Friday, May 2, 2014

Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan- Book Sparks Summer Reading Challenge

As part of the Book Sparks Summer Reading Challenge I am reviewing a new release that you guys are going to love!!! It's smart, funny, and heart warming. I had a hard time putting it down. I think you will, too.

Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan
Available Now
Dial Books 
Hardcover 336 pages
Contemporary YA
To Buy Links: Amazon/ Kindle/ BN/ Book Depository/ Indiebound/ Kobo

Goodreads-  Perfect for fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell, Love and Other Foreign Words is equal parts comedy and coming of age--a whip-smart, big-hearted, laugh-out-loud love story about sisters, friends, and what it means to love at all.

Can anyone be truly herself--or truly in love--in a language that's not her own?

Sixteen-year-old Josie lives her life in translation. She speaks High School, College, Friends, Boyfriends, Break-ups, and even the language of Beautiful Girls. But none of these is her native tongue--the only people who speak that are her best friend Stu and her sister Kate. So when Kate gets engaged to an epically insufferable guy, how can Josie see it as anything but the mistake of a lifetime? Kate is determined to bend Josie to her will for the wedding; Josie is determined to break Kate and her fiancé up. As battles are waged over secrets and semantics, Josie is forced to examine her feelings for the boyfriend who says he loves her, the sister she loves but doesn't always like, and the best friend who hasn't said a word--at least not in a language Josie understands.

The characters in the novel are so unique. Josie is the voice of the novel and she is a genius as well as eccentric. But her family is used to her eccentricities and love her either because of them or in spite of them.
The tag in her clothing bothers her. Too much noise, people, sensory input gets to her and she has to decompress with quiet and no stimulation. (I know this as Sensory Integrative Disorder but it was called something else in the book). She is a stickler for using grammar correctly (who isn't?). And she is fiercely protective of her family. She loves her sisters and readily accepted Maggie's husband into the family. But she is having a hard time with Geoffrey Stephen Brill, Kate's fiancee. Who uses the word irony incorrectly, brags about his IQ and discusses tick borne diseases at length. And he winks at Josie. Winks???

Josie is one of the most delightfully quirky, intelligent, and inquiring characters I have ever met. She spends a lot of time in her mind, overthinking. If there ever was a character I can identify with it's Josie, though she's a little more comfortable with herself than I am. She questions everything looking for meaning or the science behind it. And in her spare time, she tries to break her sister Kate and Geoffrey Stephen Brill up. But she isn't having any luck. So she contemplates life with Stu and Sophie best friends and neighbors and brother and sister.

Stu is also a genius. He and Josie attend college courses in the morning and high school classes in the afternoon.  The will graduate college early and attend graduate school at the time most students would be entering college. Stu knows Josie as well as her family so he knows when to be quiet and understands her idosyncrasies. He doesn't find them annoying or uncomfortable. Their friendship is easy going and humorous.

And the language. Josie has a theory that each social group, each person has their own language. And her interaction with the groups and their languages is so familiar, but something I never thought about before I read this novel. I have mom speak, wife speak, daughter speak, sister speak. I think I've kind of lost Heather speak somewhere along the line. But Josie has an interesting theory on that, too.

The love Josie's family has for each other is one that is slowly becoming a little more seen in the contemporary world of YA fiction. The sisters Kate and Josie are ten years apart in age but they are very close. Geoffrey Stephen Brill is a huge blow to Josie and she feels it is her job to prevent her sister from making the huge mistake of marrying him. Kate and Josie have huge fights, childish fights, bouts of not speaking, in the end they love each other, but in the middle it is all out war. And it makes you feel good, if you've ever had a sister or brother. Remembering those fights and making up. It reminded me of living under the same roof with my sister and why we are better friends now. There is  a language we all speak and only those that know us best understand our language, our own personal language. Those that take the time to listen to what we say. To understand us.

I could go on and on and on about this novel. I didn't expect this much from this novel. But it has so much to say. So much to make me think about. I loved the characters. Mom and Dad have more patience than I believe is humanly possible. Two sisters that love each other so much they can't breathe right if they are in a fight. And they fight to hang on to the love they have for each other. There is just so much in this novel. I will recommend this novel to everyone this year. It's sharp, witty, and shows just how much sisters can love each other.

I know this isn't my usual review style but this was really hard to review. It is probably one of the best books I've read this year. I would definitely put it up there with Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I absolutely loved it!

I received a copy of this novel from Book Spark for review. This did not affect my review in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.

Erin McCahan is an Ohio-dwelling, unabashedly Styx-loving, full-time writer who enjoys a variety of hobbies, excluding role-playing, sticky things, and karaoke. A former youth minister, she lives Columbus, Ohio, with her husband

Twitter: @ ErinMcCahan


  1. YAY! I'm reading this next because I'm on the tour too but I hadn't seen any reviews yet. I'm SO excited to read this. I'm actually about to take a break from the computer and was going to start it. Awesome review, I can't wait to meet these characters!

    1. It is so, so good! You will love Josie and Kate (sisters). Their fighting gets hysterical, but also sad. Their bond is very strong. I can't remember if you have a sister, but sisters can be so, so mean and then love each other so much the next minute. My sister and I are very close.

  2. I really enjoyed the review. You can really tell you had fun with this book. Oh this does sound fab and I so need to add it to my wishlist. I love the sound of all these characters!

  3. I need a book like this. I want to meet this characters and I don't see you give a WOW review hardly ever. I havent' seen this around but I am now hunting down a copy.

  4. Quirky, smart and the great cast of characters make this seem like a great one to pick up even if I haven't seen it around much

  5. I can't believe I haven't heard of this! I love novels like this one, which are simply so different and unique, so I'll have to add it to my TBR at once. Thanks for putting it on my radar, Heather! :)

  6. I have been seeing this book around for a while and I wasn't sure what to feel about it. A very interesting review for a very interesting book. Great blog!


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