Title: Not Exactly a Love Story
Author: Audrey Couloumbis
Release Date: December 11, 2012
When I read reviews of a book online or its plot synopsis on the back cover, I always notice when the book is compared to others I’ve read. The synopsis of Not Exactly a Love Story claims that “it will appeal to fans of Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower… and John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines,” two books I’ve loved. So naturally, I had high hopes for this book.
Not Exactly a Love Story, by Audrey Couloumbis, is the story of Vinnie Gold, a fifteen year old high school student growing up in the 1970s. At the book’s opening, his parents decide to get a divorce, and Vinnie, still reeling from the shock, is uprooted from his New York City home to a house in the suburbs with his mom and new stepdad, who happens to be the gym teacher at his new school. But all is not lost – Vinnie soon realizes his next door neighbor is none other than Patsy –the most beautiful, popular, outgoing girl at school.
When he gets her unlisted phone number, Vinnie plans to call and ask her out, but he loses his nerve and says something obscene over the phone, leading Patsy to think he’s simply an obscene caller. The next night, Vinnie calls back, promising he didn’t mean what he said. He begins to call Patsy every night at midnight, never telling her his name, only letting her guess his identity. At the same time, he’s getting to know Patsy in real life as well.
However, Vinnie’s phone and real life personas are very different. In real life, he plays up a faux-arrogance in order to seem more confident; on the phone, Vinnie is himself. And so is Patsy – they talk about everything, share stories, and tell each other secrets. It all leads up the Valentine’s Day Dance, where phone-Vinnie tells Patsy he’ll finally reveal himself.
I loved the beginning and end of this book; I thought the middle was good as well, although it seemed overly lengthy at times. I appreciated that, true to name, the book was not entirely a love story – Vinnie has family problems, bullies at school, and the track team to deal with, giving the book depth and realism. It was funny, sweet, and overall a cute story. While this will not become my favorite book, it was certainly entertaining and enjoyable to read.
Potential readers should know that I didn’t find too many similarities between this book and The Perks of Being a Wallflower or An Abundance of Katherines, so a note of caution if that review is the only thing drawing you to this book. However, that’s not to deter you from reading this book. It’s written in short chapters, making it easy to read snippets at a time. If you enjoy unique high school stories, with a romantic premise (but not primarily a romance), I’d give this book a try!
– Katie (:
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