Summary from GoodReads:
When high school junior Natalie-or Dr. Aphrodite, as she calls herself when writing the relationship column for her school paper-is accused of knowing nothing about guys and giving girls bad relationship advice, she decides to investigate what guys really think and want. But the guys in her class won’t give her straight or serious answers. The only solution? Disguising herself as a guy and spending a week at Underwood Academy, the private all-boy boarding school in town. There she learns a lot about guys and girls in ways she never expected-especially when she falls for her dreamy roommate, Emilio. How can she show him she likes him without blowing her cover?
I picked up Babe in Boyland for $2 at the Penguin Warehouse Book Sale in November. Based on the summary, I thought this book would be the perfect light, funny read for when I was in the mood for that kind of book. I have to say, however, that I was very disappointed in this one.
When I read the summary, I thought “hey, this book reminds me of She’s the Man. That movie is FUNNY, so this book has to be good.” I know that She’s the Man is a modern-day retelling of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, so I was expecting some similarities between She’s the Man and Babe in Boyland. I was not, however, expecting it to be quite so similar though. For example, some of the funny parts in She’s the Man are used in this book too. For example, in She’s the Man, Viola is at soccer practice and gets hits in crotch by a soccer ball. Since she is pretending to be a guy, she remembers that is is supposed to hurt a lot and reacts appropriately, but after a pause. Oh my gosh, almost the same thing happens in Babe in Boyland. Replace the soccer ball with a basketball, and there you go. I didn’t like that Gehrman couldn’t come up with her own jokes. I mean, I know getting hit in that area is nothing new, but still. Also, the replace Viola’s messing with her wig with Nat messing with her fake facial hair. It is just so similar.
Another thing that had me rolling my eyes was how many mistakes Nat made while pretending to be a guy. She was constantly using feminine gestures, and letting out “girly” shrieks. And here is what made it most unbelievable. Natalie is supposed to be this great actress. You think someone that is that great could manage to NOT make so many mistakes while pretending to be a guy. I understand making some mistakes, but holy cow, did she make a lot. And a lot of these mistakes were repeated. And even though she made all these mistakes, no one realized that she was a lady. Puh-lease.
Another thing that I didn’t care for was Natalie herself. I thought she was pretty annoying, and totally stuck-up. I guess it was to show Natalie growing as a character, but I couldn’t figure out why she would be stuck up in the first place. It wasn’t like she was in the popular crowd to begin with. Not that she was a nerd (not that nerds aren’t totally awesome!), but her attitude towards the less popular boys when she first started at Underwood was annoying.
So, obviously, I wasn’t in love with this book. But I did finish it, and there were parts that I did laugh out loud. I just think this could have been a lot better. And if I get the urge for this kind of story, I can just watch She’s the Man, which I thought was way better than this book.