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This Is My Brain on Boys

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Addie Emerson doesn’t believe in love. Not for herself, anyway. With one year left of high school, she’s more interested in snagging a full scholarship to Harvard than a full-time boyfriend.

That doesn’t mean she’s oblivious to the ways of the heart. Or, rather, the head. Because after months of research, Addie has discovered how to make anyone fall in love. All you need is the secret formula.

But will her discovery be enough to win the coveted Athenian Award and all its perks? (See above, full scholarship to Harvard.) Or will she be undone by Dexter, her backstabbing lab partner, who is determined to deep-six her experiments at their exclusive private school?

Those are the least of her problems now that she’s survived a death-defying flight with a mysterious, dark-haired boy, who has delicious chocolate-brown eyes and a few secrets of his own.

With an experiment to mastermind, an infatuated exchange student on her hands, and at least one great white shark (more on that later), can Addie’s prefrontal cortex outwit her heart? Or will she have to give in to her amygdala and find out, once and for all, if this thing called love is more than just her brain on drugs?

342 pages, Hardcover

First published May 10, 2016

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About the author

Sarah Strohmeyer

27 books1,164 followers
Sarah Strohmeyer is the award-winning, nationally bestselling author of 18 novels for young adults and adults, including the Bubbles Yablonsky mystery series, SMART GIRLS GET WHAT THEY WANT and THE CINDERELLA PACT, which became the Lifetime Movie, LYING TO BE PERFECT.
Her first mystery, BUBBLES UNBOUND, won the Agatha Award and Romantic TImes Award for Best First Mystery. THE SLEEPING BEAUTY PROPOSAL was nominated for a prestigious RITA™. Her books have been translated into German, French, Italian, Turkish, Taiwanese and a bunch of others.
BUBBLES REBOOTS - #7 in the Bubbles Yablonsky mystery series - will be published June 26th in Kindle, Nook and Kobo (pre-order now!) It is an homage to her dearly departed high-school friend, Josh Simon. So 10% of the profits will go to organizations he approved: The Cancer Research Institute & Planned Parenthood.

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5 stars
286 (19%)
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438 (29%)
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523 (35%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 286 reviews
Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,728 reviews1,279 followers
March 24, 2016
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

“Neural pathways,” he heard himself say in sudden clarity. “I laid down new ones in Nepal and wasn’t prepared to deal with the implications.”

This was a YA contemporary story, with a bit of science.

Addie was really dedicated to her work in this book, and took her experiments really seriously. She really did come across as quite a smart girl, and I liked her theories about love.

The storyline in this was about Addie doing an experiment which had to do with people falling in love during high risk situations, which she tried to recreate. We also got a storyline about animal testing and how wrong it was as well. I thought the idea of the story was pretty good, but the pace was a bit slow, and there wasn’t enough romance for me.

The ending to this was okay, but again, I’d have liked a bit more romance.

6 out of 10
Profile Image for Sophia.
270 reviews2,036 followers
March 22, 2016
3.5 stars

i've adored sarah strohmeyer ever since i read smart girls get what they want and i was quite excited to see this up on edelweiss. i downloaded it, read it in two days, and really enjoyed it. it's exactly what i was expecting--cute, charming, funny, and very fun. the book was admittedly very predictable and addie's character bordered on grating with her style of speech, but overall, i thought this book was such a fun read.
Profile Image for Kim at Divergent Gryffindor.
470 reviews131 followers
May 13, 2016
This Is My Brain on Boys is an unusual book in that the manner in which the main character speaks reminds me of Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory, and I'm not sure if that works for written novels.

What I didn't like:
1. The three robots: There are 3 people in this book who speak like Sheldon - Addie, Dex and Mrs. Brooks. I mean, I think it would have been understandable if Addie was the only one who was like that, but no, there are three of them. That made it unrealistic.

2. Tess and Addie's friendship is pretty weird: I think I would have liked it if there was an explanation as to how these two became friends because I don't think it's realistic. Addie is Addie, while Tess is more of the popular girl kind - wears makeup, worries about her boyfriend, etc.

