Boys for Beginners by Lil Chase

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Boys for Beginners by Lil Chase

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: A fab book about discovering who you really are and who you need to be, this is the debut novel of an author going straight on the One To Watch list.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 224 Date: August 2011
Publisher: Quercus
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0857384829

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Gwynnie has always been one of the guys which was fine...until Charlie Notts showed up at school. He's Hot (capital H) and friendly and likes football, but when Gwynnie realises he's firmly putting her on his list of mates, not girls, action must be taken. The thing is, for a girl whose close family and friends are all blokes, and whose one life love to date wasn't so much a trouser shape as a team (Go Spurs!), it's going to be a big jump from being one of the guys to bagging one of the guys.

I loved the way this book's cover gave you a hint of what was coming, mingling football boots and scarves alongside handbags and lipsticks, and how this didn't represent boys and girls but just two sides of one single character – the old and new Gwynnies, the before and after. I also loved the original Gwynnie and thought she was a refreshing change from the usual heroines in teen fiction. Because we meet her so early on, we can follow her total transformation from happy tomboy to, well, what she thinks is the more appropriate / required demeanor to get a boyfriend. It's not the most welcome change for her, but with the ringleader and chief educator of her crash course in Boys for Beginners also her best friend's girlfriend she hopes she's in good hands.

I've read a lot of teen fiction and the things that irritate me most are lack of originality, and when the voice is far too much adult-writing-as-a-teen. This title didn't fall down on either of these counts. Not only did I like the direction the story took, but I liked the ending and the message it sent, even if a few pages prior to the end I was quite miffed on Gwynnie's behalf. I thought she had a great, caring father (a character that is often not present or either a complete loony or complete pushover) and although the typical mean girls were there (this is high school after all) they were balanced out by Elizabeth who was just lovely, and Jenny who could be nice when she tried.

I enjoyed the pace of the story and the language though I've docked ½ a star for the text speak – not because I reckon it's unrealistic on the whole, but just because I don't think Gwynnie would necessarily have used it. in fact, with her penchant for coolness (or lack thereof), I rather think she wouldn't have done, at least at first. I liked both the predictability (and therefore realness) of the story, and the twists and turns that kept it interesting. Some parts didn't happen the way I was expecting, and Gwynnie's transition might have seemed a bit swift in place, as her insides, as well as her outsides, seem to change, but I guess the heart wants what the heart wants, especially when it's the newly awakened heart inside a 14 year old girl.

It was an entertaining story, light hearted and sweet, and with behaviour that other teens can I'm sure identify with (and emulate without parents freaking out...bellybuttons aside). Overall, I happily read it, enjoyed it and would recommend it. A great debut novel from an author who is definitely one to watch.

Thanks go to the lovely publishers for sending us this book.

Gwynnie thinks farts are funny. Really, she does. If you or the young reader in your life does, then look no further than our Top Ten Books For Children Who Think That Farts Are Funny

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Buy Boys for Beginners by Lil Chase at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Boys for Beginners by Lil Chase at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Boys for Beginners by Lil Chase at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Boys for Beginners by Lil Chase at


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