By Jody Gehrman
Reviewed by Karla Accorto
This month Kinsey and I selected Babe in Boyland by Jody Gehrman. It follows the life of a teenager named Natalie, a.k.a. Dr. Aphrodite, the school newspaper’s love advice columnist. However, when she is accused of only telling her readers only what they want to hear and nothing that is absolutely close to the truth, she decides that she needs to expand her knowledge of the male sex. The best way to do this according to her? Become one of them for a week. With some help from her close friends, Darcy and Chloe, she enrolls in an all-boys boarding school and becomes Nat. Her goal on the way to school? Discover the inner workings of the male mind. Her goal after the first day? Not to fall in love with her roommate. Babe in Boyland takes you on Natalie’s hilarious journey as she attempts to discover just how alike boys and girls can be and if the grass is truly greener on the other side.
Babe in Boyland was a light, quick, and easy read. I first picked it up because it reminded me of a movie I had really enjoyed, She’s the Man. While the two do prove to be similar at first glance and at some of the silly mistakes the two girls make as they pretend to be boys, ultimately, the stories are very different. Natalie was a very likeable main character and she lived in a fairly believable world. I loved the parts Chloe and Darcy played, especially because they reminded me of how I am with my own closest friends. I was somewhat disappointed, though, because the two seemed to be fairly flat characters. However, I was impressed with the amount of time the author spent on Natalie’s roommate, Emilio, and his sister. Both had believable motives and interesting backgrounds that I loved learning more about. In full disclosure, Emilio did have a few lines that made me swoon, and I was occasionally jealous of Natalie J. The ending was tidy and cute, which, being the sap that I am, I adored. I only wish that I was able to know more about all of the secondary characters and even Natalie herself. I often found myself wondering about her and why she was thinking the way she was. I would also have loved for the author to elaborate on her relationships: with her mother, Chloe and Darcy, her arch-nemesis, Summer, and even Emilio.
All things considered, I enjoyed Babe in Boyland. The story itself was good, but slightly younger than for someone my age. However, there were a few mature allusions made in the story, so I would recommend it to an incoming high school freshman or a mature eighth grader. I loved the ride Natalie took me on and I loved the look that I got inside the male brain.