Parents' Guide to

Love and Other Foreign Words

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Gifted teen girl discovers meaning of love in cute novel.

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What you will—and won't—find in this book.

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The book jacket blurb for this young adult novel references two of the genre's best authors, which naturally leads to high expectations that are unfortunately unmet and undeserved. Josie might be a "gifted" protagonist like Hazel Grace and Cath, but the comparisons are limited to their intelligence and the way they take a while to realize how they feel about their love interests. Josie isn't a likable main character; she can be alternately too mature and ridiculously juvenile. For example, Josie's antagonism toward Kate's fiance Geoff (and jealousy at their impending wedding) would be believable if she were 10-12 but seems selfish and off-putting at age 15-16.

The strengths of the story are the way the Sheridan family is depicted and how deeply the idea of love vs. like is explored. Clearly a surprise late-in-life third child, Josie is refreshingly close to her family, preferring to spend time with her parents and older sisters than to party with school friends. The romance in the book is on the light and cute side -- but also surprisingly thoughtful. Josie and her best friend Stu are not the type of teens to say "I love you" to their boyfriend and girlfriend unless they honestly, truly mean it (even if someone says it to them first). Although some readers will want to shake Josie into self awareness, there is enough humor and depth (about intelligence, crushes, sisters, and love) to make this a sweet read for younger teens and fans of clean romance.

Book Details

  • Author: Erin McCahan
  • Genre: Coming of Age
  • Topics: Brothers and Sisters , High School
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publication date: May 1, 2014
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 18
  • Number of pages: 336
  • Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
  • Last updated: July 12, 2017

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