April, a high school junior, gets what probably many teenage kids want from their parents. Complete freedom which comes from living on her own in a different city and different state (or country, even, in the case of her mom). Plus $1000 in a bank account every month with little or no checking up on what that money was used for. So, using a variety of stealthy, teenager-y techniques known worldwide to fool the 'rents, April and her good friend, Vi, set up a couple of fake e-mail (or pmail) address for their respective parents so they are able to moderate the situation. April's dad agrees, after talking to Vi impersonating her mother on the phone and a series of e-mail's sent to Vi's mom's fake pmail address, to allow her to stay in Connecticut while he and the new wife move to Cleveland. Then April and Vi, since Vi's mom is on tour as Mary Poppins and not actually staying in the house with them, proceed to do ten things they probably shouldn't have.
Ok, I have to say right off that I went in intending to enjoy this book. I got a kick out of Mlynowski's last book, Gimme a Call, so I thought this one would be as likable and fun. But, seriously, I didn't like the character of April or Vi or their parents. The only decent character that I felt positive feelings for throughout the entire book was April's brother, Matthew. Oh, and April's cat, Donut, because, really, who can hate a cute little kitten.
Let's start with my opinion of April. I understand that she's had to deal with finding out her mom was cheating and then that her parents announced their divorce THE DAY AFTER her birthday but that doesn't give her any excuse to not be accountable to herself and her parents. I mean, really, she has absolutely NO KNOWLEDGE how to start a dishwasher? Or that you have to PAY for electricity?
I had never actually run a dishwasher before. That was something my mom did, and then Penny or my dad.
Turns out you have to pay for electricity--like, every month. Who knew?
And she really must have either no concept of money or totally disregard her father because she just throws the money he gives her every month around like it's pretend (I would guess the former but it's probably a combination both). She buys a hot tub for crying out loud! I really could go on a bit for all the things I found appalling about April (and her friends and her parents) but I wouldn't want to ruin the story. I almost found some redemption in April about 2/3 of the way through but she let me down on dealing with the responsibility her dad handed her and how she treated the people that were trying to help her out.
I'm not sure if it's my adult sensibilities in this response to how April and her friend are acting but I really feel that if I had read this as a teenager I would have the exact same reaction. I mean, ok, I never had to deal with picking up the phone and hearing my mom in some sexy talk with her lover or my parents divorcing but I don't think that's a rational way for a seemingly normal kid.
And, I really can't believe both of her parents would be so cavalier about not keeping her with them. After all of their familial discord you would think they would want to have her feel wanted and loved rather than coddling her every whim and being afraid to put their foot down. I was astonished when her dad even considered allowing her to stay with Vi and didn't even have a face-to-face with Vi's mom. And then he was going to let her have her own apartment the next year because Vi would be going off to college. AND THEN, when April had finally had enough and decided that she didn't want to be on her own any more and wanted to move to Cleveland to be with her dad he said, "it's just not practical." Oh, and that was because her "stepmom needed her art studio" and "the guest bedroom just has the pull-out couch and all our gym equipment." April herself said she and her dad had a close relationship so I really found it hard that A) he let her stay behind on the move to Cleveland in the first place and B) he couldn't find room for her in their house when she finally came to her senses and wanted to live with them!
I was reading this book on my NookColor and I couldn't resist using the "notes and highlights" option. I have to say, a majority of my comments/notes ranged from "WTF?" to "that's RIDICULOUS" to "oh my freaking god!!!!!!!!" I really feel like I probably shouldn't have finished reading this book but when I got to the part where I was finally going to say, yes, I'm done with you there was the redeeming response that April had to her injured cat. I felt compelled to read and find out what happened there but, ultimately, I was very disappointed in the characters as well as the story as a whole.