Thursday, 22 May 2014

Blog Tour: Review - Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan

Publisher: Dial
Format: Hardcover / eBook
Released: May 1st, 2014
Rating: 8.5/10

Amazon summary:

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've been a fan of Erin McCahan's writing ever since I read her debut novel, I Now Pronounce You Someone Else, way back in 2010 (wow, where does the time go?!). She has a fantastic way with words and a great understanding of the teenage mind, so I was ridiculously excited to get the chance to read her second novel, Love and Other Foreign Words. It's just as good as I Now Pronounce You Someone Else and has further cemented my love for McCahan's contemporary YA. I hope there's many more to come!

In Love and Other Foreign Words, we're introduced to Josie, a sixteen-year-old who spends her life translating other people's languages - high school, boyfriends, etc. The only people who speak her language and understand her are her sister Kate and lifelong best friend Stu, who also happen to be the two people closest to her. When Kate gets engaged to Geoff -- an irritating, unlikeable excuse for a man -- Josie begins plotting to break them up. Of course, nothing runs smoothly and Josie soon starts to reevaluate her life, feelings and just what it means to love.

I loved Josie, even through all her faults and mixed-up takes on family and friendship. She's a witty, hilarious person with a magnificent turn of phrase that even the most of sarcastic of people will wish they possessed. She says what she thinks and what she means with no regard for anyone else, and she lives by a regimental routine that can NOT be altered. It's just the way she's wired, which is most probably down to her high IQ and college ID card. She's learning at a much higher level than she should be, and so interacts with people older, wiser and quite similar to herself. On occasion she forgets she's still a sixteen-year-old high school student and can easily alienate her peers, which is an area of life she struggles with. She's such a layered character and, if you scratch just below the surface, you'll see she's as confused and mixed up as any other teenager at her school.

Erin McCahan has a knack for tapping into the minds of teenagers, making them come to life with more realism than expected. These people are ones you meet every day, in one way or another, and their situations, worries and hopes are all universal, no matter your age. Reading this book took me back to my own high school and college years up until I was eighteen and going through similar things to Josie. There's a lot to sort out at that age, both physically and emotionally, and Josie and Co. do this confusing time justice (even if she is a bit wayward in her determination to break Kate and Geoff up!).

Love and Other Foreign Words is funny, truthful and a must-read for anyone who likes contemporary YA. It's a lesson in life, love, friendship and family, and what happens when you find yourself faced with impossible situations. I can't wait to read more from this author and I'm keeping my fingers crossed it won't be another four years in the making. Maybe we'll even get to revisit Josie again one day!

1 comment:

Katie said...

Like you, I was looking forward to this one ever since I read Erin McCahan's debut. It definitely lived up to my hopes. Like you said, Josie was hilarious and I couldn't help but love her, flaws and all. Great review!