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Accidental Love Hardcover – January 1, 2006

4.1 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-10–A cell-phone mix-up leads to first love in this warmhearted, humorous novel. Marisa Rodriguez, 14, is an indifferent student at her run-down school, chubby from an excess of junk food, and too quick to express her anger with her fists. Still, she dreams of a better life. When she meets geeky Rene, love blossoms despite his highwater pants, white socks, and honking laugh. She is inspired to switch to a better high school, where she improves her grades, loses weight, and even gets a part in the school play. Obstacles present themselves, of course; Marisa's former classmates are threatened by her attempts to better herself, and Rene's domineering mother opposes their relationship. Soto's portrayal of Marisa's family, friends, and neighborhood–in a novel peppered with Spanish words and teen slang–is set in a world where poverty, drugs, and early pregnancy are acknowledged but don't dominate the story. Marisa is the most sympathetic character, while others are less fully developed. Occasionally stilted dialogue and clunky writing (She breathed in and out like a prizefighter) will distract some readers. However, it's hard not to like spunky Marisa and appreciate the fresh point of view she brings to what otherwise might be a typical teen romance.–Miranda Doyle, San Francisco Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 7-10. After a scuffle with the "sorry rat" who broke her best friend's heart, 14-year-old Marisa grabs the wrong cell phone. It belongs to Rene, a "muy wimpy" chess player who attends a magnet school across town. As they exchange phones, Marisa finds herself curiously drawn to Rene, a skinny, "genuine nerd," very different from the homeboys at her rough school. Inspired to make a change, and get closer to Rene, Marisa transfers to his school and is surprised to find herself transformed from "a moody shadow" in class to someone who "could bare her soul." As she and Rene progress to handholding and kisses, secrets emerge that threaten their academic possibilities and their affection. Soto deepens this gentle romance between opposites with subtle, authentic glimpses of an uncertain world, where adults don't always provide protection and nurturing. With humor and insight, he creates memorable, likable characters in Marisa and Rene, who find support and love by valuing authenticity and sweetness over cool. A glossary of the text's occasional Spanish words and phrases is appended. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 780L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books; 1 edition (January 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152054979
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152054977
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #927,446 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Marisa Rodriguez is a Latina with a hot temper. She goes to a rough school and is accustomed to solving problems with her fists. This is actually how she meets the boy who will end up changing her life. When Marisa gets into a fistfight with Roberto, the slimy boyfriend of her best friend Alicia, Roberto's nerdy math tutor Rene is there to break it up. During the scuffle, Marisa and Rene accidentally pick up each other's cell phones. Upon exchanging them, it is evident that there is an undeniable chemistry between the two.

They begin dating and become inseparable. Marisa ends up transferring to Rene's school and uses her aunt's address on her registration. They audition to be in Romeo and Juliet together, begin a fitness plan (Marisa wants to lose weight and Rene is determined to gain muscle), and each desire a personality makeover (Marisa would like to stop reacting so violently, while Rene wishes to be cooler).

Because their attitudes and personalities are so different, it's understandable that Marisa and Rene must deal with certain conflicts and pressures in their relationship. These are the kinds of problems that all teenagers will face at some point in their lives. As a result, readers will be able to relate to this young couple quite well; they will want them to succeed and be happy with each other.

Included at the end of the book is a glossary containing Spanish terms that are sprinkled throughout the pages. In no way do the presence of these words detract from the overall reading of the novel; most can be figured out easily from the context of the sentence they are in.

Through his outstanding story, Gary Soto demonstrates that young adults indeed are capable of overcoming various hurdles to become whatever it is they want to be. They can succeed and make better lives for themselves, just as Marisa and Rene have done in ACCIDENTAL LOVE.

--- Reviewed by Melissa A. Palmer
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Format: Paperback
Filled with all of the drama and angst that puberty, school, friends and self-image can create, this ultimately is a story of self-worth and realization, love and conflict resolution and finding your own inner strength to change and grow: for yourself. Gary Soto has seamlessly integrated the feelings of alienation and self-doubt so common to everyone, given us real-world examples of behaviors that these insecurities can create and shown readers how to strive for dreams, even when circumstances may seem dire.

Marisa is a 14 year old Latina girl with dreams of better and more. Sadly, her anger and her school are both conspiring against her, a steady intake of junk food doesn't help, and her go-to problem solvers are her fists. A series of misguided actions to take revenge for her friend Alicia, Rene steps in to stop the fight. Marisa and Rene inadvertently grab each other's cellphones, and from there a relationship is sparked.

Marisa and Rene have to weather many difficulties: their relationship has caused Rene grief with his mother, and his more `nerdy' appearance has schoolmates laughing at Marisa. Their conflicts are not only from the outside pressures: their own development and learning to deal with conflict, how to work with others, and even how to realize their own dreams are laid out with easy to understand examples that are common to most of us at one point in life or another.

Barrie Kreinik narrates with smooth delivery, neither over the top exclamations or tone, with smoothly conversational insertions of the Spanish words that are sprinkled throughout the story. While there is definition of the Spanish for those who don't speak it, the meaning of most of the words is clear in context.

I received an MP3 download from the audio producer via AudioBook Jukebox for purpose of honest review for the Heard Word. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
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Format: Paperback
Accidental Love is a sweet book about two teens who end up with eachothers cell phones and fall in love. The thing I loved so much about this book was the style of writting. It is written in the same style as Star Girl. I enjoyed the way that Marrisa and Rene grow up. I think its neat that Rene made Marrisa want to become a better person. Overall this was a sweet love story with a different plot.
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Format: Paperback
White socks, high-water pants, and a briefcase: the description of a nerd, but Rene accepted and embraced it. He wasn't ever interested in joining jock fights when tempers flared and fists flew. Marissa, on the other hand, was a hot-tempered Latina who never held back her fists or her opinions of the estupido people around her. When Marisa accidentally picks up the wrong cell phone, she falls in love with its owner, Rene. She almost immediately drops her attitude, temper, and fist-fighting, and suddenly starts to study. Rene, on the other hand, gets into his first fight, and falls in love with Marisa.

It sounds like a romantic premise, but it never really becomes believable. Glossary of Spanish words and phrases used in the book is at the back. Teens 12-15.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Accidental Love is a charming, heartwarming, and exceptionally well-written story of young love and growing up. Although I am not a teen, I loved this book and highly recommend it. This love story was presented from a slightly different angle --the "geeky nerd" meets "tough girl" and both learn to appreciate and accept one another. Very sweet story --but realistically presented with characters who come alive. I read new books all the time, and some I forget about almost as soon as I read the last page, but this one will stay in my memory.
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