Reviews for Not Exactly a Love Story

Booklist Reviews 2012 December #1
Just as the title promises, this is a romance--sort of. Fifteen-year-old Vinnie happens upon the phone number of his crush, Patsy, and calls her at midnight only to blurt out the kind of vulgar statement that would make an obscene phone caller proud. He calls again, once more at midnight, to apologize. So begins a strange dial-a-relationship between two teens who come to realize their similarity: "If I'm screwed up it's okay, because we both are." Vinnie keeps his identity secret--he thinks of his confident phone persona as "Vincenzo"--but Patsy is angling to meet at the masked Valentine's Day dance. If you've seen your share of teen movies, you know what's afoot: Patsy develops an interest in the real Vinnie and begins discussing him with Vincenzo. What to do?! There are a number of plot and character stretches here, and Patsy's interest in her phone stalker never quite washes. However, the general lack of serious incident and sprinkling of family drama mark this for what it is: a light, diverting read that goes down easy. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Spring
It's 1977, and fifteen-year-old Vinnie moves from Queens to Long Island. He finds next-door neighbor Patsy's unlisted number on the ground; on the phone they enjoy a flirty chemistry, and their in-person relationship also gradually develops. The story moves to a satisfying conclusion as Vinnie's identity is revealed. Couloumbis's novel, refreshingly sweet and nostalgic, is a solid choice for teenage romantics.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2012 #6
It's 1977, and fifteen-year-old Vinnie is still coping with his parents' (amicable) divorce when his mother gets remarried (to his gym teacher), moving the family from Queens to Long Island. Vinnie develops a crush on his next-door neighbor, Patsy, but he doesn't even have the courage to pursue a friendship with her, let alone a date. When an obnoxious jock, who proves to be a rival for Patsy's affections, drops her unlisted number on the ground, Vinnie seizes upon his chance. Things don't start out well; during his first nervous call, the mild-mannered Vinnie engages in heavy breathing and obscenity-spewing. Things improve when he calls her again the next night -- and every night after that, always around midnight. On the phone Vinnie and Patsy enjoy a flirty chemistry, and their in-person relationship also gradually develops. The story moves to a satisfying conclusion as Vinnie's identity is revealed shortly after the junior prom. The book's 1970s setting, with its lack of cell phones, allows for a sense of anticipation to build around Vinnie and Patsy's nightly calls and moves their burgeoning relationship front and center. Couloumbis's novel, refreshingly sweet and nostalgic, is a solid choice for teenage romantics. jonathan hunt Copyright 2012 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 November #1
A late-night phone call turned bad…turns good. After his parents' quick divorce and his mother's even quicker remarriage to his gym teacher, Mr. Buonofuoco, in 1977, 15-year-old, half-Italian/half-Jewish Vinnie Gold relocates from New York City to Long Island with his mother and Mr. B. The loner teen knows that Patsy, the "foxy blonde" next door, is out of his league, but after discovering her private number, he musters the courage to call her at midnight. His nervousness and bumbling, however, leave Patsy thinking he's an obscene caller. The potential creepiness of the situation is not lost on Vinnie, and it fuels his desire to right his wrong and prove himself. So he calls back, and this time Patsy keeps listening--and even talking. With a shield of partial anonymity, their midnight repartee continues night after night, developing into an unusual romance that keeps Patsy guessing at Vinnie's identity and Vinnie watching the school's football star abuse her. In a first-person narration that ranges from humor and quirkiness to insecurity and anger, Vinnie struggles between two personas. Can he ever reconcile both selves and still keep Patsy's interest? Even if Patsy doesn't fall for Vinnie, readers will grow to love his vulnerability and sincerity. His parents' evolving relationships echo his own maturation. Not exactly a perfect story. But it comes pretty close. (Fiction. 13 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 November #1

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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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 November

Gr 9 Up--A story set on Long Island, New York, in 1977. Vinnie Gold has just turned 15, his dog dies soon thereafter, his crush moves away, and his parents announce they are getting a divorce. A good deal of this book is spent exploring with family dynamics after the breakup. Vinnie's mom ends up marrying Mr. Buonofuco, Vinnie's gym teacher. His dad, on the other hand, never wanted a divorce, but eventually begins to create a new life for himself. While Vinnie's family life is changing, so is his personal life. He moves to the suburbs with his mom and Mr. B and develops a crush on his next-door neighbor, Patsy, who, as luck would have it, is incredibly attractive and goes to his school. He accidentally acquires her unlisted phone number and decides to call her-night after night after night. At first she is angry, but as time goes by, they develop a relationship. A third of the way through the book readers may become tired of Vinnie's calls and disturbed at his stalkerish behavior. However, if they continue, they will find that he grows up and turns out to be a decent guy. This novel deals with many hard topics surrounding divorce, insecurity, and relationhips.Jesse L. Ray, Seattle Public Library, WA

[Page 102]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

VOYA Reviews 2012 December
It is November 1977, and Vinnie Gold has moved to Long Island with his mother and new stepfather, who has been hired as a football coach and PE teacher at the local high school. It is the first time Vinnie has lived in a house, and the first time he has had a phone in his room. They are living next door to Patsy, a beautiful blonde the same age as Vinnie. She is part of the popular crowd, and Vinnie is sure she could never be interested in him, even if he could get her to notice him. He gets her phone number through an accident and decides to call, although by the time he gets the nerve, it is midnight. He wants to ask her to a movie, but what comes out, after a few false starts, qualifies as an obscene phone call. The next night he calls--again at midnight--to apologize. This begins a nightly series of phone calls during which they establish a connection. Patsy wants that connection in person and insists that they meet at the upcoming Valentine's dance. Vinnie agrees but also makes a point to interact with her in person, which leads him to reveal the truth to her a few days later--a truth she was close to guessing. Although it is a pleasant story, it is doubtful that most teens are going to be able to relate to the story. It is obvious that the 1977 setting is used so that there are no cell phones, caller IDs, texting, or Facebook. Today's teens have no concept of the anonymity necessary for this story to succeed. Purchase where more tween books are needed because it is doubtful this title will appeal to older teens.--Suanne Roush 4Q 2P M J S Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.