book achieves nothing else, it should serve as a warning to parents about following up on what their teens are telling them and about putting teens in situations that they aren't mature enough to handle.
There was an abundance of sex, underage drinking, deceiving parents, and profanity in the book. I couldn't decide if the story was supposed to be a lighthearted tale of teen romance or a sadly serious story of a young girl who desperately wanted to feel the love and structure of a stable family. Overall, this isn't really a book that I would recommend.
Sexual Content: Heavy
Other Notables: Underage Drinking
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