Review: Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan

Publisher: Dial Books (May 1st 2014)
Hardcover: 336 pages
Add on: Goodreads
Rating: 5 of 5 Star

Can anyone be truly herself–or truly in love–in a language that’s not her own?

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 fiancé 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.

Review:

• I love it when a novel comes along and it gets you. Like the author knows exactly what you want. Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan was one of those books that just got me. Even though it was supposed to be one of those profound books (i.e. The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider and Breakfast Served Anytime by Sarah Combs) found that it was super easy to read and follow. Right from the beginning I was sucked into Josie’s narration. She’s smart, sarcastic, and the tell it like it is type. There was something about Josie that I loved reading about. I think the unexpected humor made me fall for this book deep. It had a bit of Breakfast Served Anytime touch to it, but what made Love and Other Foreign Words fun was you get Josie and what she is feeling from the moment you meet her, even though she’s gifted.

• I’m happy to report that there was no insta-love. The romance between Stu and Josie was built-up. They had this friendship that made it possible that there could be love between them.  I mean technically there were any hardcore oozing chemistry, but it was there. Subtle. But, there. It was interesting to see the types of love Josie experienced in the book: first love, friendship love, sibling love. She questions about it throughout, especially about the love that Kate and Geoff has because she doesn’t think that Geoff is right for Kate. But, I loved her relationship with Stu. It was down to earth. The type that makes you think hey maybe romance shouldn’t happen between them, yet the transition was natural. I was hit by the feels towards the last couple of pages of the book.

• Geoff was kind of a jerk. Especially when it came to giving some advice about Josie’s mother’s cooking. I don’t know…that sort of rubbed me the wrong way. You don’t complain about the food that is being served to you unless you’re super close to the person.

• Basically I love Josie’s relationship with all the characters, even though Stu’s name reminded me of the Hangover movie for some reason. >:

• It has its laughing out loud moments. “French for pogo stick is baton de pogo. I have no idea how I know this, but I do. I think I should also know it in Spanish and will ask my professor at the end of class today. If I don’t, it will plague me for life” (P63).

• The reason why I loved Josie so much was that I can relate to her and what she’s going through. Not only about why her sister is changing and hates it, but it’s hard to figure out the language of love when you don’t know what the definition of love is. Especially at an age where your hormones override everything.

• I can relate to Stu’s “pseudo morning person – awake and cogent early but not ready to move for hours, if he has a choice” (P115). I mean how can you not see how perfect that describes my morning person-ness. Finally, someone gets it.

• Kate’s and Josie’s fights were hilarious and reminds me of my own sibling fights. Although it would’ve been more realistic if Josie had parents that said “go to your room” comments instead of trying to pacify them with this calmness. They were the smiley happy parents that understand their daughters. That part was weird.

Author: Jackie

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