May 28, 2012
Title: Babe in Boyland
Author: Jody Gehrman
Publication Date: February 17, 2011
When high school junior Natalie-or Dr. Aphrodite, as she calls herself when writing the relationship column for her school paper-is accused of knowing nothing about guys and giving girls bad relationship advice, she decides to investigate what guys really think and want. But the guys in her class won’t give her straight or serious answers. The only solution? Disguising herself as a guy and spending a week at Underwood Academy, the private all-boy boarding school in town. There she learns a lot about guys and girls in ways she never expected-especially when she falls for her dreamy roommate, Emilio. How can she show him she likes him without blowing her cover?
I picked up this book because I spotted in the bookstore and I thought the cover was kind of cool (and the girl on the cover has huge eyes, and as a fellow huge-eyed girl, I had to buy the book just so I could compare whose eyes were bigger if I took a picture from a similar angle. Verdict: I win).
Anyway, the cover made the book look fun, entertaining, a nice light read to put me in a good mood. And then I read the description and I knew this was going to be a good one. Because the description sounded a lot like one of my favouritest favourite movies She’s the Man. I like that movie. Like, a lot. Like, a lot a lot. And this book? Not going to lie, it’s a lot like She’s the Man. Like, a lot.
(And if you haven’t seen that movie, you totally should because it’s hilarious, and even though I’ve watched it countless times, I still laugh every single time. Like, it’s not even a guilty pleasure for me. It’s just a straight up pleasure.)
And as for Babe in Boyland. . .I’m completely okay with it being like the movie, with a premise that has been done quite a few times (including Shakespeare). And here’s why:
1. Babe in Boyland was really well written. For me, writing is key, so if a book has strong, solid writing, it will probably win me over. Strong writing creates strong characters, which this book has. They act like real teens, they sound like real teens. It was all completely believable. . .even with a narrator who’s actually a girl but going undercover as a boy to research the behaviour of boys.
2. Babe in Boyland was funny and entertaining. I could probably count on two hands the number of books that have actually made me laugh out loud. This is one of them. I’m giggling just thinking of some of the scenes, but I won’t detail them here. . .you’ll have to read them for yourself! And even though I was totally expecting some of the awkward situations and jokes that would arise from having a girl pretending to be a boy, they were so well executed (so well written) that the predictability of this book wasn’t even an issue for me.
3. Hot boys. Do I need to elaborate on this one?
4. It was light and fun, but it wasn’t shallow. Okay, I probably sound like a shallow person, what with a whole point dedicated to hot boys. Ha! But the book wasn’t. I wasn’t expecting it to be either, considering the whole point of the book was that Nat wanted to better understand boys. And I think the good writing and well-rounded characters also helped this point.
I went into this book wanting something fun to read and that is exactly what I got. I couldn’t stop reading and I was smiling the whole way through.
I recommend this book to contemporary YA fans and those who want something fun to read.