Friday, June 13, 2014

Book Review- Love and Other Foreign Words

I finished reading Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan today for a BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge Blog Tour.

About the book:

Sixteen-year-old Josie lives her life in translation. She speaks High School, College, Friends, Boyfriends, Break-ups, and even the language of Beautiful Girls. But none of these is her native tongue--the only people who speak that are her best friend Stu and her sister Kate. So when Kate gets engaged to an epically insufferable guy, how can Josie see it as anything but the mistake of a lifetime? Kate is determined to bend Josie to her will for the wedding; Josie is determined to break Kate and her fiancĂ© up. As battles are waged over secrets and semantics, Josie is forced to examine her feelings for the boyfriend who says he loves her, the sister she loves but doesn't always like, and the best friend who hasn't said a word--at least not in a language Josie understands. 

I have to admit it.  It took me a little while to get into the book.  The language at the beginning just wasn't flowing and seemed awkward.  I was really wondering about the author's writing style.  But then I read about Josie being gifted.  I'm not sure if I missed it at the beginning or it just wasn't clear, but once I understood that, the writing seemed to be much more effective.  I got it.

I liked Josie.  She was exceptionally smart.  And because of that, she was in her own world.  But I also saw touches of Asperger's in her.  It was never mentioned, but I've taught several kids with Aspergers and they had some of the same qualities with everything needing to be in its place and with sensations (for example, no one being able to touch her hair.)  I found her to be quite funny in her frankness.  And I liked that the author wrote her as being extremely gifted, even attending a local college half day, yet she wasn't an outcast at school.  I liked that while she knew she was different, she was still welcome and fit in, in her own way.

I thought they whole premise of the language aspect was really interesting.  The Josie language versus the popular languages and the languages of individual people really made me think.  I started thinking about the individual languages of the loved ones in my life and even my kindergartners.  I liked that it made me reflect.

Even though there's no sequel (at least, I'm pretty sure there isn't one) I would love to read more about Josie!  Without giving away the ending, I want to know what happens next!  Does it work out with the boy, and what happens in her senior year of high school? I guess it's up to my imagination--and it has to be in Josie language of course! 

I gave this book a rating of 4/5.

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge Book Tour.

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About the author

Erin McCahan is the author of the YA book I Now Pronounce You Someone Else (Scholastic, June 2010). Erin’s debut novel was a 2010 Cybils Award finalist. She grew up in Michigan and worked extensively with teenagers before beginning her writing career. She lives in Columbus, Ohio. 

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