A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl

A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl

by Tanya Lee Stone


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Josie, Nicolette, and Aviva all get mixed up with a senior boy–a cool, slick, sexy boy who can talk them into doing almost anything he wants. In a blur of high school hormones and personal doubt, each girl struggles with how much to give up and what ultimately to keep for herself. How do girls handle themselves? How much can a boy get away with? And in the end, who comes out on top? A bad boy may always be a bad boy. But this bad boy is about to meet three girls who won’t back down.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553495096
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 06/12/2007
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 773,323
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.06(h) x 0.55(d)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt


For the Record

I'm not stuck up.
I'm confident.
There's a big difference.
If I was stuck up
I'd be one of those
"Oh look at me, I'm so pretty"
girls instead of just appreciating the fact that my cinnamon skin looks good year-round and I can hop in the shower after soccer or lacrosse,
throw on a clean sweatshirt,
sweep on some mascara,
let my hair loose from its pony,
and give any girl a serious run for her money.
And while I totally deserve my spot in Honors English
I'm happy to take my proper place in Algebra I, suffering alongside the rest of the mediocre math heads.
as far as high school boys go,
I'm not so floundering in self-esteem issues that I need someone's arm to hang on or someone's jersey number to cheer for to be a legitimate person,
like some people I know.
Man, to listen to Kim and Caroline chatter away all summer you'd think we've been waiting our whole pathetic lives just to graduate middle school and get to Point Beach High so we could date high school boys.
As if high school boys hold some kind of magical key to who we all really are.

The Whole Truth

All that stuff I just said is absolutely swear-to-God true,
but the rest of the truth the whole truth is lately
I don't have as tight a grip on my confidence as usual.
I mean, this is high school.
Sure, I was pretty popular in middle school,
but you never know how these things are going to turn out.
What if what Kim and Caroline call my natural look is considered totally lame in high school?
What if wanting to read during lunch makes me a total geek?
What if
I don't fit in at all?


It's funny how one night can change the way you look at certain things.
I mean, I believe 100 percent that high school boys don't hold any magical key or anything but that's not the same as saying they're all bad.
Some of them aren't so bad.
Like, maybe,
this one.
I saw him across the gym before he saw me.
He was scoping things out at the Fall Fling,
looking for that one lucky freshman to win the prize of dancing with the studly senior.
I think he picked me because I looked right at him as if I couldn't care less.
I couldn't care more.
My heart was pounding,
palms sweaty.
Hit me like a surprise party you cross-your-heart had no idea anyone was throwing you.
Now, I have never understood all that he's-my-other-half soul mate stuff or when people sometimes talk about having an empty space inside or that they're missing pieces or something.
But then he walked over and fit himself right into my puzzle.

First (Real) Date: Part One

I think Mom is a little bit worried the first guy I'm dating is a senior.
She should know me better than that.
I never do anything
I don't want to do.
That's not going to change.
I mean, when everyone thought it was so cool to sit on the seawall and puff through a pack of Marlboro Lights,
I had a blast sitting there laughing,
telling them how truly stupid and uncool they really were, actually,
coughing and sputtering and wanting to puke,
yeah, real sexy,
Give me some credit.
I never do anything
I don't want to do.
He picks me up in his brand-new
Mazda Miata.
I hate to admit it,
but he kind of cracked my cool-as-a-cucumber exterior
I tried to pull off at the dance
(even though I'm hoping he didn't notice I talked way too fast)
but now all he's talking about is how many horsepowers his stupid car has and the torque and how he almost picked cherry red but he's so stoked that they had this sweet ocean color come in at the last minute and I'm starting to think maybe
I made a
big mistake,
but I just smile and nod,
like the idiotic bobblehead planted in the middle of his dashboard,
pretending this is the most interesting conversation ever.
Man, I hope he doesn't keep this up too long.
We pull in to Smiles.
The parking lot is alive,
too many radio stations blaring kids making out in cars sitting on hoods eating hot dogs high-fiving smoking various things drinking various things talking too loud about nothing.
Real fun.
Inside the scene isn't all that different,
except it's another kind of dark punctuated by the bright lights of too many pulsing video games jammed up against each other.
We walk over to a big bunch of seniors by the batting cages he drapes his arm around me real possessive,
which should have immediately brought out my
I-can-take-care-of-myself attitude,
but instead stirs this way-foreign tingly
"Oh my God, he really likes me" rush.
(Lame! Did I just actually think that?)
"Who's the babe? Freshmeat?" one of the jocks says,
right in front of my face.
"Get it? Freshmen, freshmeat?"
He's laughing hysterically,
like this is the most hilarious thing anyone has ever heard.
"Yeah, got it.
Guys, this is Josie."
A round of Hi's, How's It Goin's, and What's Up's are tossed in my general direction.
I never thought this scene would interest me but actually,
I feel really,
I don't know,
included, I guess,
with his arm wrapped around me pulling me into a group—
and not just any group:
the coolest, most popular group of seniors,
even though the guys are fairly juvenile.
"Hey, we're all heading over to Lindsey's in a while,"
one of the boys says.
"Time to party!"
"Okay. We'll hit that, too. All right, Jos?"
"Okay. Sure."
Although I'm not at all sure because my Mom would freak if she knew I was going to a senior party.

