Review: A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl by Tanya Lee Stone
Today my victim is A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl by Tanya Lee Stone.
Summary (from Goodreads): Josie, Nicolette, and Aviva all get mixed up with a senior boy, a cool, slick, sexy boy who can talk them into doing almost anything he wants. In a blur of high school hormones and personal doubt, each girl struggles with how much to give up and what ultimately to keep for herself. How do girls handle themselves? How much can a boy get away with? And in the end, who comes out on top? A bad boy may always be a bad boy. But this bad boy is about to meet three girls who won't back down.
Review: As you may or may not know, saying I think novels in verse are cool is the understatement of the century. Particularly recently, I've been devouring more of them than I can count. I've been working my way through the verse-novel section of Sonya Sones' list of great books and novels-in-verse. Anyway, this turned up at my local library and I borrowed it.
The story alternates points of view between three high school girls; Josie, a confident freshman, Nicolette, a junior who sees love as a power game of sorts, and Aviva, a senior whose head is full of music. I don't know why but it seemed kind of hard to get inside their heads, and see who they really were. All the reader really hears about is their encounter with the anonymous Bad Boy, so, well, apart from that, you're still sort of left wondering: who are these people? This was probably why Aviva was my favourite character; I got the best picture of her. We found out about her parents. She had favourite songs, we knew about her parents, etc. etc. So she was really likeable. I thought Nicolette was quite...what's the word? compelling, interesting. And I think I liked Josie the least- I wasn't really too keen on her from the opening lines of the book: "I'm not stuck up/I'm confident/there's a big difference". No matter what the difference may be, I still found her hard to like. But good on her for spreading the word about the Bad Boy (I found it strangely ironic that she wrote the message about him inside Forever by Judy Blume, considering the title and all).
However likeable they may be, it's hard to not be annoyed slightly with the characters during their encounters with the un-named Bad Boy. You can't help but ask yourself, "What do they see in him?!" Such is the madness of love, I guess. But still, why? I was particularly irritated when Nicolette (I think it was Nicolette) overheard some of the Bad Boy's friends talking about her in a mean sort of way.
A Bad Boy is a very quick read. It's 200 odd pages and a novel in verse, but I'm sure that it didn't take me about twenty minutes (okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a little) to read other verse books of the same size like Jinx or some such novel. Perhaps it just feels like it takes quicker to read because, well, it's a very easy read: fast-paced, funny, thoughtful, and realistic, and took very little brain work to read. Whereas the aforementioned Jinx (which was the first book I ever reviewed on my blog) was a slightly tough read in places, deep and heart-breaking and heartwarming and all sorts of other things that make it one of my favourite novels ever. Anyway, in that respect A Bad Boy is a quick, fun read to cheer you up without being overly shallow and frothy.
So, well, it's realistic and the characters are easy to relate to. But remember, dear blog, it's a novel in verse, so I must say a few words about the poetical-ness. I think it's the sort of book you'd give to teenagers who hadn't encountered many verse novels before to get them into devouring more. The writing is simplistic and straight-forward, with not much poetical-ness or anything; it just sort of sucks you in. One thing: I don't know if you've noticed that on the UK cover (the one shown), the girl on the front looks slightly pregnant. Or is that just me? Strangely, although some sex is had, nobody gets pregnant. However, her hair looks nice. I much prefer the UK cover to one of the US editions, on which a boy and a girl are practically eating each other. I don't like it when I can see models on the front of books because it sort of destroys how I think they'll look. Especially not...erm...that close up.
Summary: (I noticed that I call the Goodreads description the summary, and I call this the summary too. Maybe I ought to go back to calling it the "Rating and such" like I did in my first few entries): Though it won't take you very long, A Bad Boy is a quick, fun piece of escapism. Rating: 3.
A teenage girl from south-west England who spends her days reading, writing novellas and watching classic films.
Overenthusiastic student of German and Russian as well as the double bass, and a fan of interesting architecture, French literature, cinematography and talking about herself in the third person.