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Boys, Girls and Other Hazardous Materials by Rosalind Wiseman

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary

Release Date: 1/12/2010

Add to GoodReads, Purchase from Indiebound

About the Book: Charlie is starting high school at a new school in hopes to escape the drama from middle school. When she discovers her old best friend Will is back in town, and at the same high school, Charlie isn't sure what to think. Will isn't the same he was three years ago, but he's still a good guy right? Even if he's participating in hazing with the lacrosse team? Charlie will learn that sometimes drama is something you can't escape and that boys can be just as mean as girls.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: It seems like I always come across books about older teens in high or teens in middle school. Sometimes a good book about freshman year can be hard to find. But Rosalind Wiseman writes book that echoes high school perfectly. I really did feel like I was transported back to my own awkward but fun freshman year.

I love Charlie's-she's a great main character. Actually, I like all the girls. This isn't a book about mean girls, although Ms. Wiseman's non-fiction book Queen Bees and Wannabees was the basis for the movie Mean Girls. These are girls you'd want to be friends with and hang out with. Sure, they still have fights and get mad at each, but they define true friendship.

I really felt that Ms. Wiseman knew how to write for teens. The book felt fresh and funny without being filled without outdated slang. The teen voice felt authentic. It was also a quick read-the chapters were short and there was lots of snappy dialogue. I could see this one being turned into a movie easily.

The thing I didn't enjoy was that it felt like the plot meandered a bit-I wasn't really sure where the author was going with the story until I was about halfway through. Until then, the story was more like little vignettes of Charlie's freshman year. The main meat of the story didn't come until later. I wasn't bored by this, but I would have liked more development in the plot. I also thought the romance was hinted at a lot and then added in at the end without really fleshing it out. It was still cute, but again, more development would have been better.

Overall, Boys, Girls and other Hazardous Materials is a fun quick read. I would give this one to teens who want a lighter look at realistic fiction as well as younger teens wanting to read about life in high school.

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from ARC recieved from publisher


  1. I think I would like to read a book as this on a lazy Sunday afternoon ..And if it's a light read with a good teen voice, it's going on my wishlist. Great review

  2. This time is perfect for some light reading. It does sounds nice. Thanks for the great review.

  3. Yeah, I totally get what you mean about the vignettes of Charlie's school experience -- we did wait a while for the plot to show up!

    And I honestly can think of only a couple freshman year YA novels! I never noticed until you pointed it out.


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Hello! My name is Sarah and I am a Youth Services Manager who works with kids, tweens and teens. I love being asked about great books to read! I started my blog in 2008 as a way to keep track of what I've been reading and to use a reference tool for reader's advisory and it's grown into much more than I could have ever anticipated. In addition to book reviews, I also enjoy posting audiobook reviews, booklists and my adventures in being a librarian. 2017 Library Journal Mover and Shaker Committees: 2021 Newbery Committee 2018 Odyssey Committee 2016 Caldecott Award 2013 Michael L. Printz Committee- Fabulous Films Committee I have also served on the Cybils, Missouri State Library Association Readers Selection Lists, and as an Audies judge. Presentations :  I have offered various presentations at local, state and national libraries and conferences. Topics have included:  What's New in Children's & Teen Literature Engaging Teens in Reader's Advisory Gee