A smart and happily "boy proof" teen changes her outlook after meeting new classmate Max Carter. PW wrote in a starred review, "The heroine's journey to shed her trappings and to confidently inhabit her own character is one readers won't want to miss." Ages 14-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Leslie Wolfson
Sci-fi geek Victoriawho calls herself "Egg" after her favorite futuristic movie characterhas no friends. Actually, she has friends but decides she does not need them. She goes through her daily existence shunning anyone who tries to be friendly towards her, including the talented new kid at school, Max. Egg looks as weird as she acts: multiple rings through her ears, shaved head, colored-in eyebrows, and pale skin. She dresses in her heroine's long, white cloak and imagines herself as an independent force against the world. Despite fancying herself an outsider, Egg is not a stereotype. She is a straight-A student (except for that pesky calculus!) and is vying to be valedictorian of her senior class. She is also the star photographer on her school newspaper and a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy club. While disdaining everyone else as beneath her, she secretly covets Max, son of a documentary filmmaker and a talented artist in his own right. Before her eyes, she watches her anti-social behavior backfire when Max, who has been flirting with her, starts dating the newspaper's editor, and her former friends, tired of her attitude, ignore her. By the end of the book, Egg makes a transformation back into Victoria and learns a valuable lesson about the importance of friendship and being true to oneself. This entertaining novel will appeal to anyone who has felt like an outsider, and Egg/Victoria's strong voice adds to the pleasure.
KLIATT - Claire Rosser
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, March 2005: Castellucci is a filmmaker, an actress, and a singer-songwriter. She lives in Hollywood, and this, her first novel, is set there. It's wonderfully quirky, as is the main character, Victoria, aka Egg. Victoria's mother is a beautiful actress, and her father is a successful makeup artisthe's an Oscar winner who designs monsters, dragons, vampire bats and all those good things. Victoria's parents are divorced and Victoria is living unhappily with her mother. She feels most comfortable visiting her father's workshop. The story is basically a school story, a first-love story, but with unusual charactersthe artistic, intellectual geeks who rarely get attention in YA novels. Victoria hides behind the identity of a character in a favorite SF filmEgg. She goes to school in costume, with a shaved head and painted-on eyebrows. She is a senior, anxious to get out of high school as the valedictorian and off to college in the coming year. Her confidence and swagger bump up against a new boy who is as smart as she is, and attractiveoh, and she starts falling behind in trigonometry and has to ask for help from an acquaintancethat hurts. This is funny, in an offbeat sort of way. Few readers will be as smart and talented as Victoria, and few will share her incredible life experiences as a child of Hollywood, but most will enjoy reading about her woes and triumphs. Max, the new student, is a worthy adversarya creator of graphic novels, a brilliant student, the son of a famous documentary filmmaker who has lived all over the world. Of course, eventually Max and Victoria become friends, with a promise of aromantic future relationship. They deserve each other. (There are sprinkles of obscenities here and there, which make Victoria's sarcasm realistic.) (An ALA Best Book for YAs.)
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-Victoria, 16, considers herself boy proof-too smart and tough to be appealing to guys. She has renamed herself Egg after her favorite character in a new science-fiction blockbuster, and even dresses like her idol, wearing an all-white cloak. A straight-A student, she dominates classroom discussions and considers no one her friend. The teen spends Tuesdays after school happily sculpting movie monsters with her work-obsessed father, a special-effects guru, and devotes the rest of her free time to squabbling with her actor mother and debating with and disdaining the Science Fiction and Fantasy Club. When Max Carter arrives at Melrose Prep, he is the first person to see past her aggressive exterior. Chaos follows this disruption; soon her grades are falling, she's called to meetings with the dean of students, and she starts to think about Max in exciting and disturbing ways. Some of the dialogue is a bit unbelievable. Victoria, in particular, strains credibility-she alternates between acting tough and being immature. It's hard to think of her as supersharp because of some of the silly things she says. The pacing is uneven as well; Max and Victoria's relationship blossoms with little development. Victoria's growth is the book's real strength. This is a busy first novel whose secondary characters often outshine the protagonist. Still, lonely, overachieving girls may find themselves cheering for Victoria.-Sarah Couri, New York Public Library Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
This character study of a rebellious Los Angeles teen has enough quirky features taken from sci-fi fantasy to keep reluctant readers interested. Victoria Jurgen devotes herself to science fiction and has retreated from society. She refuses to answer to her name, instead calling herself "Egg," after a character in her favorite sci-fi movie. Her major goals are to become valedictorian of her high school and to be eccentric. Egg reluctantly finds herself attracted to Max, a new boy in her school, but she's so devoted to her own separateness that, although she befriends him, she refuses to respond to his approaches. When Max gets involved with a girl she dislikes, however, Egg becomes jealous. Then her grades slip, and she meets and dislikes her favorite actress, which helps to repel her from her former obsessions and solitude. It's an unusual, successful, appealing effort from first-time novelist Castellucci. (Fiction. YA)
From the Publisher
A Time Magazine 100 Best Young Adult Books of All Time Selection
"Victoria — aka Egg — may be boy proof, but readers will find Cecil Castellucci's fully-inhabited narrator irresistible. A prayer for the wayward, Boy Proof is witty, tender-hearted and compulsively readable." — Ron Koertge, author of STONER & SPAZ — Ron Koertge
Read an Excerpt
By Cecil Castellucci
Copyright © 2005
All right reserved.
I slide my eyes over to the girls who know how to stand nonchalantly in underwear, just chatting. The group includes Nelly and Inez. Nelly's leg is up on the bench between the lockers and she is rubbing glitter lotion onto her calves.
How did girls like that become so comfortable with their bodies? How did I miss out on that lesson?
I am uncomfortable in this body.
I cannot wear a cute tank top with confidence.
I listen like a fly on the wall. It doesn't matter to them that I'm there. Because I'm the Invisible Girl.
"Well, I think Max Carter is cute," Nelly says. "There's just something
"Yeah, but he's always got his nose in that little sketchbook. It's kind of creepy," Inez says while fixing the braids in her hair.
"It's not creepy. It's mysterious. He's totally driven," Nelly says. "He's really smart and cultured. He's so not a boy."
I suck my lips in and mock her to myself.
"Maybe you should ask him out," another girl says.
"Yeah, maybe I should. I love talking to him. He's so deep."
The lockers slam shut, and the voices echo down the hallway to the door to the gym until it's just me and the tick of the large caged clock.
I smart a little. A pinprick. I'm used to envy, but this pain is different.
Max Carter doesn't have deep conversations only with me.
BOY PROOF by Cecil Castellucci. Copyright (c) 2005by Cecil Castellucci. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA.
Excerpted from Boy Proof
by Cecil Castellucci
Copyright © 2005 by Cecil Castellucci.
Excerpted by permission.
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