Friday, January 13, 2012

Review: What Boys Really Want

Pete Hautman
Contemporary Young Adult
304 Pages
Available Now
Received from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Lita is the writer. Adam is the entrepreneur. They are JUST FRIENDS.

So Adam would never sell copies of a self-help book before he'd even written it. And Lita would never try to break up Adam's relationship with Blair, the skankiest girl at school. They'd never sabotage their friends Emily and Dennis. Lita would never date a guy related to a girl she can't stand. They'd never steal each other's blog posts. And Adam would never end up in a fist fight with Lita's boyfriend. Nope, never.

Adam and Lita might never agree on what happened, but in this hilarious story from Pete Hautman, they manage to give the world a little more insight into what boys and girls are really looking for.

What Boys Really Want is a cute story that superficially illustrates a few of the fundamental differences in the way men and women think in a light, humorous way using two teenagers as the token representatives for their gender. There are no groundbreaking or overly astute observations and analyses of gender relations, but nor are there meant to be, instead we get to enjoy a quick romp through a world of misunderstandings and drama created by the lack of effective communication from one person to the next. We’ve all surely experienced such situations, and probably have made the quick judgments of character quality based on appearance and rumor as Lita does, so it’s an easy story to fall into despite the fact that once we’re in we really don’t wade in more than ankle deep.

Lita and Adam are more than opposites in just sex, their personalities placing them on opposite ends of the spectrum from one another and resulting in rather hilarious interactions that seem to be taken directly from our own lives as we’ve tried to communicate with members of the other gender. Lita is a meddler, constantly insinuating herself into the lives and happenings of others whether invited or not, dispensing snarky advice and generally focusing outward instead of dwelling on her own life. Adam, on the other hand, is distinctively more internal, often in his own little world and slightly oblivious to the thoughts and actions of those around him which causes him no shortage of trouble with both best friend Lita and with life in general. We don’t necessarily feel a strong connection to either character, but our time spent with them is enjoyable in a more shallow way, allowing us to walk away amused yet not inclined to sprint to our computers or phones to find someone with whom to share our reaction.

What Boys Really Want is the perfect read for those looking for a book that’s not overly emotional, dark, or intense, but who instead want to briefly escape into a relatable and familiar world that brings a quick laugh and then lets them go easily to move on to something perhaps more poignant or profound. This book is akin to an episode of Seinfeld: we’re not sure exactly what it’s about other than a brief snippet of time in the lives of others, but it’s enjoyable just the same. Mr. Hautman has a wonderful sense of humor, one that’s the perfect appetizer to get us in the mood for perhaps something slightly richer and more layered where the emotions are truly visceral and the reading experience a bit more powerful.

Rating: 3/5


  1. Pity that you couldn't connect with the characters. It sounds pretty good !

    Krazyyme @ Young Readers

  2. Awww, it sucks that you couldn't connect with the characters, Jenny! :( I hate it when that happens, especially with a book that has real potential to be awesome because that really brings it down! But still, this book sounds like a nice & quick escape from reality and I LOVE that you compared it to Seinfeld! x) My uncle used to love that show!

    Awesome honest review, Jenny! I'm glad you still enjoyed it despite the face that it was skim-the-surface kind of book! :) The humor sounds like a blast!

  3. Sometimes I like a book that's pure fluff. You can read it and finish it with no attachments, just a lingering sweetness in your brain. And you can move on with no problems. Might be a great one for my classroom library (the girls are always on the prowl for romance).

  4. This sounds cute for an everyday type read..although I hated Seinfeld (as I avoid punches)


  5. I haven't heard too much about this one but it sounds like a fun read. I would need to be in the mood for the type of book. Great review!

  6. Krazzyme - It was good! One of those where it's not a terrible thing to not connect to them, you can read just to read and not think too much:)

    Mimi - Sometimes I really enjoy a skim the surface type of book - while they never blow me away, they break up some of the more intense reads nicely I think:) This one had some really funny moments, it just wasn't one for the favorites shelf.

    Mary - Exactly! That sums it up perfectly!

    Tina - I wasn't a big fan of it either, so you're not alone!

