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Review: Not Exactly a Love Story by Audrey Couloumbis

Wednesday, March 20, 2013
3 Stars: A Good Read
Hardback: 288 Pages
Publication: December 11, 2012 by Random House BFYR
Original Publication: December 1, 2011 by Random House

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 parents 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 identities can't survive and he'll have to find a way to hangup the phone and step into the daylight.

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.

A copy was provided by Random House for review.

4 comments on "Review: Not Exactly a Love Story by Audrey Couloumbis"
  1. This one sounds really quirky! I can't decide if that's a good quirky or a not so good quirky? Maybe I'll just have to read it?!

    1. It depends on the individual. Let me know what you think after you read the book.

  2. I felt really bad for Patsy getting the calls-I definitely felt that Vinnie crossed a line there and was uncomfortable that he was our hero.

    1. I totally agree with you. I think it is so creepy to get the phone call at midnight every day. For me, I will not answer and just unplug the phone.


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