The Boy Book by Emily Lockhart

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The Boy Book by Emily Lockhart

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Category: Teens
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: A poor kid at a posh school, Ruby is a spirited, witty, highly intelligent girl who tackles boy troubles and friend troubles head-on in an attempt to survive her penultimate high school year.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 224 Date: June 2007
Publisher: Corgi Children's
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0552556231

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There are some books that are so good you read them cover to cover without stopping. The kind that can interrupt a weekend to such an extent that it's mid-afternoon before you realise you've not yet got dressed or washed your face or done any of the other things you would normally do straight after breakfast if you hadn't instead picked up said paperback.

The Boy Book is, needless to say, one of these books. Ruby Oliver is in her junior year (first year of 6th form) at a fancy-schmancy school in Seattle. In this, the sequel to The Boyfriend List she is sans-friends and sans-boyfriend following the mortifying making-public of some very private information during the previous academic year. Ruby's not the uber-popular kind of girl who can just rock up on the first day of a new term and suddenly find herself surrounded by a brand new posse and a selection of boys from which to take her pick. She's not the clique-leading cookie-cutter stereotype Miss Blonde Cheerleader Girl. For one thing, she's poor, or at least she is compared to the rich kids at her fee-paying school, which she attends on a scholarship. There's no hot tub in her back yard, and expensive extracurricular activities are out of the question. Plus, she actually has to work to get some spending money, unlike the majority of her class. And, she's smart, hence the scholarship, and of course being smart is not something that's all that coveted in the high school world. No, Ruby's a bit different from the rest of her school and is acutely aware of this fact.

As she tries to make sense of a very complicated time in her life, she turns to The Boy Book, a handbook she and her former friends co-authored over the last few years, to help them figure out the complicated world of boys, bodies and general teen life. With sections on everything from The Care and Ownership of Boobs (if they jiggle, strap 'em down) to Why Girls are better than Boys (we look prettier and smell nicer, for a start) this is a definitive guide to surviving those high school years. With a lot of help from this book, and a little help from her various therapists (this is 21st century America after all.) Ruby starts to come to terms with what happened last year, and tries to move on to a more positive future. If only the rest of the world would just forget that darn list.

This book is not just funny - it's hilarious and I could not put it down once I started. I loved the mix of self-help guide (each chapter starts with an extract from the aforementioned Boy Book) and continuing narrative and found so many of the scenarios fab, random and imaginative (the llama feeding on a remote island, the Hooter Rescue Squad). For the most part, I also like the footnotes on some of the pages, though on the odd occasion they did get a bit cheesy and after school special as the Americans would say. I'm sure it's the responsible thing to do from a publisher's perspective, but I'm not sure most teens would need to know or would care about some of the explanations and disclaimers that are scattered throughout. Ruby, aka Roo, wasn't cheesy herself though, and she's a very likeable heroine too. In fact, if you can look past their dubious unisex names (Cricket, Hutch, Jackson, Varsha) most of her classmates aren't that bad underneath either, even if some of the boys do act a little too much without thinking.

Even though I have read too many teenage girl books to count, both when I was one, and over the last few years when I've tried to convince myself I still am one really, this book seemed to be something new, and not a rehashed version of another story. Yes, there were some similarities to other books, in particular to Good Girls when some photo-taking got out of hand, but they end there, and the two books, though equally enjoyable, go off in totally different directions.

Definitely recommended, and though this one gives the gist of what happened in the prequel, I do now want to read that too. Good Girls and Planet Janet are two other fab books for teens that The Bookbag would recommend. You might also appreciate Watch Us Rise by Renee Watson and Ellen Hagan if you're looking for a more demanding read.

For sneak peeks and more information, also have a look at the books' website.

Thank you to the publishers for sending us this fun book.

Booklists.jpg The Boy Book by Emily Lockhart is in the Top Ten Teen Chick Lit Books.

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Buy The Boy Book by Emily Lockhart at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Boy Book by Emily Lockhart at


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