Thursday, October 20, 2011

Book Review: Gimme a Call, by Sarah Mlynowski

Mlynowski, Sarah. Gimme a Call. 320 p. 2010. Delacorte. Hardcover $17.99. ISBN 9780385735889.

Ever since I read the premise of this novel, I knew it would be just my cup of tea. Seventeen-year-old Devi is approaching her high school graduation and mulling over a wretched breakup with her longtime boyfriend when she drops her cell phone in a fountain. After she fishes it out, it only dials one number: her fourteen year-old, freshman year self. What to do? Give herself advice and change her future, of course!


I have this sort of conversation with myself all the time: if I could do it over again, I’d do so much better, I’d work harder, I’d be more focused, I’d be more involved… “it” being whatever I’m thinking back on at the moment: high school, college, sorority life, piano lessons-- anything. Of course I wouldn’t waste time watching cartoons or blowing off my homework to talk to friends. Right?

The truth is, I’m sure I’d do the same things I did the first time around. And honestly, I don't have any major regrets about my life. Still, I can relate to seventeen-year-old Devi’s urge to go all drill-sergeant on her fourteen-year-old self to improve her prospects. Who doesn’t wish they could do it over again?

Gimme a Call is a fun, quick read with engaging characters and hilarious twists and turns as Devi keeps trying to make things perfect. Mlynowski does an excellent job contrasting seventeen-year-old Devi's manic desperation for her younger self to make good choices with fourteen-year-old Devi's desire to simply explore and enjoy life. It may be a light read, but this book provides a really insightful look at the changes that take place between freshman and senior year, how priorities and personalities can shift as we grow.

I could read this book any time of the year and love it- because it’s just a very ME kind of book- but it would make an especially good beach read. Objectively speaking, the writing might have benefited from editorial tightening here and there, but personally, I enjoyed every bit of it.

There should really be a movie based on this book. It would be utterly adorable.

I would recommend Gimme a Call to readers who enjoy Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler's The Future of Us and vice versa.

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