Love and Other Foreign Words is a captivating novel written by Erin McCahan. This young adult book has garnered much acclaim in the literary world, enthralling readers with its compelling story and relatable characters. In this article, we will delve into the plot of Love and Other Foreign Words, explore any accolades it has received, and provide a glimpse into the important characters of this exceptional piece of literature.

The Story

The narrative of Love and Other Foreign Words revolves around the life of a fifteen-year-old girl named Josie Sheridan. Josie, whose intelligence surpasses her age, is highly skilled in languages and has a penchant for precision. The unique aspect of her personality stems from her insecurities about love. She believes that the word “love” is often used frivolously and frequently misunderstood.

In the midst of Josie’s turmoil, she finds her perfectly ordered life turned upside down when her older sister, Kate, gets engaged. Josie is disoriented by the idea of love, as she has never been in love herself. She becomes frustrated with societal norms and the expectations placed upon her.

As she grapples with her sister’s engagement and her own journey of self-discovery, Josie encounters different love stories, examines various relationships, and learns valuable lessons about life and love. Through her unique voice and thought-provoking observations, the book takes readers on an emotional rollercoaster, exploring the complexities of interpersonal relationships.

Awards, Reviews, and Praise

Love and Other Foreign Words has been received exceptionally well by both critics and readers. This remarkable novel has garnered numerous accolades, including:

1. Booklist Editor’s Choice

The Booklist, a trusted source for book reviews, selected Love and Other Foreign Words as one of their top choices. This recognition signifies the novel’s excellence and impact on the literary landscape.

2. YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) recognized Love and Other Foreign Words as one of the best fiction books for young adults. This acknowledgment highlights the book’s ability to resonate with readers in this particular demographic.

Moreover, readers and reviewers alike have praised Erin McCahan’s writing style, character development, and the nuanced exploration of love and relationships. Love and Other Foreign Words has been hailed for its authenticity, wit, and relatability, making it a must-read for anyone interested in experiencing a heartfelt coming-of-age story.

Key Characters

Love and Other Foreign Words features a diverse range of characters, each bringing a unique perspective to the story. Some of the key characters include:

Josie Sheridan

Josie Sheridan, the protagonist, is an intelligent and linguistically gifted fifteen-year-old girl. Her internal struggles with love and societal expectations serve as the central theme of the novel.

Kate Sheridan

Kate Sheridan is Josie’s older sister, whose engagement sets off a chain of events that forces Josie to confront her own beliefs about love. Kate’s character acts as a catalyst for Josie’s personal growth.


Stu is Josie’s childhood friend and confidant. He provides support for Josie throughout her journey and acts as an emotional anchor during times of uncertainty.


Geoff is Josie’s sister’s fiancĂ©. Although initially skeptical of him, Josie learns valuable lessons about love and relationships through her interactions with Geoff.

These characters, along with many others that populate the pages of Love and Other Foreign Words, contribute to a rich and engaging reading experience.

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