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Reader Review: Not Exactly a Love Story

DBRL Next - December 27, 2013

Book cover for Not Exactly a Love Story by Audrey CouloumbisEditor’s note: This review was submitted by a library patron during the 2013 Adult Summer Reading program. We will continue to periodically share the best of these reviews throughout the year. 

Out of curiosity as to what my daughter was reading, I decided to read “Not Exactly a Love Story” by Audrey Couloumbis. Though I am not necessarily drawn to teen novels, the author did such a good job with the characters that I read the entire book in two days.

This book is about being yourself and not letting other people or circumstances dictate your actions. I found this to be a clever teen novel about a 15-year-old boy who has fallen in love with a girl in his grade. The boy, Vinnie, is too shy to approach, thinking she’ll never reciprocate his feelings. So, he calls her one night at midnight without revealing his identity. This sets off a number of midnight anonymous calls from Vincenzio – Vinnie’s real name and the alter ego he assumes during these phone calls.

During these calls, Vinny (acting as Vincenzio) takes on the persona he wishes had in real life. It’s a very engaging story, and I found myself drawn to the book because the author does a great job with both character and plot development.

Does Vincenzio’s real identity get revealed? How does the girl respond to these phone calls, and why do they continue? How does the girl respond when she finds out the caller’s true identity? These are examples of the questions that kept me involved in the book.

Three words or phrases that describe this book: Engaging, well-written and fun.

You might want to pick this book up if: You like stories that do a great job in developing the main characters.  You might also enjoy this book if you enjoy teen novels.

- Dale

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Suggested One Read: The Coldest Winter Ever

One Read - December 26, 2013

Book cover for The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister SouljahWith her debut novel “The Coldest Winter Ever,” first published in 1999, hip-hop artist and activist Sister Souljah spawned the new genre of urban fiction. Gritty, realistic and often raw, these works typically feature African-American main characters in a contemporary setting and deal with relationships, violence and street life. In this groundbreaking book, Santiaga, the daughter of one of Brooklyn’s most powerful drug kingpins, uses her own weapons – including sex and an aggressive attitude – to stay on top after her father’s empire is threatened by a drug war.

Our nominator describes this novel as “one of the first works of African-American fiction incorporating love, real struggles, crime and morality.” This reader believes it would make a great community read because “it sends subliminal messages of worth while lighting the flame to seek knowledge through one girl’s story. I loved and hated the characters, yet I can see how all races can grow to understand how to educate and relate to the young, urban African-Americans in our communities through her novels, thus seeing [these young people] as an asset and not a liability.”

Read about other books nominated for One Read 2014.

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