3. Kara and Kris' relationship: Kris is a jerk because he went on kissing another girl while he is still in a relationship with Kara. Granted, Kara is a bitch and threatened him with whatever, but he still should have broken up with her nonetheless.

4. The ending: What is up with the ending? I expected some kind of reaction with Kris, but there wasn't any explanation in the end. The ending felt like a nice close to the book, but I am not satisfied with it.

What I Liked:
1. The experiment: The experiment is very interesting for me, and I liked it because we discussed a similar concept in my Social Psychology class last term. I like the fact that the author didn't just invent something up, but chose something that actually has basis. Being subject to scary situation indeed increases our heart beat and we tend to associated this to attraction.

2. It's an entertaining novel: Despite the fact that I didn't like many aspects from this novel, I have this strange fascination with it. I didn't just want to leave the novel as a DNF because I felt this need to finish it.
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,711 reviews704 followers
May 7, 2016
The synopsis of this sounded perfect to me and I was eager to get to reading it.

Addie is a lot of fun, but in an unintentional way. I couldn't stop cackling at how she took everything so literally. I loved how Kris and BFF Tess so quickly became fluent in Addie-speak.

The experiments were interesting enough and while the science was definitely there, it wasn't too science-y. I liked how things evolved at the end and the last couple of chapters were awesome.

I would have loved just a bit more at the end {mostly more kissing}, but the epilogue was fantastic. Overall, a quick and fun read. I'll probably be reading this one again.

**Huge thanks to Balzer + Bray and Edelweiss for providing the arc in exchange for an honest review**
Profile Image for Debby.
583 reviews540 followers
April 18, 2021
1 star

My fond memories of Sarah Strohmeyer's Smart Girls Get What They Want were immediately evoked when I heard her newest title: This Is My Brain on Boys. Nerdy cute contemporaries are my jam, you might say. But whereas her debut novel was charming, fun, and practically perfect, this book was... not. Uh oh.

The premise of this book sure was a promising one. You have a main character who doesn't believe in love. She wants to research the biological aspect of it though, with a theory that any two people can fall in love if they're put into high risk, high stress situations. Heck, she basically tried it out on her best friend and it worked. Now she wants to replicate it to build her case and win the Athenian Award. Throw in herself falling in love along the way, and this book could have been perfect.

Here's the thing if you're writing a book about nerdy characters: they can rather understandably come off as a bit sheltered and naive because of a lack of "real world" knowledge and experiences. Not always. But it's a risk you take. Especially when the story is about them being exposed to new situations outside of their books. But that inexperience and naivety can work against you. In the case of Addie, at first it was charming and pretty relatable in a nostalgic way... and then it continued... and her voice began to sound younger and dumber.

Part of that certainly is because of the romance though. You know. You know from page one that they're into each other - not only because they're the main characters. But she's so naive about it. She's naive about her own feelings and his for the large majority of the book, even when other people spell it out for her and pretty much just assume they're a couple and everything. Then she's still like, "Oh, I dunno...." This does not really fit with a smart girl. A smart girl, even a book-smart "doesn't get the real world" type girl, would have figured it out earlier. It started cute and became utterly ridiculous.

But the science, after its fun and quirky introduction, also quickly went downhill. The experiment she does, involving one girl and two guys (one being Kris, Addie's love interest), has a control love interest and an experimental love interest. The latter (Kris) and the girl get thrust into adrenaline-filled activities. But this experiment has SO MANY FLAWS I could get intensely nerdy explaining all of them to you. First off, there's no way to really account for inherent attraction/repulsion. Addie cannot control the subjects from meeting outside of their experiments, which they obviously would do as they go to the same school. Addie starts getting involved herself when the girl gets too chicken to participate in some of the activities. And obviously she and Kris are attracted to each other from the get go. And after ALL OF THAT, her experiment rightly gets called into question and she still goes on with it, convinced she can prove her theory.

Fuck. That.

