Thursday, June 14, 2012
"Girl Meets Boy" by Kelly Milner Halls
Publisher: Chronicle Books (Raincoast Books)
From Goodreads: "What do guys and girls really think? Twelve of the most dynamic and engaging YA authors writing today team up for this one-of-a-kind collection of "he said/she said" stories-he tells it from the guy's point of view, she tells it from the girl's. These are stories of love and heartbreak. There's the good-looking jock who falls for a dangerous girl, and the flipside, the toxic girl who never learned to be loved; the basketball star and the artistic (and shorter) boy she never knew she wanted; the gay boy looking for love online and the girl who could help make it happen. Each story in this unforgettable collection teaches us that relationships are complicated-because there are two sides to every story."
I jumped at the chance to read and review this book when it was offered- everything about it screamed "PERFECT" to me, from the cover, to the author list, to the theme, to the fact that each story was told from two POVs, the male characters POV and the female characters POV- as those who know me have come to learn I LOVE reading stories from male's POV (especially retellings of my favourite books, like Jace's POV of The Greenhouse Scene in "CoB", Daemon's POV of the dirty, sexy couch scene from "Obsidian", and heck, even Edward's POV in "Midnight Sun"). However, as I soon came to learn, this book was far from perfect.
While I don't have a problem with there being sex in a YA book I must admit that I did have a problem with the authors portraying the teenagers in a very stereotypical light- that they ONLY EVER have sex on their minds. As someone who not that long ago was a teenager I know this to be untrue. Yes, while some teenagers do have sex on their minds 24/7, the large majority do not (especially teenagers the same age as the characters in this book- 17 and 18 year olds who have larger concerns on their minds, graduation, post-secondary school, etc. than getting laid).
Furthermore, I found many of the stories to be tasteless (admittedly I was thinking that the stories would be not unlike Stephanie Perkin's "Anna and the French Kiss" and "Lola and the Boy Next Door" in the romance-department, fun and flirty stories which were tastefully done, but alas they were anything but)- going into a bit more detail than I had been expecting.
That being said, I did appreciate that the characters occupied a wide range of ethnicities and religions- from Rafi a Muslim individual in an interracial relationship with small-town Kerry, to Native American teens Wanda and Bobby, to African American Ruffina and your all-American, boy-next-door Sean. Furthermore, a wide spectrum of sexual orientations were also included within this book- gay, straight, transgender, etc.- many of which I personally haven't seen in YA books before.
I took notes on each individual story as I read the book and they are as follows:
"Love or Something Like It" by Chris Crutcher/ "Some Things Never Change" by Kelly Milner Halls
This was by far my least favourite story in the anthology. I found it to be overtly sexual, bordering on tasteless/ tactless. I think that the authors wanted to sympathize for Wanda and all that she had experienced in her life, but I couldn't, primarily because I found that her and John showed very little redeemable characteristics (this story deals with mature/ heavy themes including rape and molestation).
"Falling Down to See the Moon" by Joseph Bruchac/ "Mooning Over Broken Stars" by Cynthia Leitich Smith
This story was okay, but quite unmemorable (in fact as I write this review I have to skim the story to remind myself what it was about, despite only having read the book a day or two ago). The best part about the book was that it wasn't a damsel-in-distress story, but a don-in-distress story.
"Want to Meet" by James Howe/ "Meeting for Real" by Ellen Whittlinger
Now THIS is the type of story that I had been hoping for! It was so cute and made my heart happy. It was totally unconventional and unexpected, but I couldn't have asked for anything better. I'd love to see this expanded into a full length novel.
"No Clue, AKA Sean" by Rita Williams-Garcia/ "Sean and Raffina" by Terry Trueman
Cute tale of acceptance. Nothing more, nothing less.
"Mouths of the Ganges" by Terry Davis/ "Mars at Night" by Rebecca Fjelland Davis
Another tale of acceptance, however I found this to be MUCH less memorable than the previous story (and at times too long, after all, these are supposed to be short stories).
"Launchpad to Neptune" by Sara Ryan and Randy Powell
TOTALLY unexpected, it made me a double take- I really enjoyed it. Like "Want to Meet"/ "Meeting for Real" I'd love to know more about these characters.
All in all, while I REALLY wanted to like this book, if not love it, I didn't- unfortunately the all-inclusive story lines and a few good stories here and there were unable to outweigh the at times tasteless story lines of many of these stories.
Overall Rating: 6/10
I received this book from the publisher to read and honestly review. I was not compensated in any way for said review.