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Love and Other Four Letter Words

Author: Carolyn Mackler
Reviewer's Age: Grade 11

Love and Other Four Letter Words is the story of a 16-year-old girl who is uprooted from her suburban upstate New York life to move to New York City with her mother after her parents separate. Sammie Davis is frustrated, no matter where she is. She doesn’t feel like she fits in at Ithaca or certainly not in the Big Apple. Her “perfect” best friend Kitty is slowly drifting away to the snob group of “beautiful people”, and Sammie is lacking experience in the romance department. To Sammie, her life goes from bad to worse with the separation, and their family trip to California becomes her father’s getaway trip. Once in the city, Sammie plans to spend a lonely summer by herself while her mother spends her time at job interviews or reading a self help book. However, things change quickly when Sammie’s mom Davis’s reunites with an old city friend and her two children and Sammie finds friendship at a nearby dog park. Although all seems well, Sammie has anger towards her parents and eventually it all spills out. However, in the end it seems to turn out okay. I liked this book because it was a page-turner: I couldn’t put it down! However, Sammie narrates in the angsty, satirical tone that many teens use. She has problems that most girls can relate to: the looks problem, the guy problem, the best friend problem; all of which we can’t wait to here more about. Another plus to this story is all the interesting characters Sammie meets along the way, such as J.D., the Johnny Depp look-alike who thinks her name is Sara; Jenna, a sarcastic girl who is supposed to feel “threatened” by Sammie, and Phoebe, the unlikely friend.

I would recommend this book as a quick but lively and fun read, taking on a speeding ride through the midst of the teen years.