Author: Rosalind Wiseman
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Publication Date: January 12, 2010
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.
Laugh-out-loud funny and hilariously entertaining, Boys, Girls, and Other Hazardous Materials is a novel that's completely unforgettable. Filled with fun and conflict, Boys, Girls, and Other Hazardous Materials also has an engaging and witty narrator whose experiences are similar to that of normal teenagers. Charlie, though a little generic, is a compassionate and reasonable character in the book. Her emotions and experiences aren't dissimilar to other high school teens. She also has her own doubts and insecurities...much like everyone else. This novel is basically just an amplified and exaggerated version of high school wherein Wiseman emphasizes aspects of cliques, bullying, and secrets (crushes!). These aspects--no matter how unpleasant--are a part of truly being in high school.
The special thing about Boys, Girls, and Other Hazardous Materials is that Wiseman manages to somehow delve deeper into the actions and emotions of Charlie whilst keeping the book light and entertaining. And steadily throughout the book, you begin to see Charlie and her relationships with her friends change. The romanticism in Boys, Girls, and Other Hazardous Materials is chaste and convincing without being hurried.
Rosalind Wiseman, along with Boys, Girls, and Other Hazardous Materials, have astounded the YA world with this funny, entertaining book that might be a little generic on the outside, but will make you throw your head and laugh out loud! A =)
The Bottom Line: Cliques + Crushes = Typical High School =)
My reaction/enjoyment: 9/10
Total Score: 91/100 (A)