Book Review: Is Having a Boyfriend Really Necessary?

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Is Having a Boyfriend Really Necessary? by Jane Grahl

When a hot new guy starts showering fourteen-year-old Sarah with attention, she starts to question her two-year crush on her best friend. Ever since the girls around her started pairing off, she's wanted a boyfriend. But at what price? Will she go after the boy who she's always wanted, but who doesn't seem to want her? Or will she take the offers of the strange new guy and push aside her morals so she'll no longer be plagued by single status?

Now, I know this book is published by a vanity press (in other words, you pay them to publish and they'll print almost anything), I guess I was a little surprised by this book. The title seemed unoriginal and a little too long when I chose it for review. Still, I thought it deserved the chance. While some may have been turned away by the obviously hand-drawn cover, I found it slightly impressive that the author had drawn it herself instead of hiring a professional. (I choose to believe she wanted it to look the way it did in her mind, rather than the more obvious explanation that she couldn't afford the professional.)

But as soon I opened the (very short) book and read the first paragraph, I knew this book could never be passed as more than a vanity press or self-published work. The verb tenses switch constantly, and the plague of first person - too many I's - glares on every page. The author, a middle-aged mother of two, is definitely trying too hard to portray the voice of a high-schooler. Contractions, however, are all too rare; the fickle attitude of Sarah regarding Devon and Nick is also unrealistic and confusing. Some of the phrases used seem a little too 'adult' - things that teenagers understand but rarely say. Text messages are spelled out, but thoughts are abbreviated (BFF, for example).

This was a good topic for high-schoolers, and a so-so storyline to deal with it, but the writing style simply isn't meant for teenagers - or fiction at all, in my opinion. I give this book one star.

I received this book for free through the Dorrance Book Review Team in exchange for this review. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


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