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Gimme a Call: be careful what you wish for ...    by Sarah Mlynowski order for
Gimme a Call
by Sarah Mlynowski
Order:  USA  Can
Delacorte, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Sarah Mlynowski, author of the popular Magic in Manhattan series, now brings us a breezy yet thought-provoking read with a most intriguing premise.

Gimme a Call: be careful what you wish for ... stars Devorah 'Devi' Banks, a high school senior who is unhappy with the recent turns her life has taken, in particular with the fact that her boyfriend Bryan - who has had her total attention for the high school years - has (in her mind) broken up with her. Devi's obsession with him has lost her the close friendships (with Tash, Karin, and Joelle) that used to be so important to her. In addition, her workaholic dad has lost his job and spends his days in his bathrobe playing computer games, while her mother (in a job she dislikes) has ballooned into a blimp and spends her free time watching the Food Channel.

Brooding in the mall, Devi drops her cell phone into the fountain. After she retrieves it, the only call she can make turns out to be to her fourteen-year-old freshman self. Once they get past their disbelief, and experiment to prove that they can actually change the future, Devi senior starts micro-managing (or trying to) Frosh Devi's life. In particular she pushes her younger self to avoid dating Bryan in the first place, to study harder, take up extracurricular activities, and avoid very specific actions. This results in a dizzying set of changes for Devi senior, who has trouble figuring out who's who and what's what in her ever shifting present.

In addition to being very, very funny, the story underlines the importance of maintaining a balance - both in relationships and between academics and social life. It's all about unintended consequences, the pointlessness of dwelling on past decisions, and the importance of making the best of what you have. Fortunately, Frosh Devi finally has the sense to stop following her future self's lead and to run her own life. While elder Devi learns that 'Just because a relationship ends, it doesn't mean it's not worth having.' Gimme a Call is tremendous fun and a great read - don't miss it!

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