Gimme a Call by Sarah Mlynowski

If you could call your high school self and “fix” some of the mistakes you made, what would you say? I didn’t enjoy high school very much, so there are some things I would consider changing. High school me could have been more outgoing and a little less uptight. Maybe I could have spent a little less time looking down on everybody else and a little more time getting to know people. Mostly I wish I had had a little bit more fun. Respected social barriers less. Been more brave and less embarrassed. You know, the same things I wish for myself now.

My humble nerdy high school existence was pretty different from Devi, the main character in Gimme a Call. She spent the majority of her high school years with her boyfriend Bryan. When he breaks up with her just before senior prom, she realizes that she’s been on the wrong path. She has alienated all her girl friends, she’s not going to a good college, and she doesn’t really know who she is without Bryan. A combination of wishing well magic and a technological glitch means that her phone is suddenly able to call Freshman Devi. And every change that Freshman Devi makes causes Senior Devi’s life to change as well. Can they work together to achieve the best possible outcome of college and friends and maybe even a boyfriend? And what would that be, anyway?

My one complaint about this book is that I honestly could not keep all the characters straight. As Freshman Devi makes different choices, Senior Devi’s prom date keeps changing. But I wasn’t invested in those characters or that storyline enough to keep up with what was happening there. The rest of the plot, though it sounds convoluted, was actually very fun. Freshman Devi was able to learn something that it takes high school students years to learn: the more interesting you are as a person, the better friend and girlfriend (or boyfriend) you can be. She starts a path of learning how to have a more balanced life, one with friends and activities, one that’s focused on more than just a boy.

It was fun to see Senior Devi’s life continue to change minute by minute, and I enjoyed the dynamic between the two Devis as Senior Devi pushed Freshman Devi to work harder and get into a good college. (And, yes, she did sound just like a parent at times.) I especially enjoyed how the message of both working hard and enjoying yourself in high school came through without being too preachy. The two options were simply shown and the reader could easily see the pros and cons of each. I would have liked to see some exploration of some larger themes than just the social lives of Devi and her friends, but I can also accept that making those kinds of changes would mess a little too much with the space/time continuum (nerd alert). The book also left room for a sequel, so perhaps we will hear more about Devi and her adventures. Now that I have finished with it, I will be putting it in my school’s library and I think a lot of my girls will really enjoy it.

Random House provided me with a copy of this book to review. My opinions are my own.

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