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Boys, Girls, and Other Hazardous Materials
     

Boys, Girls, and Other Hazardous Materials

4.3 53
by Rosalind Wiseman
 

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A debut novel from the bestselling author of Queen Bees and Wannabes!

Charlie Healy just wants a drama-free year, but it doesn't seem like she's going to get it. After surviving a middle school packed with mean girls, Charlie is ready to leave all that behind in high school. But then, on her very first day, she runs into her former best friend, Will,

Overview

A debut novel from the bestselling author of Queen Bees and Wannabes!

Charlie Healy just wants a drama-free year, but it doesn't seem like she's going to get it. After surviving a middle school packed with mean girls, Charlie is ready to leave all that behind in high school. But then, on her very first day, she runs into her former best friend, Will, who moved away years ago. Now he's back, he's HOT, and he's popular. And he takes Charlie back into the danger zone of the popular crowd. But when a hazing prank goes wrong, Charlie has to decide where her loyalties lie.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Wiseman's (Queen Bees & Wannabees) by-the-numbers YA debut introduces Charlie Healey, a spirited ninth grader who enters prestigious Harmony Falls High School, ready to leave behind the traumas and “frenemies” of middle school. But when a childhood friend, Will, as well as a girl she had a hand in humiliating, transfer to her school, the drama she was trying to escape comes flooding back into her life. Between her feisty and boy-crazy friend Sydney (“she was my friend and unconditional friendship included throwing yourself into potentially mind-blowingly stupid situations”), her crush on Will, and the lacrosse team's increasingly violent hazing traditions, Charlie has to restructure her priorities, analyze her values, and take a stand. Charlie possesses all the uncertainty and self-doubt of a typical high-school freshman, although some of the plot particulars and her first-person narrative, which is spliced with occasional IM conversations and newspaper articles, are sometimes more reminiscent of high school sitcoms than real life. Nonetheless Wiseman has created an honest story of the convoluted workings of teenage friendships and relationships. Ages 12–up. (Jan.)
School Library Journal
Gr 8–11—Attempting to avoid vicious, former "frenemies" (and their influence), Charlotte Healey starts her high school career in neighboring Harmony Falls, hoping for a clean slate. Things look promising when she makes friends the first day and awkwardly reunites, after three years, with ex-best friend/boy-next-door-turned-crush Will. Unfortunately, people from Charlie's past keep turning up, like Nidhi, former target of the nasty kids at her old school. Charlie and Nidhi reconcile and score a column in the school paper on the freshman experience. Trying to find romance and their niche in the social hierarchy, Charlie and company survive the familiar highs and lows of high school and friendship in a place where traditions, both exclusionary and dangerous, reign. Charlie learns that both sexes are equally capable of cruelty, manipulation, and susceptibility to social pressure, but she's no longer one to keep quiet when the bullies and their enablers need to be taken to task. Wiseman's fiction debut has recognizable situations and archetypes, though Harmony Falls's students and authority figures sometimes come off as stock, superficial, or stereotypical. Fortunately, Charlie proves a flawed, humorous, and perceptive narrator as she matures, standing up for herself and others. There is occasional swearing, some forced dialogue (heavy on the exclamations), and a discussion-worthy ending. While high school can seem "life and death" dramatic, Wiseman reveals the nasty business of bullying and the ugly (sometimes life-threatening) turns that questing for acceptance can take.—Danielle Serra, Cliffside Park Public Library, NJ
Kirkus Reviews
Wiseman has written widely on the social dynamics of teens, most notably in Queen Bees & Wannabes (2002). Here she fictionalizes the themes of her earlier works with the story of Charlie Healy, a ninth grader making a fresh start at the high school across town. Harmony Falls High might be a refuge from the frenemies she left behind in Greenspring, who made eighth grade so torturous, but it's still fraught with peril: Bullies, clueless teachers and malevolent administrators abound. Controversy over the lacrosse team's behavior off the field calls into question the ethics of the school, the players and Charlie's childhood best friend, Will, who is enduring the ritual humiliations of joining the team. The story reads like a public-service announcement on the hazards of hazing; wise beyond her years, Charlie's voice lacks adolescent authenticity, and her column in the school newspaper is preachy at times. But Charlie and her friends are outspoken and engaging, and the ending, while neither surprising nor original, will satisfy readers who like a tidy finish. (Fiction. 11-14)
From the Publisher
"[A] realistic portrayal of everyday freshman anxieties, romance, and the sometimes +toolish+ culture of male high-school athletes." -Booklist
VOYA - Pam Carlson
Freshman Charlie discovers she cannot completely outrun her past at a new school when both friends and enemies reappear and especially after observing firsthand a hazing event that almost costs a man his life. For too long, school officials and parents ignored such incidents, preferring a winning lacrosse team to setting standards for behavior off the field. Charlie refuses to back down, even when one of those involved is Will, an old friend and possibly a new romance. Victory in exposing the leaders is bittersweet, but Charlie is finally able to shed her image as a go-along wimp. Characters and situations are authentic for an upper-class, suburban high school. Charlie and company are neither too witty nor wise beyond their years. The actual tragedy occurs near the end of the story despite an implication on the inside cover that it occurs soon after Charlie's arrival at Harmony Falls. On the front, a note from Tina Fey, of all people, hides the faces of Charlie and Will, warning readers not to put the book down or it will talk about them. This reviewer felt that unsuccessful device spoiled a positive first impression, making it one time when readers should not judge a book by its cover. Reviewer: Pam Carlson

