Rummanah Aasi
   After reading two heavy books, I wanted something "light" to read. Naturally, I turned to high school drama. I heard about a lot of buzz surrounding Rosalind Wiseman's new book called Boys, Girls, and Other Hazardous Materials from the YALSA listserve.  Wiseman is mostly known for her nonfiction book, Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and the New Realities of Girl World, which served the basis of the widely popular movie called Mean Girls that starred Lindsay Lohan (one of the very few movies where she didn't annoy the heck out of me). I remembered enjoying Mean Girls when it came out and had high expectations for Wiseman's latest book. Unfortunately, Boys, Girls, and Other Hazardous Materials wasn't as funny and smart as it could have been. 

Description: Charlie Healey is a freshman who enters prestigious Harmony Falls High School in the hopes of clean slate. Situations such as meeting her childhood friend, Will, once again and confronting a girl who she helped humilate won't allow Charlie to escape the traumas of middle school. Will she continue to run from it all or does she finally develop a backbone and stand up for herself?  

Review: There is nothing new about Boys, Girls, and Other Hazardous Materials. The characters are popular stereotypes that can be found in any book or movie about one's high school experience: Dumb jock? Check. Girls who think they are all that and a bag of chips? Check. Smart girls who hate being pushovers? Check. Teachers who want to be your friends instead of doing their job? Check. Parents who neglect to see their son's or daughter's bad behavior? Check. Hazing incident that is finally addressed? Check.

 The plot and the characters were very predictable. I could already tell who the good and bad guys were when the characters were first introduced. Charlie is a likeable character, but I couldn't take her seriously. I just wanted to shake her and say "Get over it! Grow a backbone for once!" That being said, nothing profound happens. There is not much character development in the book either. After a while, I felt like I was reading the same pages over and over again.  

So what did I like? There are only two good thing about this book. One is the accurate and no fuss dialogue. Wiseman is aware of how high schoolers talk. I hear the same things in the hallways of the high school that I currently work at.  The second thing that I liked is the scene where Charlie stands up for herself (it just took her over 100 pgs to do so).

Rating: 2 stars

Words of Caution: There is mild language throughout the book, but nothing that would not be in a PG-13 movie. There is a scene of underage drinking at a party. Recommended for 8th graders and up.

If you like this book, try: Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers
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