  7. Jennifer - It was a cute, quick read. Nothing outstanding, but something entertaining and enjoyable:)

  8. Sounds like a light, amusing read. Although, lack of connection to the main characters almost always kills a book for me....

    Nice review, Jenny! :)

  9. The cover of this one screams MG to me, and that's why I hadn't bothered to read what's about, but now that I didn't, it does sound like a cute, light read.

    In our high school group, we had a meddler, and though her intentions were often in the right place, she could get a little out of hand at times, so I'm sure I'd have no problem understanding Lita POV.

  10. Haha, this one probably isn't for me, but it does sound cute. Thanks for the review! :)

  11. Thanks for the honest review, though I doubt I would have read it based on the topic. The words in your review that caught my attention were drama, misunderstanding, superficial and not wanting to wade more than ankle deep into the story. I am sure it is cute ans funny though ;)

  12. Lea - That's exactly what it was. It wasn't that I was completely disconnected from the characters, they're just not the type to really stick with you:)

    Missie - It does look MG but it's definitely YA:) Lita has good intentions (most of the time), but I've never seen someone quite that interested in what was going on with everyone else, she was fascinating:)

    Lauren - It was cute. Just a nice, light read:)

    Heidi - I love books that feature miscommunications and misuderstandings, I just think they're so easy to relate to, especially in young adult setting:)

  13. This book sounds like a nice, fun read but the characters are a real bummer! I haven't heard much about it but it has a cute concept! I might borrow it from the library for the drama. Great review!


  14. I've been waiting to see a review on this one, male authors always get my attention, especially for contemporary. It sounds like an interesting read but yet I don't feel real strongly compelled to read it. We'll see, I may pick it up from the library one day.

  15. Nothing wrong with briefly escaping! This sounds cute and fun...kind of like a chick flick!

  16. I'm not sure this one is for me, but I could think of others who like a contemp YA that would love a light read like this one. I am almost swayed by the mention of humor... ;D

  17. I love the cover and always asked this questions. I think this book might just be for me! Loved the review Jenny!

  18. I've never heard of this book but it does sound fun. Hey, I read Anna and the French Kiss and loved it! I'm slowly working through your recommendations. ;)

  19. Jaskirat - It is a cute concept, and the characters are fine, they just don't leap off the page you know?

    Candace - Loved the humor in it, and I read it all in one sitting so it was enjoyable. It'd be a good library read:)

    Pam - So true. I definitely need that sometimes:)

    Melissa - It had plenty of really funny moments, Adam was just oblivious to the goings on around him. I just had to laugh at him:)

    Savy - I think you'd like it, and at the speed you read, you'll be done in just a couple hours.

    Jennifer - It was fun. Not one to write home about but plenty entertaining:) So glad you loved ANNA! She and Etienne just make me happy:)

  20. I do like to escape into the familiar and the light. Makes me happy that everyone is happy :)

  21. I always love just all around fun books, so I think that I am going to have to consider this book the next time I feel dragged down by dystopians or the likes of! Thanks for the great review Jenny! ;)

  22. I always love a good sense of humor, be it in a book or person. This sounds like a fun book! I'll have to remember it when I need a laugh.


  23. This sounds like a cute little read! :) I love books that are great reality escapes. :) Thanks for the review!

  24. There's always a place for a cute read like that, especially after taking on some heavier subjects in other books. Glad that this one is cute and amusing. =)

  25. Thanks for the honest review. While the blurb is cute, neither of these characters really appeal to me as a writer and I can see how they'd come off superficially on the page. Plus, I really hated the show Seinfeld, specifically for the unlikeable characters and lack of plot. So I think I might skip this one for now.


  26. Great review, Jenny. It's always nice to read something less intense and more relatable. This definitely sounds like a cute book to sit back with and enjoy the humor. Thanks for drawing my attention to the book! I hadn't heard of it before until now. :)

    Sam @ Realm of Ficton

  27. This sounds like a great book if you're just looking for something cute and fun. It's too bad though the connection with the characters isn't that strong.

  28. It does sound light and enjoyable! I might have to take a note of this one, I have a feeling I might soon need a light read after the heartbreaking and intense Everneath, Bloodrose and I'm now finishing up Clockwork Prince, I hear is quite heartbreaking as well. o: Great review!