May 29, 2014
Title: The Boy I Love
Author: Nina de Gramont
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 2, 2014
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars
Fifteen-year-old Wren has been content to stay in her best friend Allie’s shadow. It doesn’t bother her that Ally gets the cutest guys, the cutest clothes, and even a modeling gig—Wren is happy hanging with the horses on her family’s farm and avoiding the jealousy of other girls. But when Tim, the most intriguing guy in school, starts hanging out with Ally and Wren, jealousy is unavoidable, but not the kind Wren expects. Because even though Ally is wayyy into him and Wren hasn’t flirted, not one little bit, it becomes increasingly clear that Tim prefers Wren’s company above anyone else’s.
Tim’s unexpected devotion comes at the exact time Wren’s home life is about to be turned upside down. Her parents have just found out that the family horse farm is on land that was once a slave plantation and are struggling with whether to sell it. Wren aches at the thought of losing her horses and leaving town, but at least there is Tim…always a gentleman on their dates. Such a gentleman. Too much of a gentleman, even, and Wren begins to wish he’d be a wee bit less gentlemanly. And as Tim’s church becomes actively homophobic, his pressuring parents don’t understand why he won’t help “spread the word,” and he’s now a wreck. Then he tells Wren his biggest secret, and Wren must decide what she’ll really do for love.
The Boy I Love was actually very good, and it exceeded my expectations. I was intrigued by the subject matter, but it also left me thinking that it would probably just be incredibly cliche or full of immature characters. There was a little of that, but for the most part I found that it handled the topic with sensitivity and really had a message for the target audience.
I really enjoyed Wren, I liked that there were moments that she felt very mature for her age, and then moments when she was incredibly immature. I felt this was accurate though based on the fact that she was 16. It’s that age when you know you should be more mature, but hormones and high school make it difficult. Sometimes Wren felt like she wasn’t a real character though because she was overly mature.
Like when she decides to keep Tim’s secret, there’s no hesitation or worry about what this might mean for her. She doesn’t think about not dating other boys because she’s secretly in love with Tim. It just bothered me because when you like someone finding out that they like someone else, opposite sex or not, it hurts. But it didn’t hurt Wren, she was just incredibly accepting of that. Which is not a bad thing, but it just didn’t feel genuine to her character. Especially when she was freaking out about the farm so much, I felt that was much more in line with her personality.
I also had a hard time with Wren’s friend Allie. She took the opposite path from Wren, and became even more immature. It was difficult to understand why the two of them would be friends. Allie always seemed to put Wren down, or leave her out. Plus, when Wren really started to fit in Allie was jealous, which is understandable but she didn’t even think about how it had been for Wren before.
I thought that the whole book was incredibly interesting, and the premise really is the book. It’s just that the characters and story were better developed than other books that are similar. I would give the book 4 out of 5 stars because while it was good there were things that I think could’ve been improved upon.
4/5 – An Enjoyable Read, Well Written
**Please Note: This review is my honest opinion and I did not receive monetary compensation from it.**
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Happy Reading Everyone!