Gimme a Call, by Sharon Mlynowski, (2010, 301 pages) is a YA novel that’s a ton of fun. Summary from Goodreads:
Devi’s life isn’t turning out at all like she wanted. She wasted the past three years going out with Bryan—cute, adorable, break-your-heart Bryan. Devi let her friendships fade, blew off studying, didn’t join any clubs . . . and now that Bryan has broken up with her, she has nothing left.
Not even her stupid cell phone—she dropped it in the mall fountain. Now it only calls one number . . . hers. At age fourteen, three years ago!
Once Devi gets over the shock—and convinces her younger self that she isn’t some wacko—she realizes that she’s been given an awesome gift. She can tell herself all the right things to do . . . because she’s already done all the wrong ones! Who better to take advice from than your future self?
Except . . .what if getting what you think you want changes everything?
This book was pure pleasure from start to finish. I loved the second chapter, when younger Devi thinks the voice on the other end of the phone sounds familiar but she can’t quite place it… I appreciated that the book is set in a small town in New York, which is where I also grew up.
I liked the middle, when older Devi keeps telling younger Devi what to do. The ripple effects of the choices freshman Devi makes are quickly seen in the life of senior Devi. For example, when younger Devi buckles down and studies, the “Congratulations!” letter on elder Devi’s bulletin board changes from a letter from “stupid state” to a note from a more prestigious college. Sometimes older Devi urgently texts/calls younger Devi to report that the action she just told her to take has had unintended consequences. Then younger Devi must turn on a dime and do the opposite, to the confusion of her friends.
Finally, I liked the resolution of the story. After a few months, younger Devi starts to feel like she is doing all the hard work–taking AP classes, piling on the extracurriculars, etc… — while older Devi gets to reap the benefits, and becomes resentful. Like any time travel story, it’s best not to overthink the space-time continuum mechanics. It was a lighthearted story, but it did have some big themes, namely, how does one balance enjoying the present with trying to ensure a good future? And, is it better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all? It did make me ponder for quite a while what advice I would give my three-years-younger self. Here’s what a few other people, including the author, would tell their younger selves:
I normally publish posts on Mondays as do my Marvelous Middle Grade pals, whose reviews you can read by following the links on Shannon Messenger’s blog.
Perhaps today would be a good day to start a Too Late Tuesday meme.