Reviews for Not Exactly a Love Story

School Library Journal Reviews 2013 March

Gr 9 Up--Non-athletic, 15-year-old Vinnie doesn't think life can get any worse than his dog dying, his case of hyperactive acne, and his parents' sudden divorce. Then his mother marries his gym teacher. The silver lining in the teenager's rain cloud is that their new home in Queens is next door to foxy, blonde Patsy. Even though he's too scared to talk to her, serendipity provides Vinnie with her phone number, which begins a series of anonymous midnight phone conversations. Under the protective blanket of darkness, his suave, witty alter ego emerges as Vincenzo, resulting in a strong bond of friendship--albeit one built on false identities. Yet, when Vinnie's inner knight-in-shining-armor surfaces in the boys locker room to defend Patsy's honor, a hero is born (although somewhat bruised and disheveled), and with it a daylight friendship. Thus begins the melding of Vinnie/Vincenzo. Ultimately, Vinnie discovers that the risk of rejection is worth a chance to walk through the scary parts of life holding your best friend's hand. Couloumbis weaves a heartwarming tale about the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of teenage life and love. Maxwell Glick's narration perfectly captures struggling Vinnie and self-confident Vincenzo's voices, but offers little variation for the other characters. A great listen.--Cheryl Preisendorfer, Twinsburg City Schools, OH

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