Not Exactly a Love Story is a 70s era YA coming-of-age novel by Audrey Couloumbis.
It’s 1977 and fifteen-year old Vinnie Gold is not loving the twists his life has been taking this year.
His acne is so bad that the dermatologist seemed frightened, his gal left for California without even a goodbye, his parent’s got divorced, so now he’s been moved to Long Island to a new home where his mom is now married to his – ack! – gym teacher!
Plus, he’s failing gym.
Yep, it’s been not so awesome.
Yet his silver lining is his gorgeous next-door-neighbor classmate Patsy.
Happenchance leads him to her phone number, and one night, late, he gathers the courage to call. But, of course, his nerves lead him to say the worst thing possible.
Somehow, though, it becomes a routine. Every night Vinnie calls Patsy, as his anonymous self, and he finds himself start to develop a tentative rapport with her. He’s more confident, he’s mysterious. He’s Vincenzo.
But the way he interacts (or actually does NOT interact) with Patsy in real life is a stark contrast. He wonders if he can ever confess who is and talk to her face-to-face…
Not Exactly a Love Story is fun, fast-paced and interesting – though I did feel that it lacked a BIG moment of coming-of-age poignancy or any kind of real momentous air. Yet, I can’t deny that I really liked Vinnie as a character.
He’s a nice guy, but not without flaws. What he’s dealing with at home is done with humor, but also just enough emotion to know that the changes hurt him. But he’s such a good guy, that he isn’t flipping out over it all. Too much.
Now, Patsy took me a lot longer to warm up to. Except for her looks, I couldn’t see the allure. Of course, that makes sense for an initial infatuation, and Vinnie isn’t shallow enough not to notice. With time, though, we get to slowly pull back more layers of Patsy as well.
So, really it had a good weight to it – even if I do think it could have been more.
Golly, have I been saying that a lot lately?
Anyway, late in the book there is a school dance that happily names some excellent 70s bands and music! However, I really did not feel the 70s vibe as strongly as I would have liked. Except for the absence of computers and cell phones, it wasn’t all that evident. That was kinda sad.
Not Exactly a Love Story is a sweet, funny, likable novel that may not necessarily blow your socks off, but will entertain you for a good few hours for sure! Check it out!!