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101171547
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
01/12/2010
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
304
File size:
450 KB
Age Range:
12 Years

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What People are Saying About This

Tina Fey
"Rosalind Wiseman once again writes with humor, compassion and accuracy about the high school experience . . . You can't put this book down... or it will talk about you while you're out of the room."
Meg Cabot
"A must-read! Funny as well as painfully familiar. I really wish I'd had this book as an incoming high school freshman."
From the Publisher
"[A] realistic portrayal of everyday freshman anxieties, romance, and the sometimes +toolish+ culture of male high-school athletes." -Booklist

Meet the Author

Rosalind Wiseman is the New York Times bestselling author of Queen Bees and Wannabes, the book that inspired the movie Mean Girls. She lives in Washington, D.C.

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Boys, Girls and Other Hazardous Materials 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 53 reviews.
pagese More than 1 year ago
I liked this book, it just felt like the intended audience was a little younger than I was expecting. The main character is a freshman in high school so I'm not sure why I was expecting a little bit more mature YA. I liked Charlie though. She's just learning who she is and how not to let people walk over her. I thought she was very brave for going to a brand new school to try and overcome what happened in the past. She handled herself extremely well for the situations she was put in. She didn't compromise herself to fit in with the "it" crowd. I liked her group of friends. They provided the comic and occasionally the voice of reason. I also felt like they acted their age. I was happy to see her make friends with someone she unintentionally hurt in the past. I did feel it was a little predictable, but not enough to make me feel like putting the book down. It had just enough drama and surprises to keep the story going. I'm intrigued to read the author's book that is the basis for the movie Mean Girls.
DanceBree17 More than 1 year ago
This review will be a little different since i have just graduated and moved on from the high school drama, but I really liked this book alot. The main character of Charlotte(Charlie) is starting a new high school where she hopes she is leaving the bad karma of her old school and friends behind. But slowly she finds that she can run but she cant hide as players from her past keep dropping into her new start. What I like about Charlie is that she takes a brave stand against things that are happening at her new school and she really makes a difference, even for a freshman. This is a great gift to any girl who is making the jump this summer from middle school into the high school world. Looking back I totally felt the way Charlie did, I wanted to leave my old school and friends behind, but I found that I couldnt totally get away from everything and you have to face certain people to make a difference.
Lynn_Bailey More than 1 year ago
This was one of the best books ever! When I first saw the cover I fell in love. The whole book is basically about a girl, Charlie, and the major problems going on in her life--her first year in high school, making new friends, standing up to old enemies, and of course, boys. There are several boys Charlie and her friends encounter (Dylan, Will, Tyler, etc.) and they are all wonderfully developed. The only thing I did not like was the ending. It left off on an AMAZING PART! and I was dissapointed there was nothing further atfer that. But hey, maybe there will be a sequel! I can only hope! :D
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love these drama like books if you like this one than youll love the lonley hearts club
danielledefillippo More than 1 year ago
This book was great! I love the plot of the story and how it can relate to any teenage girl out there! It has to do with boy drama and girl drama. You can expect a great ending from the book! Read the book to find out if Will and Charlie end up together after all.
Meghan Petenbrink More than 1 year ago
i think this was a great book! it had lots of twists, and lots of exciting chapters that kept you on the edge of your seat! i loved it well done! Meghan:)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book
NerdyMusicBliss More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. Charlie and Will are so good for each other. Charlie tries to look out for Will even though he doesn't want it. Charlie has such good intentions, although she made mistakes. This story draws you in and you find yourself feeling disgusted and ashamed of some people. Just give it a read for fun. I hope Wiseman write more books like this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You will want 2read it again
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AMAZING BOOK!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a pretty good book. I would recommend this book to people that need AR points because it's a fast read. It almost seems like the book is tring to hurry up and finish at the end. Like its trying to make its point right at the end of the book. Never the less it's still a pretty good book. AR points:9
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Frankie Crawford More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book. I read it when i was a freshman i coukd really relate to charlie. Great book
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