Title: A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl
Author: Tanya Lee Stone
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Publication Date: 2006
Good Reads Synopsis
Why I Read It
I was in the library looking for books written in verse. I am trying to write my own book in verse and wanted to study books written in verse by different authors. In the past, I have read several of Ellen Hopkins books and a few of Sharon Creech’s books in verse. While at the library, I found Ellen Hopkins’ new adult book Triangles and decided to give that one a try. And, intrigued by the title, I checked out this one.
Short Synopsis (no spoilers)
Read the title again. So, what do you think this book could be about? An important lesson, ladies and gentlemen. This book is about one Bad Boy, bad with a CAPITAL B, and follows the three girls who learn a very valuable lesson for any teenage girl. Each girl approaches the Bad Boy with a different purpose/focus and leaves the relationship with the same lesson. The first of these girls, Josie, leaves a message behind, for all the other girls in school, inside the back of the book Forever by Judy Blume.
The title caught my attention immediately and I remember thinking about what it could possibly mean. It didn’t take too long before I realized it would be a book about teen relationships. Stone writes Bad Boy in verse and from the beginning it is a quick and fun read. Each girl speaks in her own voice about her reasons for wanting to be with the Bad Boy, how the relationship grows, and of course how it ends. The poems are stand alone poems woven together into a cohesive whole, which a novel in verse must do. Stone’s verse is clear cut, to the point, and the structure of each poem helps the reader feel the poem’s emotions.
As the girls share their experiences with the reader, they are also sharing with other girls at Point Beach High by writing about their experiences in the library’s copy of Forever by Judy Blume. For those not familiar with Blume or YA novels, Forever was written over three decades ago and was a teenage love story, which included some explicit sexual content. It is still a common book to find in public libraries and bookstores. Stone uses the Blume novel as a symbol of teenage girls’ desires to understand how relationships could/should work.
A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl is a novel every teenage girl should read at some point, especially before delving into the world of teen relationships. It is a clear manifest for how the Bad Boys operate and how other girls sometimes encourage this behavior, when in the end we should all be supporting each other, not tearing each other down. The book takes the reader through the emotional roller coaster teenage romance becomes when unchecked by reality. Stone takes the time to lead the reader through each girl’s emotional upheaval and slightly through their healing. I do think this is an area of weakness, which could have lent the book more power, spending time on how the girls overcome their devastation at being played by the Bad Boy.
Overall a great read, especially for a book written in verse. Stone writes in a clear and expressive manner, befitting the characters she weaves into the story. Any teenage girl would enjoy this book. It would make a great book club book for teens, also. 4 stars!
Angela Quiram is a mom of 2 girls, teacher of high school English, as well as an avid reader, movie watcher, and music lover. You can read her blog at http://readingafterbedtime.wordpress.com.