By Audrey Couloumbis
“Readers will grow to love his vulnerability and sincerity. Not exactly a perfect story. But it comes pretty close.” —Kirkus *Starred Review*
“As the emotional stakes rise, Vinnie’s story becomes compulsively readable. The more he clings to the masks he’s made, the more his vulnerability comes through… His personality has been rendered in enough warm, honest detail to drive a sequence of events that, left to a lesser writer, might feel cartoonish.” —The NewYork Times
“Couloumbis’s Newbery Honor book, GETTING NEAR TO BABY, broke my heart…Couloumbis’s Not Exactly a Love Story, her YA debut, is about a boy and a girl and a telephone: It’s 1977, and, through a series of anonymous phone calls, 15-year-old Vinnie develops a relationship with the neighbor he has a crush on. Does this sound kind of odd? Yes. Am I really looking forward to letting Couloumbis blow my doubts out of the water again? Yes.” —The Atlantic Monthly’s Atlantic Wire
“Couloumbis writes with fluid and tender beauty about a kid who’s hoping he can just pretend to be who he wants to be and ends up finding himself on the way.” –The Bulletin
“Not Exactly a Love Story’s 1970s setting, with its lack of cell phones, allows for a sense of anticipation to build around Vinnie and Patsy’s nightly calls and moves their burgeoning relationship front and center. Couloumbis’s novel, refreshingly sweet and nostalgic, is a solid choice for teenage romantics.” —Horn Book
”Set in the 1970s, this offbeat love story humorously portrays the moments of vulnerability and bravado that change the course of these two teenagers’ fates. Couloumbis (Lexie) steadily builds tension (the romance between Patsy and Vinnie never feels like a foregone conclusion) in a story with superb comedic repartees and a twisty-turvy plot.” —Publisher’s Weekly
“A story that shows “Catfishing” happening back before Facebook and the Internet, this story offers a glimpse of the 1970s to today’s teenager.” —News and Sentinel (Parkersburg, WV)
Thank you, to Rather be Reading:
The author does tackle some heavy subjects, but manages to maintain a certain lightness. There’s such a calculated balance between Vinnie’s situation at home (new stepfather; embracing his inner athlete; juggling his time with both parents) and the version of himself that talks to Patsy late into the night. And the author does a great job of highlighting each of those intertwining plotlines as they come to a fulfilling end.
In a world full of books about revenge, car accidents, and post-apocalyptic challenges, it feels so right (and so refreshing!) to settle down with a genuine book about real people dealing with every day problems, bumbling around to find their own happiness.
Did I mention there was dancing?
See full review at the website.