Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Girl v. Boy

Girl v. Boy
Yvonne Collins
288 pages
Rating: 3/5

All’s not fair in love, war, and high school journalism
Sixteen-year-old Luisa Perez is not looking to win any awards for school spirit. In fact, she and her friends make it a point to avoid all activities considered “extra-curricular.” So when her English teacher volunteers her to be an anonymous columnist for the school paper, Luisa’s first impulse is to run. But, unlike her high-school dropout sister, Luisa does want to go to college—it may be her only ticket out of a life spent working at the cowboy-themed diner where she waitresses part time—and it would be nice to something on her applications.
Her first assignment is to cover her high school's latest fundraiser, which pits the girls against the boys. Luisa will cover the events from the female POV, while another anonymous writer provides the male perspective—or, at least, that’s how it begins. The two columnists soon find themselves engaged in an epic battle of the sexes—a battle that Luisa is determined to win. Just who does this guy think he is, encouraging his peers to act like Neanderthals with their girlfriends? And why can’t Luisa shake the very sinking feeling that her new unidentified nemesis might also be her new boyfriend?

My Thoughts: 

This novel reminded me a bit of what it's like to go back to high school.  Like Sarah Dessen, Yvonne Collins creates a picture of the high school life - with one or two major differences from my own experience, so that she gives a new perspective to ponder.  Having to work your way through high school and strive for the opportunity to go to college was new to me.  I went to high school with the unquestionable choice of going to college; what college was the only question.  But private school generally had that purpose.  Once again, I was reminded how different my high school experience was from others. 

Besides a different view of high school, Girl v. Boy was a fun, light-hearted novel.  The columns between the journalist cracked me up.  I often laughed at the stereotypical behavior of different characters that created the humor contrast.  The popular girl, too-cool-for-Luisa's-advice.  The popular boy, openly interested in only fulfilling his wants and needs.  The popular-but-invisible crowd of followers.  I loved laughing at the honesty shown through anonymity.  The plot was generally predictable, but the ending was fun getting to.

There were some small points that greatly annoyed me, thus deterred from my general enjoyment of the novel.  First of all, Luisa goes through three different guys in the book.  And every one seemed to be the "love of her life."  How can somebody go being completely invested in one guy to being completely invested in another within the week?  It made her seem shallow to me.  Perhaps Collins meant it as irony, but I wasn't like that in high school (but I did only date two guys the entire four years).  It just caused me to have less appreciation for her as a character.  I was also a bit annoyed at her honesty in the columns.  Though funny at times, I could not believe some of the things she wrote.  Perhaps I am a bit paranoid, but I cannot imagine being so completely honest, especially at a high school, when there is always a possibility of being found out.  But then again, hindsight is always 20/20.  (or being an outsider with an overall view of 20/20)  It just seemed a bit like she had it coming.  

I gave this book a 3/5 because I enjoyed the read and had many laughs from Luisa and her counterparts, but there was one too many annoying traits for me to keep me from enjoying it thoroughly.  I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys fun young adult fiction and doesn't mind a bit of immaturity.  Take the book at face value, and it is an overall fun read that would provide a wonderful afternoon of entertainment on a snowy day.

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