Not Exactly a Love Story

Audrey Couloumbis. Random, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-375-86783-5

Fifteen-year-old Vinnie is not excited to move from Queens to Long Island with his newly remarried mother, but his attitude softens a bit after he glimpses the beautiful girl next door from his bedroom window. Unfortunately, when he calls Patsy, he loses his nerve and his voice, and Patsy pegs him as a "breather." Rather than explain himself, Vinnie impulsively plays the role of a mystery man/obscene caller, piquing Patsy's interest during the series of calls that follow. Soon, midnight phone conversations with Patsy are part of Vinnie's regular routine; the two establish an intimate relationship of sorts, speaking openly about matters they'd never discuss in public. When Patsy expresses her desire to meet in person, Vinnie, fearing rejection, is at a loss. Set in the 1970s, this offbeat love story humorously portrays the moments of vulnerability and bravado that change the course of these two teenagers' fates. Couloumbis (Lexie) steadily builds tension (the romance between Patsy and Vinnie never feels like a foregone conclusion) in a story with superb comedic repartees and a twisty-turvy plot. Ages 12–up. Agent: Jill Grinberg, Grinberg Literary Management. (Dec.)
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