Not Exactly a Love Story by Audrey Couloumbis
Random House BYR | Hardcover, 288 pages
Publication Date: December 11th, 2012
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
This is not exactly fresh from publication. A book that’s about almost a year old is pretty much ancient by this genre’s standards. With so many new books being published every week, it would take a whole lot to spark interest in your year-old book. How did this book ever ping my radar is beyond me.
Admittedly though, I wanted to read this because I was curious of its setting. 1977 is a good year. Nostalgia in the disco era? Priceless. And besides, this setting is rare in YA. Sadly, other than the fact that their phone was unable to call back numbers of recent callers, there was really nothing that hinted this book was set in that era. No mention of bell-bottom jeans, flare collars as wide as the span of stingrays and none of the men sported those long flowing locks. Maybe the author didn’t think it vital?
It is so important. How else would we know it was speaking of a time four decades past?
That was disappointing, really.
Anyway, I was looking forward to reading what promises to be an unconventional romance. In this aspect, the book came through in a flawless fashion. Actually, the romance was barely there. But maybe the author has her own definition of romance? It was a relationship that unwittingly developed between the obscene caller and the recipient of the obscene call. Other than that, the basics of a YA romance novel remain. The geeky, awkward boy pining for the popular girl and standing up to the bully football player who has the popular girl.
I do like that this book showed the growth in our unlikely hero. Meaning, he started out as a geek and then slowly become a swoon-worthy heartthrob. You really do see Vinnie come of age in your eyes. With so much upheaval thrown his way, he did not even blink in the face of adversity. He tackled everything with the gusto and bravery of a full-bloodied Italian. From break outs, his parents’ divorce and consequential moving-on stage, Vinnie did not crumble or succumb to drama. He toughed it out and dealt with it the way he knew how.
The love interest doesn’t really give much in a way that you would get to know her. To me, she was just a cookie-cutter girl who held Vinnie’s attention. There was a moment there when I thought she would show some bones but the subject was never broached. She has this loneliness about her that ultimately made her answer the midnight phone calls from the pervert. Like most people, she has two different faces. One for show and one when she’s entirely alone. You can’t fault her for entertaining the obscene calls because it didn’t take long before she realizes how honest she can be with someone who she thought was a faceless stranger.
I think this book was a good change from the typical romances that are out there. We’ve gotten so used to cute boy-meets-girl love stories that when we encounter something such as this one, we don’t know what to do with ourselves. I found out that I am a conventional girl; one who loves the conventional romance. Unfortunately, as unique as this one is, it just didn’t appeal to me.