Parents' Guide to

Not Exactly a Love Story

By Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

An obscene call sparks an offbeat, heartfelt teen romance.

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Kids say (1):

Audrey Couloumbis deftly explores themes of honesty, trust, and authenticity by setting up her protagonists in a tricky game based on deceit. Cloaked in darkness and anonymity, Vinnie is able to tease out the authentic side of a girl who's practiced at playing a role. It's an awkward role for him, and throughout he's a winning character. By setting the story in the 1970s, Couloumbis neatly sidesteps the minefield posed by modern communication, which is a shame. Raised in an age of texting and Facebook, her readers probably won't fully grasp the stakes and allure of the midnight phone calls the way their parents might. And for all the soul-searching and longing for connection, some of the seamier notes -- such as Patsy's clear pleasure in receiving "obscene calls" -- are disconcerting (though realistic).

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