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Love and Other Foreign Words Hardcover – May 1, 2014

4.3 out of 5 stars 73 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up—Josie Sheridan, 15.4 years old, knows a lot about social language. With a schedule that involves both high school and college courses, she has learned to adapt her communication style in order to fit in with both groups. However, Josie can't seem to wrap her head around the language of Love. To the precocious teen, all-consuming love is scientifically impossible. Her best friend, Stu, is the "love 'em and leave 'em" type, and her school friends make lists of the guys for which they could fall. When her older sister Kate gets engaged, it only furthers her misunderstanding of the matter. The protagonist finds Kate's fiancé to be intolerable and makes it her mission to break them up. Meanwhile, Josie attempts to decode the meaning of love for herself and see just what all the fuss is about. At times, the narrator can be pedantic, stubborn, and borderline unlikable. Despite that, readers who persevere will find that underneath that serious exterior is a regular teen muddling her way through finding her first love. Kate, the persistent romantic, is on the warpath to foist her ideals of wedded bliss onto her younger sister who staunchly defies her at every turn. What follows is an all-out war of words where the only solution is for the siblings to find some sort of common ground. These coming-of-age moments add a nice bit of heart to Josie's journey. Give this to cerebral teens who want a quirky love story.—Kimberly Castle-Alberts, Hudson Library & Historical Society, OH

From Booklist

It’s refreshing to meet a character so cracklingly smart that you wish you could actually buy her a coffee and just hear her jabber. That’s Josie, the main gal in the latest from Cahan (I Now Pronounce You Someone Else, 2010). Josie loves languages—learning actual ones as well deciphering the lingo she hears bantered among other 16-year-olds at her high school and the community college where she and her best friend (and fellow smartie) Stu take classes. For Josie, understanding nuances in how people communicate is an obsession, though she’s still mastering the skill. For example, she can’t comprehend what her beloved sister, Kate, sees in her zero of a fiancé or how to find a common tongue with her fetching linguistics professor, and she feels stifled speaking to the nearly mute guy she’s seeing. With impeccable clarity—and hilarity—Josie explores how magical things left unsaid can be and how even a native tongue can be full of meaning and surprises. This clever read will satisfy fans of Rainbow Rowell, John Green, and Stephanie Perkins. Grades 9-12. --Lexi Walters Wright

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Dial Books (May 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803740514
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803740518
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #593,969 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J.Prather TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 6, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Love and Other Foreign Words is a fun, intelligent, and charming novel that I found to be surprisingly well written and thoroughly entertaining. I can't remember a character from YA literature that I have enjoyed as much I enjoyed getting to know Josie, the main character who leads us through this nifty little exploration of linguistics, love, and coming to terms with coming of age. Almost sixteen, Josie exists in a variety of worlds. She is a sister, daughter, friend, teammate, high school student, and college student. But love? That is something she has yet to experience, a fact which hits her square in the face when her sister announces she's getting married. Josie does not approve of Kate's husband to be, and simply does not understand what she sees in him. This lack of understanding leads to Josie's hilarious and poignant efforts to understand Love in its many forms. What a journey! Her efforts to apply such a scientific brain to things that are so unscientific were so very entertaining.

Josie is a young woman of rare intelligence and wit. She is devoted to her family, and her relationships with them are all well portrayed and realistic. Her arguments with her sister were priceless, and I especially enjoyed this novel's portrayal of a strong supportive family. Her parents are strict, yet understanding, willing to guide their fiercely intelligent daughter without every stepping on her independence or discounting her feelings. Josie shows quite a bit of growth throughout the novel, as she learns there are quite a few things that she's just not going to be able to figure out.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The first time I ever saw Love and Other Foreign Words in person, I was browsing the YA section at The Strand. The dark blue caught my eye, and once I spotted the cover illustration, I knew it was something I had to check out for myself. I read the first chapter standing there, immediately drawn to main character Josie and her way of looking at the world. Though I had to set it down then (due to a lack of funds!), I had my heart set on finding some way of acquiring it.

With many thanks to the wonderful Ellice (who lent me her copy), I was able to read Love and Other Foreign Words sooner than I expected to. This is, in fact, a wonderful thing because I really enjoyed it! The main character is a riot, the writing is clever and the story was really engaging. Quiet and quirky work hand in hand in this novel, shaping it into a memorable tale.

Josie is, by far, one of my favorite YA females in a long time! The lens with which she views the world is what immediately makes her stand out as a narrator. I was equally amused and horrified by the directions her thoughts would swing, but more importantly, I felt a kinship. I could see why, for some readers, she’s going to rub them the wrong way, but her entire personality just worked for me. In fact, without her narrating this novel, I rather doubt I would think Love and Other Foreign Words was remarkable the way I do currently.

In terms of story, Love and Other Foreign Words is actually a fairly simple one. It concentrates heavily on Josie, and how what she thinks she knows (especially about love) is challenged at every turn. The catalyst for her thoughts on love? Her sister’s engagement to a guy Josie doesn’t quite approve of.
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Format: Hardcover
Love and Other Foreign Words is a contemporary YA book that has a clever concept unlike any book I’ve read before. Oftentimes, fantasy or dystopian YA novels are credited with unique ideas and immersion to a new thought but this contemporary set a new trend. Erin McCahan takes huge concepts such as languages and cultures and implants them into our everyday life. Josie, the main character, is a genius and her view of the world consists of determining the appropriate language for each situation and responding in a way that is akin to that culture. She fluently speaks high school, college, home, prom, the track team, the volleyball team, juniors, seniors, and bridesmaids but all she really wants is for someone else to speak Josie. The novel is written in first person which I found to be incredibly necessary for the reader to truly understand Josie and her actions; I love a first person POV if it adds to the character and overall story which is exactly what happened in this book. I found it fascinating to see into Josie’s mind because we all translate and appropriately respond to different people and “languages” every day but what to me is normal, to Josie is cultural.

I have to lavish Erin McCahan with praises for her characters and their development. Every single character she wrote made sense and added to the story. The reader gets to see why all of these people are in Josie’s life and how they help her grow. I found Josie to be refreshing because she was a nerd but not the nerd that has been popping up in literature lately, qualified a nerd only because of their sight impairment; she was a nerd because of her IQ and social ineptitude. She can be rude, impulsive, harsh, and blunt but she does it out of love for the people in her life.
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