Saturday, November 21, 2009

Another book review!

Boys, Girls, and other Hazardous Materials by Rosalind Wiseman

This one comes out in January, so this review is a little early. One of the things I love about being a librarian, Advance Reading Copies or ARC's as we call them :)

I really enjoyed this book, although it brought back some of my own memories about school I'd have rather not remembered. Ms. Wiseman weaves a familiar and believable tale of a high school freshman as she attends a new school. The reader always knows what Charlie, the main character, is thinking and the secondary characters are also well developed. The relationships Charlie has with the others in the book are easy to follow. At times, it is hard to pick out the "good guy," but this is not unusual in a real setting. Ms. Wiseman does not shy away from the issues surrounding our schools today, such as hazing, drinking, bullying, racism, and adults who are focused on things other than the well being of their students.

There are parts of the book that seemed predictable, but the author does a good job of throwing the reader curve balls just when the plot is starting to slow. This book doesn't make the mistake of focusing too much on the adults in the story, but only mentions them when the main characters are in direct contact with them. It is written in the first person and that makes it easy to follow and get wrapped up in; this is one of those books that once you start reading it, you get pulled in and don't want to stop until you see how it is going to end. This is an excellent book for girls who are reluctant readers, or for those who want a quick and enjoyable read. Charlie's voice is fresh and strong, and her character grows throughout the book as she deals with problem after problem. By the end of the book, Charlie doesn't know who to trust, but everything gets resolved, and everyone is happy, except for the bad guys.