One or Two Things I Learned About Love
By Dyan Sheldon
Candlewick Press, 2013. 288 pages. Young adult.
Hildy has only been on two and one half dates...and the half date doesn't count. Watching all her other friends with their boyfriends, she knows that no one is ever going to ask her out and she'll die alone with cats. But then, out of the blue, the cute boy at the coffee bar ask for her number and Hildy knows that this will be a summer she'll never forget.
I picked up this book, thinking from the title and the cover description, that this was going to be a typical, cute, and slightly unrealistic teen romance. What I found as I started reading is that Sheldon really is taking the time to teach Hildy, a very inexperienced girl, over the course of the summer what really is and what it is not. Connor is jealous and territorial and Hildy, in all her naivete, just thinks that her constant guilt at upsetting Connor is just what love is supposed to be. All of Hildy's friends can see that the relationship is not healthy; the reader knows even more perfectly how dysfunctional the relationship is; but Hildy herself, while she sees things that bother her, is very good at blaming his actions on her own inexperience, without making the reader annoyed that she's not getting it. Sheldon creates great characters (Hildy herself has a hilarious personality) and explores an important topic for teen girls. This is a romance that falls completely in the realm of reality, somewhere between the extremes of chick lit and Lifetime original movies.