“I’ll try for Kate’s sake,” I say. “But if he uses the word adolescent again while I am one, I’m going to have to insist they break up. At least until I’m twenty-one.”
Meet Josie. The young adult genre's equivalent of Don Tillman. Gifted with a IQ that grants her genius status. She's quite brilliant when it comes to hard facts. Not so great when it comes to love. When her older sister is getting married to a man Josie declares to be all wrong for her, she insist they break up. And when her sister points out that Joise doesn't know anything about love, that she has no experience to speak from, Joise is determined to find out what it is. While at the same time making sure her sister calls off the wedding.
Josie's character goes from being endearing what with her obliviousness to some social codes to being downright intolerable. Yes, it was cute at first what with her being so obnoxious and rude, but it soon turned into what it was: irritating. A know it all that simply won't shut up. More or less what she is claiming her sister's future husband is.
Love and Other Foreign Words promised to be perfect for fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell. Which I understand, it is about families and pretentious teenagers. To be fair, I haven't read an entire book by either author, but enough snippets and parts to get a grip on their general styles. Why it is compared to those, I don't quite understand. Rowell's portrayal of families are far more intruding with underlying tension whereas there is none of that in Love and Other Foreign Words what with Josie's family letting Josie do as she pleases. No tension. Nothing. Writing wise it could be compared to John Green, I guess, but that is still questionable. Pretentious teenagers, that's the only real similarity there is.
That said, it is obvious from the beginning how the story will end. The moment her friend Stu is introduced as a guy that is not related to her by blood, it is quite clear where things are going. Hell, even before that. The first page. The first sentence of his. Although, Josie's love life isn't the center of the story, but her relationship to her family is. And, again, as said, with the lack of tension the family angle isn't enough to carry this story.