Think of how many times we girls have tried to understood guys and vice versa. Babe in Boyland is a story of one girl, Natalie, who will try to decipher the complicated specie called 'boys' in this witty and downright funny journey where no other writer from her school has gone before. An all boys' high school.
Title: Babe in Boyland by Jody GehrmanFrom the summary, you'd probably think of Amanda Bynes' movie She's The Man. A girl who disguises herself as a boy and went to an all boys school? Ring a bell? Or if you're familiar with Hisaya Nakajo's Hanazakari no Kimitachi e, which is also about a girl who went to an all boys school. Or if you want to look even further, I would say this also reminds me a bit of Drew Barrymore's Never Been Kissed. You're probably right in that part of the story, but I think that's where the similarity ends.
Release Date: February 17th 2011
Published by: Dial
Source: Author (Thanks so much, Jody!)
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository
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 have to give Jody Gehrman credit because as much as this book sounds familiar, she was able to make the story her own. Putting in her own spin using cliche elements from books we've read and movies we've seen, and injecting a healthy dose of hilariousness that will surely tickle one's funny bones, along with a dash of wit and comedy that will make you forget it was similar to another story, Babe in Boyland is an insightful yet very entertaining sneak peek in what happens when girls try to understand what really can't be understood. Boys.
I was already laughing my socks off after the first eight pages. Natalie's voice is distinct and very funny, even comical. Her editors from hell who insults her on a daily basis mocks her further when her advice column bombs and virtually all the males in school hates her because apparently she doesn't know a thing about relationships and boys. She's a failed love goddess and a journalistic joke, to quote her own words. So Natalie attempted to write her own expose about boys, attempting to answer age old questions about the way they behave, and maybe win the Story of the Year award while she's at it.
I can come up with a few adjectives to describe Natalie, a.k.a. Dr. Aphrodite. She's reckless, she's sassy, she's witty, she's awkward, and basically, she's just a girl trying to learn how it is that boys "operate". I love how Natalie puts in the effort to understand guys more, even though she's crazy as a nut for infiltrating an all boys school. She was trying to be more "dedicated" and more honest in her craft, which was mainly her driving force to do such a drastic action. And for her sanity as a girl, she had to find out once and for all how to give right advices to those writing to her, and not just what they want to hear.
Emilio somewhat reminds me a bit of Alex of the Perfect Chemistry series, though he's somewhat tamer, more mysterious, and more laid back. He's the kind of guy you would love to just hang out with. Not really part of the popular cliques, but he gets along with everyone. I love how simple his character is, but easily lovable.
It's amazing how much I appreciated being a girl after reading about being a boy from another girl's point of view. Aside from the obvious luxuries we have that boys don't, what she had to sacrifice, Natalie had to pretend to be someone she's not, and along the road she had experienced all kinds of failures. I found myself rooting for both Natalie and Nat, and finding delight when they overcome situations (which otherwise embarrasses the world out of everyone in a normal setting) and basically existing in a world far different from her own, the world of boys.
The author's experience in theater is put into good use in this novel. Natalie's character, aside from being a writer, is also an actress, and Jody was able to give an authentic feel on how it feels like to be a high school actress, or just being a part of a drama club.
But what I really loved about this book, was the lessons and realizations that Natalie has picked up along the way. Sometimes its not about trying to decode or understand what "boys" want to say or do. It's about us appreciating what we are and what we have. Its true that Natalie had learned a few hard truths about relationships and boys, but what probably is the greatest lesson this book gives is what she discovered about herself. But seriously, read Natalie's piece about boys towards the end of the book. It wouldn't hurt to think about what was written about the ever elusive, ever complicated... boys, and why they behave like they do.
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Content (plot, story flow, character):
Stunning: Worthy of a Goddess' Praise!
Book cover crush alert! I'm sure this would look perfect in a hardcover!