Saturday, March 3, 2012

60 Page Review: What Boys Really Want by Pete Hautman

At the end of the 2012 Melinda Awards, there was a "galley grab," in which we teens all fell upon the past year's unpublished proofs like piranhas on a bleeding cow. The cow somehow fell into the river. Anyway, after the aforementioned grab, the cart of books for 2012 was opened to us and this was the one thing I took at the time. To quote myself, "It [looked] like a great throw off the list [of potential winners]." We tend to weed things out rather quickly; only the best of books (in a majority's opinion) make it through to the very end. And this had a ridiculous title, so I grabbed it with the intention of landing it in the Chair of Shame.

The writing was below average but not awful. It's mostly the sexism, for which the term "blatant" would be an understatement. I mean, just look at the title! Not all boys want the same thing, nor do all girls, nor does any other gender. It was chock-full of "That's a girl thing" and "Only a guy would do that" and such. Mind you, this isn't a super-bomb like Vampire Crush, but Hautman certainly isn't quite a Jo Rowling, a Suzanne Collins, or a Holly Black. He's no John Green, no David Levithan, no Jenny Hubbard. What I'm saying is that there are so many superb writers out there, and so many more mediocre ones, that I generally read only the best of things. I also do 60 Page Reviews, but - at least for the moment - I read precisely sixty of the pages before putting things down.

And trust me, I'm pretty damn good at judging books by their covers. Of course, there's a process of getting into a non-60-Page-Review book:
  • Look at the cover and title, or spine if shelved
  • Look at the summary
  • Read the first page or flip to a random page and determine the writing quality
  • Make a judgment: to read or not to read?
This book struck me as slightly below average and not worth a good deal of my time. I recently secured its return to the Printz cart and signed it back in for some other poor, brave soul to read.

Final grade: D

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