Bookish Boyfriends by Tiffany Schmidt
Published by Amulet Paperbacks, scheduled for May 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Okay. I was immediately attracted to Bookish Boyfriends. The premise just sounded way too cute, and I knew that if it was half as adorable as it sounded, I’d be on board. I had NO IDEA how much I would love this book.
The first of two books in an intended paperback original series about a girl whose classic literary crushes manifest in real life. Merrilee Campbell, 16, thinks boys are better in books, chivalry is dead, and there’d be nothing more romantic than having just one guy woo her like the heroes in classic stories. She’s about to get the chance to test these daydreams when she, her best friend, Eliza, and her younger sister, Rory, transfer into Reginald R. Hero High, where all their fantasies come true—often with surprising consequences.
The writing is so. effing. cute. Fun, hilarious, intelligent. The word that comes immediately to mind is effortless. The tone is so lighthearted that I flew through the pages easily and readily. At no point did it slow down or become less interesting for me.
The characters are just completely phenomenal.
Two pages in, I made a note about how much I adore the relationship between Merrilee, our narrator, and her best friend Eliza. I LOVE girl friendships. Love them. The good, the bad, the in between. I want them all. This one is possibly one of my favorite friendships in all of YA.
I could write an essay about how much I love Merrilee, our narrator, who is fifteen and boy crazy. What is refreshing is that she’s boy crazy for boys in books, hence bookish boyfriends. She is SO quirky (describing her style as “toddler-chic” is something I love), SO silly. But also brilliant and unapologetically herself. We could all stand to be more like Merrilee. I’d like more girls to be comfortable with being both math geniuses and romance junkies. Her loyalty and friendship to Eliza is admirable and gorgeous and something all people should aspire to.
We have Eliza, a gorgeous girl obsessed with biology who is an excellent friend to Merrilee, even if she doesn’t get the romance thing.
And a whole slew of side characters all distinct and beautiful. I won’t even get into the leading men, except to say that I love them, also.
I’m also OBSESSED with Merrilee’s English teacher, though this is an area where I’m extremely biased.
This book has SO MUCH TO SAY ABOUT WOMEN. It is subtle; feminist undertones are there, constantly, but it isn’t enough to be off-putting to those less inclined to our ways. I LOVE loud, bold, in-your-face feminism but I also love that I’m seeing a lot of this, like, thinly veiled girl power in YA.
I love that the female characters in this book give you a ton to think about. We tend to think of girls (and ultimately women) as one thing. People are told to forget how multi-faceted teenage girls can be, and I think Bookish Boyfriends is a great example of their complexity.
I LOVE books like this where the tone is just so fun and lighthearted. No apocalyptic stakes, no end of the world around the corner. A girl and her life and her friends and her first experiences with dating.
I think this is great for people who like the softer side of YA. No cursing, no partying, no drugs or drinking. The kids are 15, so I think this is super fitting.
All in all this is just a great, quick read and I can’t wait for the next book!
*Note: My reviews are full of opinions. I may love a book. May want to marry it like the kid in the commercial for Peanut Butter Crunch (1999 was a great year for cereal and commercials, look it up). I may say a book is the best thing to happen to me since I started shaving my big toe. None of these things mean it is objectively good. I recognize that. Many times throughout my life, I have given a book I swore to be a life-changer to a friend/boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/acrobat. Shaking, quietly weeping, I’d hand it (and my heart) over. Only to find out several weeks later that for them the book was good, maybe even great, but not the life-giving, soul-renewing magic I’d purported. You may not like a book I recommend. Sue me.
**Please don’t sue me, I just write here.