Girl v. Boy by Yvonne Collins & Sally Rideout 2008
Hyperion/Disney Book Group
IQ "People like Scoop may want to cut straight to the reveal, but it's so much better to discover someone's personality layer by layer. By the time you've stripped to the core, you've built a solid relationship that may actually stand the test of time. [...] Best of all, he [Luisa's boyfriend] accepts that a slow burn is ten times hotter than a flash in the pan." Luisa/Newshound pg. 248
"How old are you, Newshound? Since our editor insists that you really are a Dunfield student, I can't help but wonder if your grandmother wrote your last column. Please tell me you don't believe that 'slow burn' garbage. One day, when you live in a geriatric condo, a slow burn will be all you can handle. In the meantime, why don't you enjoy life while you've still got your original body parts?[...] Wake up and smell the smoke, girlfriend, because there's a big difference between a slow burn and cold ashes." Scoop pg. 251
Luisa Perez is a sophomore in high school and probably one of the only students who has zero school spirit. Luisa and her friends work hard at avoiding all extracurricular activities. In a school with nine other sophomores named Luisa Perez (that is one diverse high school!), this Luisa does not particularly stand out. And she likes it that way. Except for the fact that she would like a boyfriend. However she doesn't think being an anonymous columnist for the school paper will help her in this respect so she's less-than-thrilled that her English teach volunteered her. even though Luisa views the column with trepidation, she decides that she does want to go to college and therefore she will need to put something on her college applications. Luisa's first assignment is to report on a battle of the sexes to see who can raise the most money for their school (the prize is getting an extra long winter break). Luisa will report on all events from the female point of view and an anonymous male columnist will report on events from the male perspective. Soon the columnists themselves are trading barbs back and forth about gender roles and relationships with the opposite gender. Luisa does not want to lose this battle, even though finding out who the male columnist is may ruin one of the best relationships she's ever had.
I apologize for the long summary, but there's some backstory that was needed to go into it. For the Incredible Quote, I included excerpts from both columns that show the two columnists engaged in "battle". Scoop is the guy, Newshound is Luisa. I had a hard time relating to Luisa because I can't imagine not having any school spirit. I firmly believe that you should attend at least one major sporting event for your high school each season (even if you don't like sports. Everyone is there and it's fun) and I can't imagine not being in any clubs. In Luisa's defense, she does have a job that keeps her very busy. she's a waitress and sometimes she has to cover her older sister, Grace's, shifts (usually when Grace is taking care of her daughter or going on a date with her baby daddy/on again-off again boyfriend Paz. In addition to (at first) not being able to relate to Luisa, I was irritated by how as soon as Luisa engaged in an extracurricular, boys were falling all over themselves to talk to her. True you meet more people at after-school events, but I find it hard to believe that without changing any aspects of her appearance or personality, she would discover all these new admirers (who were not all admirable). And let me just say that there's no way the city of Chicago would ever sponsor a contest as awesome as this one. Throughout the city of Chicago (although there is a tiny issue with this because I thought the story takes place in a suburb which would not be in Chicago...), schools are competing to see who can get the most money. The winner gets a full month off of school for winter break and in the battle of the sexes, the winning gender gets an extra three days off for spring break (the battle of sexes is only for Dunfield High School).
Obviously I loved the high energy of the columns. There are plenty of (mostly clean) innuendos, insults and retorts thrown about. A battle between genders is always intense and fun to read about and this one did not disappoint. One of the best parts of the book is trying to guess who the male columnist is. It's not easy and while it becomes clear towards the end who is NOT the columnist, I didn't expect the big reveal. I thought the whole time that it was the first guy. The relationships Luisa has with family and friends are borderline three dimensional. The characters are developed but not quite fully there. Luisa, Grace and their mother have issues but these issues are never addressed head on so there is no resolution or goal setting. I really liked Paz though. He was the typical rough-exterior-soft-interior guy and I was rooting for him and Grace to work out (and for him to stop picking on Luisa). Luisa does become a character that is easier to identify with as she tries to balance four (!) different guys, she struggles with self-esteem and going too fast.
Girl v. Boy was an indulging, not wholly realistic and somewhat cheesy read. It becomes predictable but the sparkling banter between the two columnists keep the story moving. It's especially amusing to see the effect the two columnists have on the entire school. Girls become more vocal about what they want and guys have even more questions about what girls want. Trying to figure out the identity of the male columnist will keep you constantly turning the pages as will seeing the big finale and figuring out who wins the winter break competition and the battle of the sexes.
Disclosure: Traded with Steph Su. Thank you =D