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Love and Other Four-Letter Words


Love and Other Four-Letter Words

Sometimes love is not enough to hold family and friendships together. People change, grow up, become different from their friends, grow away from each other and meet new people. Sammie Davis finds this out in LOVE AND OTHER FOUR-LETTER WORDS by Carolyn Mackler. Not only does she have to face the changes that any 16-year-old goes through both emotionally and physically; she now has to face other changes in her life.

Summer vacation is approaching, and Sammie and her mom are planning to join Sammie's dad, who is on sabbatical at Stanford, in California at the end of June. Then Sammie's father drops a bombshell: "We've decided to get a trial separation." There would be no trip to California.

If that wasn't enough, Sammie's mom decides to relocate herself and Sammie to New York City, where she signs a lease for a one-bedroom apartment on the Upper West Side. Not only will Sammie not have a room of her own, she also has to leave her best friend, Kitty, forever.

Sammie finds that in addition to handling her own feelings of abandonment and the loss of her home and friends in Ithaca, she has to cope with her mom. Mom is not handling the trial separation well. She has become an emotional basket case and is trying to "find herself" by reading self-help books. In the meantime, Sammie discovers that New York is not as bad as she had anticipated when she meets Phoebe at the dog run where she takes her chocolate lab, Moxie. However, when she introduces her new friend to Kitty, Sammie finds out that her longtime friend is not the person she thought she was.  

Sammie is struggling to keep it all together. Will she be able to handle all the changes that are happening, or will she fall apart as her mom seems to have done?

LOVE AND OTHER FOUR-LETTER WORDS is a realistic and offbeat humorous look at the trials and tribulations of teenage life. Sammie discovers that change is inevitable; and her new friends, a beginning romance, and her guitar help her to discover that there are many different definitions of love.


Reviewed by Audrey Marie Danielson on October 18, 2011

Love and Other Four-Letter Words
by Carolyn Mackler

  • Publication Date: October 10, 2000
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 0385327439
  • ISBN-13: 9780385327435