First (Real) Date: Part Two

We hang out at Smiles for a while,
eat some truly nasty pizza,
then head over to Lindsey's.
On the drive over he rests his hand on my thigh,
"Are you having a good time?"
"Good, I'm glad. I want you to have fun."
His hand is still on my thigh.
He's going on and on about something,
his car again, I think,
but I can't concentrate with his fingers moving back and forth like that and even though he's acting real innocent,
like he's got no goal or anything,
the heat from his fingers is searing through to my skin like one of those iron-on transfers.
I could almost bet when I look later his handprint will have been permanently imprinted on my leg.
Then he raises the stakes.
He moves his hand onto mine picks it up and puts it on his thigh.
He takes his eyes off the road for a second looks at me and smiles.
Like the big bad wolf.
If I was in a comic strip,
there'd be a bubble coming out of my head with the word "Gulp" in it.

Reading Group Guide

1. Discuss the title of the novel. Do you agree with it? Why or why not? How did the bad boy in this novel end up being “good” for each girl?

2. Josie admits that “lately/I don’t have as tight a grip/on my confidence” (page 3). Do you think her insecurity affects her actions? If so, how? How can a girl maintain her confidence in unsettling situations?

3. Josie says, “It’s pretty amazing/to find out new things about yourself/when you think you already know every inch/of your own personal landscape” (page 78). What does she learn from her relationship with a bad boy? What can you learn from her?

4. Nicolette believes that sex is power. Do you agree? If so, who wields that power? How do you think attitudes about sex have changed over time? Is Nicolette’s belief a modern notion? Would your mother agree with Nicolette’s opinions? Your grandmother?

5. Both Aviva and Josie end up ditching their girlfriends for a guy. What do you think of their actions? How can you keep your friends and have a boyfriend?

6. Nicolette and Aviva believe that what they are feeling is love. But as Kristen tells Aviva, “. . . we call it making love, they don’t” (page 205). What do you think she is implying? Do you agree with her?

7. Compare the actions of the three girls. What can you learn from each of them? Whom do you feel most sorry for? Why? Whom do you relate to the most?

8. Each of the girls begins to lose her identity as she becomes wrapped up in this bad boy. Josie has to concentrate to remember her favorite things, Nicolette loses her sense of control, and Aviva lets him callher by a name she hates. Is letting go of yourself inevitable in a relationship, or can it be prevented? If so, how?

9. ·The author never names the boy who has wrought such havoc in these young women’s lives. Why do you think she made this decision? Do you think a lot of young men treat women in this way? Do young women hold any responsibility for the way their boyfriends treat them? If so, how much?

