We Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, a True Story

Book review by
Kate Pavao, Common Sense Media
We Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, a True Story Book Poster Image
Funny memoir of a boy trying to get his first girlfriend.

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Kids say

age 13+
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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

This is a fast-paced book, thanks to the additions of some Venn diagrams and graphs as Josh tries to scientifically investigate his romantic problems. Parents may be inspired by Josh's sometimes mortifying stories to share some of their own. 

Positive Messages

Josh ultimately learns, "It was not the shape of my body, as it turns out, but my insecurities about that shape that had kept me single." Could lead to some good conversations about dating, the importance of being vulnerable and honest, and even healthy vs. creepy behavior. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Josh is a likable, self-deprecating character who's able to look at his behavior and admit when he failed to read signs correctly (including one time when he accidentally became pretty creepy). 

Violence

Josh is pushed to the ground by an older kid on the first day of public school. He's a childhood cancer survivor who had only a 50/50 chance of surviving and lost a leg due to the disease.

Sex

We Should Hang Out Sometime ia a book about dating, and Josh talks about first kisses, touching a girl's breast, anxiety over erections, and students engaged in Ambiguous College Relationships. His parents worry about teen pregnancy and don't let him date until he's 16. He's stalked by one girl who watches him constantly. 

Language
Consumerism

Starbucks, Red Lobster, and Whole Foods get a mention.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Josh doesn't drink until he's 21, and even then he limits himself to a beer or two. While underage, he sneaks into a fraternity party where there's a lot of drinking, and he hangs out with friends at a bar. He also talks about people who hook up after getting drunk.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that We Should Hang Out Sometime is a funny, fast-paced memoir of a boy trying to figure out his romantic problems. At age 25, Josh Sundquist looks back, using a pseudo-scientific analysis that includes silly graphs and Venn diagrams, as he talks about first kisses, touching a girl's breast, anxiety over erections, and students engaged in Ambiguous College Relationships. His parents worry about teen pregnancy and don't let him date until he's 16. Josh doesn't drink until he's 21, and even then he limits himself to a beer or two. While underage, he does sneak into a fraternity party where there's a lot of drinking, and he hangs out with friends at a bar. He also talks about people who hook up after getting drunk. A childhood cancer survivor who had only a 50/50 chance of surviving, Josh lost a leg due to his disease. He ultimately learns, "It was not the shape of my body, as it turns out, but my insecurities about that shape that had kept me single." Parents may be inspired by Josh's sometimes mortifying stories to share some of their own early-dating stories. Teens my know him from his YouTube channel, which has attracted more than 25 million views and has 200,000 subscribers.

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Teen, 14 years old Written byRocio.flutist June 26, 2018

What's the story?

Josh Sundquist is in his mid-20s and has never had a real girlfriend. In fact, his longest relationship lasted only 23 hours. So he decides to do some scientific investigation to see if he can find out what's keeping him from true love: He revisits awkward and sometimes painful memories of all the girls he's loved before -- and then actually visits them in real life or over email to see what they were thinking all those years ago. Bright Josh knows that, as a formerly homeschooled Christian who survived childhood cancer but had to have a leg amputated, he's different from other guys. But the conclusion he ultimately comes to has less to do with how girls perceive him than how he perceives himself.  

Is it any good?

Readers will be impressed by Josh's humor, vulnerability, and some of the universal truths he sums up in WE SHOULD HANG OUT SOMETIME. They'll relate to his comments about how awkward first kisses always are, or how, in middle school at least, "not having to actually interact with my new girlfriend definitely made the having-a-girlfriend part way easier." 

Silly graphs and Venn diagrams along the way reinforce Josh's pseudo-scientific approach while helping make the book a fast-paced read. In the end, readers new to dating will appreciate the lessons about self-acceptance and learning to deal with rejection -- as well as examples of how, when it comes to romance, everyone basically feels confused and mortified most of the time.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Josh's romantic problems. What does he ultimately learn? 

  • Josh calls one crush every day during the summer, even though she never answers or returns his calls -- behavior he's later mortified by. When does attention become stalking?

  • Josh says, "If I really want to find you on Facebook, no number of privacy setting is going to stop me," which he speculates may be the "creepiest sentence" in his book. Do you think he's right? Parents might want to use this opportunity to review Common Sense Media's privacy and Internet safety tips with their kids.

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