Thursday, January 24, 2013

My Ramblings on The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise

The Boyfriend App
By: Katie Sise
Release Date: April 30, 2013
Author Website

In The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise, super-smart, somewhat geeky Audrey McCarthy can’t wait to get out of high school. Her father’s death and the transformation of her one-time BFF, Blake Dawkins, into her worst nightmare have her longing for the new start college will bring.

But college takes money. So Audrey decides she has to win the competition for the best app designed by a high schooler—and the $200,000 that comes with it. She develops something she calls the Boyfriend App, and suddenly she’s the talk of the school and getting kissed by the hottest boys around. But can the Boyfriend App bring Audrey true love? (from GoodReads)

My Ramblings:
I'm waffling on whether or not I like this book. Which is a pretty horrible way to start a review. Have you ever had a book that you know is good, but you get in your own way while reading it? That was this book for me. Allow me to explain.... (there will be spoilers after the break)

Great premise. Really. We have a main character in Audrey who is authentic and likeable. I like that she isn't really pigeon holed into one stereotype or another. She's pretty, she's poor and she's a wicked programmer. She's part of the geeky crowd, but she's not dying to be popular. She's totally okay with what her strengths are, and I love that. Too often we see the geeky girl want to become something more, want to change somehow, win Homecoming queen, land that gorgeous hunk on the football team, change her whole life. Not so here. Instead Audrey wants to win a contest to get the scholarship for college. Her father taught her everything and she desperately wants to get out of her small town and work with computers. This is a great goal. GREAT GOAL! On top of that we have ton's of boy issues. Which, yeah, is pretty stereotypical, but if we remember back to being in High School I think we can all agree that everyone was basically just one big bundle of hormones anyways, so that fact that she's crushing on boys rings pretty true.  So when the chance to win a scholarship by building an App comes up Audrey jumps on it. She needs to have the most innovative or the most popular App to snag the scholarship. At first I thought that the fact that she went with an App that helps you get a boyfriend or girlfriend was pretty dumb, but the more I thought about it the more I liked the idea. She was capitalizing on what her peers would want and use. Even if it's a silly product, it's good business. In other words, I like the plot and I love Audrey. 

Great Group of Friends: I couldn't love her little group of friends more. They are all a bit nerdy and are entering this App contest, but they are also diverse. They are not all cookie cutter nerds with dorky glasses who speak in SAT words all day long. They have other hobbies and interests and most of all they are loyal to each other. Of course Audrey has a crush, only this time the girl isn't looking to marry the quarterback. Instead she's crushing on the guy sitting right next to her, Aiden. He's a transplant from Maine, is tall and cute and more importantly likes her exactly the way she is. She doesn't have to change a thing for him. Which makes for a pretty boring love story, luckily Sise throws in ton's of twists and turns into the plot and we have to wait for the Aiden and Audrey to get themselves together and figure it all out. There were a few moments when I wanted to scream at the book "HE LIKES YOU!! Stop second guessing everything he says." But then I remembered being in HS again, and yeah, it was pretty much exactly like that. Everyone is self conscious and reads too much into everything and over analyzes and you can pretty much convince yourself of anything, including that the cute guy who holds your hand and tries to kiss you doesn't like you. And Aiden is exactly the kind of guy I would have been all "does he/doesn't he?" about, so it rang true for me.

Adult Role Models: This is my favorite. I hate bad parents/teachers. I love seeing great role models, and there are some great ones here. Audrey's mother and her tech teacher especially. Sure we see some bad eggs, but the adults most closely surrounding Audrey are stand up adults and teach her some wonderful things. I so appreciate that. 

So.... what's the hang up then? With all that to love, why am I waffling? Well, it's pretty simple. I got in my own way on this book. I thought WAY too much about it. In this book there are two competing tech companies, the biggest, the one sponsoring the App contest, being Public. The entire book I was thinking things like "Is Public Apple?"  "Is their competitor Microsoft?" "Is BuyJams iTunes?" and so on. I spent so much time analyzing what the real world equivalents were of stuff that it kept me from getting into the book all the way. I wondered why everyone in these big companies seemed to be connected in some way or another to South Bend and people Audrey knows. I wondered who Lindsey (Audrey's cousin and fashion blogger) was supposed to be like. I wondered if the App that Audrey created using sound waves to induce lust was possible. I wondered if Apple uses that technology to get people to buy stuff like Public does in the book (Is that why the Apple store is always packed??). I wondered if the massive make out that was created by the App that occurs in Audrey's cafeteria would ever get that out of hand. I wondered if there's really a Super 8 in Syracuse (there is and then I wondered why I've never noticed it). I wondered if Blake, Audrey's old BFF and current nemesis is okay. (I want more of that story by the way). I wondered if the singer that all the girls go crazy for was supposed to be Justin Bieber. You get the idea. Objectively I really loved so much of the book, but I was thinking so hard about so many things while reading that I couldn't get into the flow, to really get into the book. 

Which leaves me where? Well, it leaves with a book that was well written and fun. Was it the best book for me personally? Probably not. I was in my own way the entire time. That said, I've pretty much asked all the questions for you, so you can go read the book and just enjoy it! I think that underneath all the "I wonders" is a really sweet book that's packed with laughs and love.

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