10. How can reading a book like this help prevent a girl from making the same mistakes as its characters?

Customer Reviews

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Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 64 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A Bad Boy can be Good for a Girl, written by Tanya Lee Stone, is an amazing story about three girls Josie, Nicolette, and Aviva. The three girls meet what they think is the cutest, sweetest guy until reality hits. Out of the clouds and back to earth hitting the ground running, the girls deal with heartbreak. This book travels with the girls ups and downs in a teenage relationship. It¿s a great read for teenagers and older women who have experienced the unreal feeling of teen love and have gone through bad breakups. Many girls can relate to the feeling of rejection, not being good enough, throwing away their heart to an unworthy person and watching them tear it to pieces. There are 223 wonderful pages in a journal format. A fast read with a great lesson for life, love and relationships. If you like the movie John Tucker Must Die your definitely going to love this book. I know I did!
HomieC More than 1 year ago
This book was very interesting, it kept me wanting to read more. It was short, but good. I like reading about sex and kissing and boys, because in reality its what teenagers now days are either doing, or wanting to do. It was full of excitement the whole time. It was a book about a teenage girl who is trying to be forced into having sex. It's a big decision for her. To either fit in and do it, or stand her ground. I recommend this book to anyone!
MarieCoady on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Bad Boy" is a quick read written in the voice of 3 different girls, each of whom has a 'relationship' with the star jock of the senior class. This book, while sexually explicit at times, offers a realistic look into the dating world of the modern teenager. Great 'heads up' lesson for any teen; better to read it than to regret it.
mspioneer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is about a boy who is only out for one thng. Josie starts to fall for the boy in the story...find out what happens in this love story. -JB
baxterclaus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A novel in verse that scans mostly as prose (is this considered poetry?), this short, hyped, sometimes challenged book is not as scandalous as its reputation suggests. Yes, this book is about sex, but 1) It's not graphic, and 2) It is advocating safe, non-promiscuous sex. Sex is handled with care, not displayed gratuitously. This book is actually about gossip and girl friends, and the shark-infested high school environment, where your reputation is everything. This book successfully makes the case (while sneakily passing as scandalous) that sex should be respected, because it can be hurtful and dangerous. The old fashioned type of girl power.
lalalibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was very empowering. It's told in poetry from the perspective of Josie, Nicolette and Aviva, three girls who all got used by one guy. All three really do get something positive out of the experience, though. A Bad Boy... definitely brought back memories of the bad boy I dated in high school. blech!
airdna on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Three different girls; one nameless, womanizing dog of a teenage boy. This book tells the story of each girl's experiences, through a series of poems. A honest depiction of teenage relationships, sexual activity, and some of the emotional fallout that occurs when things don't go as hoped.
Emibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Three girls deal with relationships with a bad boy, who loves them and leaves them. To warn others, they start a "bathroom graffiti wall" in the back cover of "Forever" by Judy Blume. A quick read, but not very strong characters.
4sarad on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really disliked this book. The girls are all unrealistically beautiful and also completely stupid. They, and also (ESPECIALLY) the boy they are all crazy about, are completely flat characters and have no depth at all. The book as a whole has no soul... you never really get into the book, it's just sort of there. I got nothing out of it.
louisedoherty on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I did not find this book; it found me. I was searching through the stacks for YA graphic novels when I came across it, hidden in that group. An especially juicy section was bookmarked with a slip of paper from the library and I assumed some YA did not feel comfortable checking it out, but was `checking it out¿ just the same. I scooped it up only to find it on the READING RANTS list of the best YA romances and with great reviews. I never would have picked it up based on the title or the graphic-y cover, but I LOVED IT and I loved the premise: a high school girl who knows better gets burned by the school heart throb. Instead of hiding she admits her mistakes to herself and her slighted girl friends, and turns her heartbreak and humiliation into a positive force for change by telling her story and using it as a cautionary tale for other victims (actual and potential). Using Judy Blume¿s romance classic, Forever, she warns girls of what happened to her by writing all over the volume in the school library. Two other girls realize too late and after they are burned they also read the notes, only to realize that many, many girls have fallen for that jerk. They are not alone; instead they are empowered. 11/06
edspicer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An extremely quick read, A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl is a free verse journey into the lives of three young teen girls and the sex-loving jock with whom they fall in love. At our BBYA teen meeting, this book was the clear favorite of all the books on our list, especially among the young women in the room. While this book is not for all readers because of its implicit, yet largely off camera, depiction of sexually active teens, the message is clearly a cautious one. What I find especially realistic about this book is the fact that the unnamed, handsome jock, is not a rapist. He understands and respects a ¿No¿ answer (even if that answer will cause him to dump the current girlfriend). Consequently, Stone provides opportunities for teens to discuss the nature of relationships and how sex is used as a weapon against young women, even when the women believe they are in control of the relationship. An especially nice touch is the way Stone uses Judy Blume¿s Forever as the depository for information on how to protect other girls from this sex-loving jock. Teens are finding this book, regardless of whether it is recommended for high school or middle school students or not! Recommended for very brave middle school and high school libraries and for junior and senior high school students, especially boys. I¿d like to see this book placed widely, but this book will be controversial¿ make sure your library challenge policies are firmly in place and carefully understood.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldnt stop reading it so instering absoutly loved it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beware before you read that this is not a good book for anyone under the age of 13 because this does involve some sexual things in it but it was a good book warning girls of how guys think
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My favorite book.
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Chandler Cofield More than 1 year ago
omg its so true and real!! its AWESOME!