Thursday, 22 January 2015

Review: Boys, Girls and Other Hazardous Materials by Rosalind Wiseman

Publisher: Putnam
Format: Hardcover / paperback / eBook
Released: January 12th, 2010
Rating: 5/10

Amazon summary:

Looking for a new beginning after a terrible mean girl past, Charlie Healey realizes there’s no escaping high school drama. Charlie Healey thinks Harmony Falls is the beginning of a whole new life. Middle school was brutal. But high school is Charlie’s big chance to start over and stay out of drama, except that on her first day she runs into Will, her ex–best friend, who had moved away. Now a varsity athlete and hotter than Charlie remembered, Will hangs with the crowd running the school. But Charlie doesn’t understand their power until an innocent delivery guy falls victim to a near-deadly hazing prank. Torn between doing what’s right and her secret feelings for Will, Charlie must decide whether to turn in her very best friend or live with the guilt of knowing what he did.


I liked Boys, Girls and Other Hazardous Materials, but I didn't love it. It leans more towards MG than YA; not that that's a bad thing of course, just unexpected. It's a Mean Girls-esque romantic comedy set in the complicated halls of a high school, but it's also quite serious with the themes and issues it explores.

Charlie is a fun character with a good head on her shoulders. She's in her freshman year at high school and has decided to distance herself from her best friends due to an incident at middle school. She meets Will, an old childhood friend, along with his group of jock friends, and uncovers some shocking truths about sports teams, hazing and the lengths these students go to. She has to make some tough decisions, but she makes them and is all the better for it.

Although I enjoyed the plot of this book, I feel there could have been more character development. Aside from Charlie, I didn't feel particularly strongly about anyone else and they didn't seen as well realised as her. I still read it pretty quickly though, and wouldn't hesitate to pick up more books by this author. I think middle grade readers will get a lot out of Boys, Girls and Other Hazardous Materials, but the YA crowd may be left wanting more. It's worth reading and deciding for yourself!

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