Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Review: Boys For Beginners - Lil Chase

Boys For Beginners by Lil Chase, published by Quercus on 4th August 2011

Goodreads synopsis:
Thirteen-year-old Gwynnie is just about to turn fourteen. While other girls in her year are all about boys and make-up, the closest she's got to a boy is in a tackle on the football field. But when the totally hot Charlie Notts starts at school, Gwynnie decides now might be the time to start being a girl.

Gwynnie enlists the help of a gang of girls at school, headed by the super-confident Jenny. But is it really safe for Gwynnie to be let loose with lash curlers and strong eye-shadow? Has Jenny got a hidden agenda while giving Gwynnie her make-over? And will Charlie ever see her as more than a killer football player with skinny legs?

When everything comes to a head at the school prom, Gwynnie will learn some truths about herself and her new found girly friends. Has she risked the firm friendships she has with boys for that first kiss?

I love reading books by British authors and I always enjoy trying new debut novels so ‘Boys For Beginners’ ticked both boxes for me.  This was a book which made me laugh and smile and was a thoroughly fun and enjoyable read.

The main character Gwynnie is a tomboy who loves football and playing computer games.  She’s a die hard Spurs fan and her only interest in the opposite sex is if they're any good at sport.  All that changes when she meets new boy Charlie, who she develops an instant crush on. Suddenly, being seen in the right clothes and wearing the right makeup seem all important in her quest to impress him.

The main moral of the story is that we shouldn’t try to be something or someone we’re not.  The people that are worth having around us are the ones that accept us for who we are and not who they want us to be.  I think that's a very important message for anyone reading the book and particularly for young people today and it's conveyed in a deft and light-handed way.  I enjoyed all the ups and downs that Gwynnie has to go through throughout the course of the book before she really finds out the kind of person that she is and wants to be.

I really liked the way the relationship between Gwynnie and her single Dad.  Although they ultimately bond as father and daughter over their shared love of Spurs, he's also willing to share girly things with her too and is always ready to listen to her when she needs help or support.  It's not often that the father/daughter relationship is depicted in such a positive light and this was refreshing to see.

'Boys For Beginners' was an entertaining and engaging read.  I think it would probably appeal more to the slightly younger teen audience who are dealing with many of the things that happen to Gwynnie in the story.  For me, it was the perfect mix of humour and light-hearted laugh-out-loud moments, as well as a more serious message and was a book that I really enjoyed.     

1 comment:

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