Rated Reads

Boys, Girls and Other Hazardous Materials

by Rosalind Wiseman

Rated: Mild

Sure, this book was written by the author whose book inspired the movie Mean Girls. Sure, it’s got a quote from Tina Fey on the cover. Sure, it’s got a fun title. It’s got promise.

But … meh.

Charlotte (otherwise known as Charley) Healey is excited to start a new high school in the next town over, getting away from her mean girl frenemies of eighth grade. It’s a fresh start, away from all the unpleasantness of middle school. Of course, high school isn’t that easy: of course she makes new friends (who are “true friends,” of course), puts some of her past to rest, but also deals with some crap with the guys. There are some ups and downs, some cat fights, and, yes, some romance. It’s basically your freshman year of high school in paperback form.

What really bothered me was that it felt so … preachy. And goody-goody. It felt as if Rosalind Wiseman was trying too hard to hit all the “issues” that “teens face” — from backbiting friends, to trust, to teen drinking, to hazing on sports teams — and, as a result, didn’t do any of them justice. The characters were cardboard, the dialogue stilted. And while it wasn’t bad enough for me to toss across the room, it wasn’t great either. There are better teen issue books out there. Ones where you connect with the character and don’t feel like the author is trying really hard to get across a message to those poor, disturbed, confused teens.


Rated: Mild for instances of teen drinking (but none by our main character or her BFFs)

— Reviewed by Melissa Fox

Melissa Madsen Fox's blogging career began in 2004 when she started Book Nut. Reading, reviewing and book blogging have taken over what's left of her life after being a stay-at-home mom to four rambunctious daughters and wife to a slightly- absent-minded professor of political science.

One Response to Boys, Girls and Other Hazardous Materials

  1. Sewenkz says:

    Congratulations! I.N.K. is a joy to read each day.One thing I’m always ieserntted in seeing more of is a conversation or dialogue within posts themselves. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m a sucker for oral histories, panel discussions, and exchanged letters — here, that could be between authors who have covered similar topics, or between the author and illustrator of a single book, or among readers/reviewers with divergent opinions regarding a particular title.

  • Boys, Girls and Other Hazardous Materials
  • by Rosalind Wiseman
  • Rated: Mild
  • Genre: Young adult
  • Reviewer: