Google+ Reading Teen: Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have) by Sarah Mlynowski

Monday, January 2, 2012

Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have) by Sarah Mlynowski

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.

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.
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.

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.
Profanity: Heavy
Sexual Content: Heavy
Violence: None
Other Notables:  Underage Drinking
For more details, check out Ten Things We Did on


  1. I didn't like this one either. I think it was supposed to be a light read with a strong message, but I didn't feel for it at all. Thanks for your honest opinion, Janeth!

  2. This book was a bit too sex oriented for me. I liked the romance part of it though.

  3. I bought this book a bit ago, but your review made me realize that it is not something I would like to read. I thought it sounded like a fun read, but the topics discussed are not my idea of fun. How disappointing! I feel like the description for the book is very misleading.

  4. Interesting take on this story. I walked away from the book remembering all the fun parts, so obviously I focused on the lighthearted romance bits and figured the author just found a unique way of getting the parents out of the picture to tell the teen's story (as so many stories seem to do these days). Hearing you point out the negative bits though, I do see what you mean.
    I enjoyed it on the whole.

  5. This is a very deep story, thank you very much for sharing this.

  6. i hate it


Leave us a comment. Commenting people are our favorites! And we like to give things to favorites :)