You're supposed to be fucking smart. What even is this. Any reasonable scientist would want to shoot themselves over the flaws in this experiment - and she certainly "seemed" to be that much into science. She practically sounded like a teenage female Sheldon Cooper at the beginning of the book. Sheldon Cooper would die before ever attempting any of this.

You know, my original rating for this one was quite a bit higher. But this has turned out to be one of those books where, the longer you think about it, the more angry you get. This book just isn't right. There were a few cute scenes and humorous bits of dialogue at the start, but it all went downhill from there. Ugh. Why, book? You could have been so much more. :(

Summing Up:

I am so upset right now. This Is My Brain on Boys has an A+ title and a concept that absolutely should have worked for me. But it didn't. The main character was simultaneously a genius and a fucking idiot. The romance was kind of cute at first, but then it dragged on and on and I stopped caring. But the science. If you're going to have science be such a focal point of your story, you can't fuck around this much with the scientific method. In the name of the world's smart girls, I'm insulted.

GIF it to me straight!

*An electronic advance review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the contents of the review.
Profile Image for zainab.
268 reviews149 followers
November 14, 2016
Addie is a neuroscience nerd who is conducting an experiment on people falling in love. However, she has no plans of falling in love herself because she wants to get a full scholarship to Harvard and not a boyfriend. But, then she meets this guy on a plane and he’s “tall, dark and handsome” and both are obviously attracted to each other. But, the attractive guy has secrets that might not be well-loved by Addie.

Addie is a fun character. She makes jokes even without realizing that she’s joking. She also makes a lot of scientific observation and neuroscience stuff that flew right over my head.

The book was really cute and I enjoyed it a lot even though all the science observations weren’t too kind to me (ashamed to say this because I’m a lover of science) but there were some things that bothered me a lot. So let’s get to that part:

* The book was slow-paced and happened over a period of 7 days (i.e a week) but it felt more like a month. It was so detailed and so much happened over a week.
* The ending – Am I still confused? Definitely. I wish the author explained the ending more.
And why wasn’t Kris affected by that revelation?
* Some characters felt too unreal and alien-ish like Dexter. I HATE HIM!! He was more like a robot than a normal human being.
* Kris (the attractive guy) not telling Kara (his girlfriend) that their relationship is over while also flirting with Addie. I mean, whaaaaat??!

All in all, the book was a cute and light read and I enjoyed it a lot.
Profile Image for Mel (Daily Prophecy).
1,082 reviews465 followers
May 8, 2016
1.5 stars.

It went from: OH this is really fun and I love Addie! Girls as scientists are my thing! She is such a smart cookie and I love her experiment.

But soon she was a little too serious for my taste. She was a bit like Sheldon in that way and it did not work on the paper for me. Like the scene where someone told her someone 'fell from the face of the earth' and she tells him without blinking that 'the earth does not have a face.'

No shit, Sherlock.

I also did not appreciate how Kris treated his (ex)-girlfriend Kara. He should have stepped it up and simply told her it was over. Instead, he keeps dragging it around and while I did not like the girl at all, I could understood her accusation.

The whole experiment was lots of fun and I liked Addie's spark with Kris, but things could have been more polished to make this work better for me.

Review to come.
Profile Image for Kylie.
39 reviews1 follower
February 7, 2017
You want cotton candy? This is your book. Pure beautiful fluffy sugar. Super cutesy and adorable, as well as really easy to read. Exactly what I was in the mood for; light and fun.
33 reviews
June 5, 2023
Remember reading this in highschool. I almost didn't finish because the miscommunication conversations stressed me out so much. It also was very much "I'm not like other girls" energy. Main character was annoying and a bad person.
Profile Image for Joy (joyous reads).
1,468 reviews291 followers
July 12, 2016
Socially awkward brainiacs has a special place in my heart. I feel a certain inexplicable kinship towards them that is in protective almost. I admire the way they see life without the emotional hang-ups that muddle it all. It’s in the way they can compartmentalize and explain their feelings with utter practicality. They’re walking encyclopedias full of knowledge about anything and everything, but completely useless when it comes to relationships and social interactions. I knew I had to read this book in part because it had undertones of Jane Austen’s Emma. And with a character who thinks and speaks like The Rosie Project’s Don Tillman, I was more than willing to clear my nightstand of other books in favor of This is My Brain on Boys.


