Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan

published on May 1st 2014 by Dial Books
contemporary | romance

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Can anyone be truly herself–or truly in love–in a language that’s not her own?

Sixteen-year-old Josie lives her life in translation. She speaks High School, College, Friends, Boyfriends, Break-ups, and even the language of Beautiful Girls. But none of these is her native tongue–the only people who speak that are her best friend Stu and her sister Kate. So when Kate gets engaged to an epically insufferable guy, how can Josie see it as anything but the mistake of a lifetime? Kate is determined to bend Josie to her will for the wedding; Josie is determined to break Kate and her fiancé up. As battles are waged over secrets and semantics, Josie is forced to examine her feelings for the boyfriend who says he loves her, the sister she loves but doesn’t always like, and the best friend who hasn’t said a word–at least not in a language Josie understands.


I actually only picked up Love and Other Foreign Words on a whim during a bookstore sale. I had previously read a positive review of the novel (that definitely mentioned a lot of things I think I’d enjoy) and put it in the back of my mind. Luckily, this novel did not disappoint.

First off, I’d like to commend Erin McCahan’s different spin on what you’d call a generic story. We’ve all heard of stories with teens falling in love–but what if one teen didn’t understand the definition of love?

Josie was a spectacular and hilarious heroine. An intelligent girl (a genius, really), she over analyzes even the smallest things and really pushes herself to understand everyone and to make sure she knows the right way to respond. I loved Josie’s voice and how I felt as if she was a real teen–awkward and constantly confused. The one thing that confused her most? Love.

The great thing is, as Josie learned along her journey of finding love’s true definition, we learned as well. Love isn’t only the romantic kind–we feel love for friends and family, too.

The family aspect of the novel was so truthful and honest. There were fights and make-up between the siblings, as well as those little acts of love, appreciation, and of course (believe me, if you have a sibling, you’d relate) ploys of revenge. Josie and her family were hilarious and I loved how they remind me of my own family. She was close with her parents, was on-and-off with her sisters and that’s just how a lot of people are.

Then there’s the romantic kind of love. This was the kind of love Josie had yet to experience and was searching for. She’d experienced crushes, the like-but-not-love and love-in-denial and it was great to watch Josie develop and grow throughout all of these. The actual love interest was so cute and just very shippable.

Josie also loved her friends–girl friends and a guy friend. There was a lot of support, advice, bonding moments and more with Josie and her friends, just like what we experience with ours. A lot of books actually fail in terms of good, strong friendships for me. McCahan did not.

So here’s a tip: Don’t just go into this one for the romance (although I would totally understand you if you did, because hello, adorableness!), go into it for how much you’ll be able to see yourself in the novel. Plus the humor. I totally laughed out loud so many times while reading this one.

 A quickie overview:

Tired of reading generic, boring contemporary romance? McCahan serves it with a quirky heroine, a good dose of family love and friendship, mixed in with an adorable romance and of course, the language of love.


Skulls 4

4 skulls


Have you read from Erin McCahan yet? Do you want to?

Aimee adores contemporaries every once in a while to calm her mind. When she does read contemporary, she wants them to be sweet, realistic and fun. She’s also attempting to learn Japanese, but her laziness is getting in her way.

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38 thoughts on “Review: Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan

  1. I’m kinda interested in this one because sometimes I need a light story, which is a departure from the angsty books I cherish. Every now and again, I need light and not as in, I SEE THE LIGHT but you know what I mean! ;) Fabulous review Aimee!


  2. Josie sounds wonderful, and I like that the author put a spin on the generic cliched plots. I’m loving the fact that authors are focussing more on family and friendship rather than just pure romance. xx


  3. This one is new to me but it sounds like a great book. I love the sound of the heroine and also the image of the family. It sounds like something different and that’s just what I need at the moment. I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Aimee :)


  4. I totally would love to try this one out myself! You know how wary I am of contemporary books in general, because some of what I read were the same old, same old. I’m glad this one somehow distinguishes itself from the rest of the herd. Plus, who wouldn’t love touching and heartfelt stories of family, friendship, and love? Sign me up!

    Faye at The Social Potato Reviews


    1. It was actually pretty generic, but I think it was the heroine’s voice and perspective that made the book stand out for me. :) I hope you enjoy this one! :D


  5. This looks like a really quick, light read – perfect for summer! Definitely going to have to give it a try! I love how Josie is so realistic and quirky, because that makes it so much easier to connect to. And even if the romance wasn’t the highlight of the story, I’m glad it was still well-done. And yeah for great, realistic family and friendship representations – as we don’t nearly have enough of those in YA!

    Thanks for sharing Aimee, and, as always, BRILLIANT review! <3


  6. I’m definitely going to be checking this one out, it seems like the perfect summer read as Zoe has pointed out. Josie seems like such a realistic and relatable protagonist which is awesome. She sounds like somebody you could really root for. Haha the family aspect sounds awesome, with having two brothers I can totally relate with the revenge plots. I’m so happy to see that family is being incorporated more in YA recently, or it seems like that anyway. There’s awesome examples of strong friendship and a shippable romance too?? Wow, this one seems to have the whole package going on.

    Wonderful review girl! This one is so on my radar now.


    1. Too bad summer’s ending here. :( Ha! Same here. My brother’s horrible… sometimes. :P I do think authors are starting to realize that romance isn’t everything we look for in books. :) I really hope you enjoy this one, Larissa! :)


  7. This looks like a cute read! I’ve read other reviews, too, and they all say nice things. I’m adding it to my TBR list. Great review! :)


  8. This one sounds like such a cute read i’ve been dying to get my hands on it! Glad to hear positive things about it :)


  9. This sounds like such an intelligent and fun read! I haven’t seen too many reviews of this around the blogosphere, but what I have seen is positive, so I really want to read it! I am glad this has a good friendship too – I really enjoy reading about a strong friendship!


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