Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Book Review: Boy Proof by Cecil Castellucci

Title: Boy Proof

Author: Cecil Castellucci

Pages: 203


What happens when an antisocial cinephile meets up with the worldly new guy at school — a quick-witted artist who's savvy enough to see through her sci-fi disguise?

Meet Egg. Her real name is Victoria Jurgen, but she's renamed herself after the kick-ass heroine of her favorite sci-fi movie, Terminal Earth. Like her namesake, Egg dresses all in white, colors her eyebrows, and shaves her head. She always knows the right answers, she's always in control, and she's far too busy — taking photos for the school paper, meeting with the Science Fiction and Fantasy Club, and hanging out at the creature shop with her dad, the special-effects makeup wizard — to be bothered with friends, much less members of the opposite sex. As far as Egg is concerned, she's boy proof, and she likes it that way. But then Egg meets a boy named Max, a boy who's smart and funny and creative and cool...and happens to like Egg. Could this be the end of the world — at least as Egg knows it?

Victoria Jergens, AKA Egg, is not an individual. In fact, she's the exact opposite; her entire look, her entire lifestyle, is centered around a character from her favorite film, Terminal Earth. She is intellegent, but anti-social. The closest she gets to an actual social life is as the photographer for her school paper, the Melrose Lion, and actively participating in online movie forums. She has no real friends, and she's proud of it. She doesn't want friends. Her only goal is to graduate as valedictorian and get away from her washed-out eighties icon mother. But then Max, son of a genius documenterist, invades her bubble with his deep, provoking thoughts and outgoing personality, her world is suddenly out of her control, and she realizes what having a real identity actually is.

This is one of those books that leaves you with a nice, fuzzy feeling in your chest. Egg is a character all her own, different in a way that is different from the usual different (if that makes sense). Most of all, she is "boy proof". At first, she's not entirely likeable; cocky, bitter, bleak and a strong superiority over those around her, yet an underlying self-consiouness that adds just enough empathy to kept me from putting the book down. But Castellucci does a fantastic job at slowly progressing Eggs character in a very subtle way. She didn't just wake up and decide to change. There was, like any plot, a slow yet torturous decline in her life, much of which was spent with Egg regretting everything she ever did or said. Then, just when you think it can't get any worse, her life is back on track and she herself has a brand new aspect on life. This could be considered a rather corny deux ex machina, but I just thought it was how a novel such as this should end: clean, fluffy and so, so sweet.

I love how different all the characters are. While it is rather cliche at times (boy moves in, astounds all with his provoking comments and changes socially constipated girl's life), you generally cheer for everyone. Plus, Max is kind of setting the standard for every boy I date for the rest of my life :)

It's also a bit heartbreaking when Egg realizes how not alone she was only when she really, truly is alone. Don't really want to give much away, but I think if there's anything to take away from this book, it's that if you take things for granted, they will bite back at you. Hard.

Boy Proof is a very quick read. I finished it in something like three hours. This isn't to say it was rushed, but I did feel as though there was a lot of character development and such that the author missed out on. Like Egg/Victoria's relationship with Max. One second, she hates him. Then she likes him. Then she lurves him. Then she hates him. Then she misses him. Then she lurves him again. I was kind of blanking at times, skimming through passages trying to figure out when all this happened.

Flaws aside, I have no doubt that fans of all genres--sci-fi, chicklit, YA, romance--will enjoy Boy Proof. It's fun, quick, and gives you a nice little feeling towards the end. And, really, isn't that what we all look for in our books?

Rating: 8 out of 10

Also: Check out Cecil Castellucci's other novels, such as The Queen of Cool and Beige (not nearly as good as Boy Proof, but still pretty good.)


Joanna said...

Looks awesome! Great review!

Faye said...

i have this book on my reading list.Egg is a funny name lol. Great review!

award 4 u @ my blog!

Alyssa Kirk @ Teens Read and Write said...

Thanks for letting me know about this one. Sometimes I get so bogged down with reading so many books (even though I love it) it's nice to have something to read that is enjoyable and quick. Great review!

Jake Kirk@Teens Read and Write said...

We've got an award for you here!

ParaJunkee said...

Looks pretty good, like the review also.

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