Addie has a scientific answer for everything. All human emotions and reactions can be rationalized through the body’s biological and chemical make-ups. She has a tendency to sound like a robot, but her sensible view on life is what makes her unintentionally funny. If Don Tillman had a daughter, Addie would’ve been it. She is infinitely fascinated with the human brain and the way it functions. She’s able to quantify falling in and out of love as a result of a chemical being produced and expelled through one of life’s irrational experience. In some ways, she’s a teen but she’s only able to slowly embrace it through daily interactions with her little circle of friends. She has no illusions regarding her physical attributes and sees herself as the world sees her. I couldn’t help but feel protective of her in as much as Tess, her best friend, likes to make sure no one can mess with her. She’s like a daughter I want to coddle all the time because she’s kind of vulnerable. But given the time to think things through, she finds her way out of bad situations. She’s funny but she doesn’t aim to be. She just is.

Trauma = Love

People have been known to develop a closeness through a shared traumatic experience. But what if Science can prove that two subjects can fall in love with another if they were involved in a dangerous situation? This is what she aimed to prove in her entry for an award that will grant her a scholarship. The Emma twist in this story is that she falls in love with her subject. However, she didn’t know that he was partly responsible for the vandalism that happened in her lab.

Kris is a boy about the world, animal rights activist and an all around good guy. He’s about to serve his sentence for vandalizing Addie’s lab. Besides helping out as a groundskeeper, Kris’ punishment was to enlist in a Science experiment. I love that we see both Kris’ and Addie’s perspective. We see their motivations and their own insecurities. Kris is a conscientious boy whose heart was in the right place. Unfortunately, he got involved with the wrong crowd. Their quasi-romance was sweet; almost non-existent but you see how much they like each other through musings and observations.

In Retrospect

Most have bemoaned the fact that Addie talks like Sheldon. But come on, who doesn’t adore Sheldon? She’s very serious in her conviction which I find wholly admirable. This book is funny and sweet; smart and heartfelt. I couldn’t ask for a more awkward brainiac than in Addie.
Profile Image for Nasty Lady MJ.
1,059 reviews16 followers
June 22, 2016
To see review with Shelly gifs click here.

Recently YA authors have been fond of the Sheldon Cooper trope which is to have the mostly socially awkward protagonist possible and then hit them with the teenage love stick and bam the lose 100 IQ points and turn into Bella Swan or any other stupid YA protagonist.

Such is the case with This is My Brain on Boys. I’ve heard lots of great things about Sarah Strohmeyer’s YA books, though personally I’ve always been a bit lukewarm to them or the one I read. Which is sad because I really liked her adult series with Bubbles the hairdresser that solves mysteries—ridiculously hilarious and addictive.

I wasn’t a huge fan of this one as you can see by the first paragraph. In fact, I quit the book at page 150. Like I said Addie had Sheldon Syndrome and the plot was a bit silly and stupid. In a weird way, it reminded me of those Doris Day films in the 1960’s that my mom always made my sister and I watch. I loved those movies while kooky and cheesy they were charming, this book just has the kooky and cheesy part done and lacks in the charm. So, the overall effect is just weird and cringe worthy.

I really was hoping to solider on though, all kidding aside but I couldn’t. Again I DNF’d a Strohmeyer YA book and I sort of hate myself for it. But I just can’t stand cringe worthy books these days. Addie acts like she has the emotional IQ of an eight-year-old, yet she has all these friends and the teachers let her do her stupid experiment during the summer which really doesn’t make sense and—well, I was sort of done at that point.

I think one of the reasons the Sheldon personality type works so well on the original character is that he’s a television character so the audience isn’t stuck into his rigid POV ALL the stinking time. With Addie, her POV and her love interest—who really doesn’t make sense as a love interest, it would be like Penny getting with Sheldon—POV the book is stifling and I just wanted to shake Addie so freaking much.

