I'd been hearing good things about Cecil Castellucci's Boy Proof for quite some time, and noticed it recently on Audible.com. Boy Proof is another book that kept me out walking longer than I would have otherwise, because I wanted to know what would happen next (though in a different sort of way than with Life As We Knew It).
Boy Proof is the story of high school senior Victoria Jurgen, who prefers to be called "Egg." Victoria/Egg is an unabashed geek, and self-selected social outcast. She dresses in a long white cloak and shaves her head, in homage to her favorite movie character, Egg from the science fiction adventure Terminal Earth. She sits by herself at lunchtime and reads. Her only school participation is in the Science Fiction club and as the photographer for the school paper. She's very bright, and accustomed to doing well in school, with a particular interest in World History, but she's not very good with people.
Egg considers herself "Boy Proof". She deliberately makes herself unattractive, wearing baggy clothing and no make-up, and genuinely believes herself to be invisible. Imagine her surprise when a new student, the handsome and popular Max Carter, starts to pay attention to her. She resists his friendship, but is eventually drawn in by the things that they have in common. The two soon share a bond, but things are complicated by Max's decision to date another, more conventional, girl.
I love Egg. She's smart, talented, and funny, but she's also insecure, and sometimes downright mean to other people. I cringed for her at times, and wanted to scold her at others (she's particularly harsh to a perfectly nice girl from the Science Fiction club who just wants to be her friend, and to her mother). But through it all, I identified with her, and wanted her to succeed.
The audio version of Boy Proof is excellent. The narrator, Carine Montbertrand, perfectly captures Egg's combination of prickliness and vulnerability. She also does a nice job with the other voices, rendering them remarkably distinct.
Egg is refreshingly unique, and impossible to forget. I especially like the fact that she's not conventional, and not afraid to go her own way, despite the pressures of high school. I think that anyone who has ever felt that sense of otherness while in school will be able to relate to Egg on one level or another. I was sorry to see the book end, because I would have liked to spend more time with Egg (though Castellucci certainly wraps things up in a satisfying manner). Highly recommended for kids 13 and up, especially girls and/or sci-fi buffs.
Book: Boy Proof
Author: Cecil Castellucci (see also Egg's page)
Narrator: Carine Montbertrand
Original Publication Date: February 2005
Pages: 208 (though I listened to the audio version)
Age Range: 13 and up
Source of Book: Downloaded from Audible.com
Other Blog Reviews: bookshelves of doom, Chicken Spaghetti, Book Girl, Swarm of Beasts, Kiddie Lit, What's the Rumpus?
© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.