Boys, Girls and Other Hazardous Materials by Rosalind Wiseman

After escaping the clutches of her middle school drama queen friends, Charlie wants to start high school drama free. Things go well for her; on the first day she makes a few great new friends and joins the newspaper. Things are even better when her old next door neighbour Will shows up looking amazing. Things seem to be going fine for her and her new friends as they navigate the ups and downs of high school, including dating, grades, sports, etc. That is until Will gets caught in a horrible hazing scheme gone wrong and someone ends up in the hospital. Charlie is torn between doing what is right and her feelings for Will, and at the end of the day she might just lose everything…

Readers who enjoy realistic fiction that puts a strong emphasis on the daily grind of being a teenager in high school will love this book. Boys, Girls and Other Hazardous Materials is witty and sweet and Wiseman does an amazing job of creating down to earth and relatable characters. While there isn’t too much in the way of plot development, the book reads rather quickly as you just can’t get enough of the dynamic Charlie. It was definitely honest and fresh and I appreciated the balance between highlighting the importance of friendship and relationships and the realities of bullying and insecurities. I thoroughly enjoyed the reading experience, and feel that despite some negative reviews it definitely does add something to the YA sphere.

 “..to all the teens and kids I work with. I tried my best to write something that would reflect your experiences of what it is like to be your age today – for the good, the bad and the ugly. I believe what you are dealing with is important and should be respected as such. I hope I did right by you.” – from the book’s acknowledgements.

 You might enjoy Boys, Girls and Other Hazardous Materials if you like books with: realistic high school setting, characters that you could encounter in your real life, a focus on friendship rather than relationships, humour.

 Also by Rosalind Wiseman: Queen Bees and Wannabes and Queen Bee Moms and Kingpin Dads (Boys, Girls and Other is actually her first YA novel)

 If you liked Boys, Girls and Other Hazardous Materials you might also enjoy: Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood by Eileen Cook, Something Maybe by Elizabeth Scott, Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen and The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin by Josh Berk

Additional Info: Did you know that one of Wiseman’s other books, Queen Bees and Wannabes was the basis for the movie Mean Girls?

Author website: http://rosalindwiseman.com/ – amazing website/resource

Rating: W4/4   C4/4   P3/4   O2.5/4   PP3/4   CR3.5/4

Grade Level: JS

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