I couldn’t believe that the school would allow such a stupid experiment and animal abuse—yes, they claim it’s not abuse that they’re not physically hurting small animals but even scaring them is abuse. Especially for an experiment that isn’t going to save anyone’s lives or really have any long term value other than being a way to get people to hook up.

I just can’t.

While the cover to this one said “Buy me, MJ” I should’ve listed to my gut. While I might love some of this author’s adult books her YA books and I don’t mix.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
1,847 reviews
May 10, 2016
3.5/5 stars

This Is My Brain on Boys is a standalone YA contemporary romance.

It is told in the third person and there are alternating narrators, Adelaide/Addie and Kris.

Addie is a socially awkward brainiac who goes to boarding school in Boston. She is a high school senior. The book starts with her on a plane going back to school.

Kris goes to the same boarding school but he got into some trouble earlier in the year. So he is having to make amends.

The main premise of the book has to do with a science experiment that Addie and her lab partner Dexter are conducting. It has to do with making people fall in love. Addie is trying to get a scholarship to Harvard. She wants to win the Athenian Award (it is for high school seniors who want to pursue a career in neuroscience).

It is summer so there are no classes for most of the kids. But we have Addie working in the lab and exchange students visiting the school. As well there are a few students taking summer classes.

The book is light and funny. It is an enjoyable story and it held my interest.

I was quite liking this story in the beginning. But I did get a bit restless part way through. At first it was funny that Addie was so devoid of common sense. She is basically Amelia Bedelia, someone who takes every single sentence completely literally. I get that she is a super smart. But by the end of the book it became almost ridiculous to think that a teen could be so dense.

But I did actually really like the ending and how everything came together. So when I finished the book it left me with a good feeling.

Overall, this book was mostly enjoyable. I really liked the science aspect of the story. It was interesting to see such smart high school students. However, it really felt to me like these kids were a bit older than they were portraying (17 but it felt like they were at least 20). Addie and Dexter were conducting experiments that you would not expect from high school students. Also their intelligence was quite astonishing. I did like how smart they were. And I liked that Addie was trying to conduct an experiment so that she could get a scholarship. But the way that she did not understand anything that her peers were saying started to drive me crazy.

Thanks to edelweiss and Balzer + Bray for allowing me to read this book.

Profile Image for Jacqueline Barber.
68 reviews6 followers
March 28, 2019
I have feelings about this book and I can't really tell if they are good or bad. There is just a lot to touch on with this one. I gave it three stars cause overall I like it and can recommend it to others, but there are things that I do dislike about it. Adelaide Emerson is a rising scientific star with a heavy interest in Neuroscience at Academy 355. Her and her genius lab partner, Dexter, have concocted a experiment that under the right conditions and stimuli they can trick anybody into falling in love; which they have nicked named B.A.D.A.S.S. The experiment is Addie's key to winning the coveted Athenian Award and her ticket to a full ride scholarship to her dream school of Harvard. There is only one problem: Her lab partner is a backstabbing jerk and she is falling for one of her "guinea pigs" which is definitely against the scientific method. WARNING: Because of the fact that one of the things I dislike about the book is hard to describe without spoiling things THERE ARE SPOILERS PAST THIS POINT (although if your anything like me you would catch onto what I am going to spoil fairly early on in the story). Addie is an interesting character to say the least. She is very logical and scientific in how she acts and speaks. Shes all about efficiency and research. She comes across as a bit robotic and to smart for her own good. Addie almost fits into the "Robotic Science Genius" stereotype (think Sheldon Cooper of Dexter form Dexter's Laboratory), but she's a bit too "human" she feels more and shes not quite as condescending as the stereotype usually requires. She defiantly has feelings, specifically romantic ones, which makes her kinda relatable to the reader but not quite. Then there is Dexter (who is easily one of the most dislikable characters like ever). He fits the "Evil Genius" stereotype to a T. He's narcissistic, sociopathic at best and psychopathic at worst, a total Mama's boy, and has a superiority complex the size of Russia. The relationship he had with Addie is one of the two very toxic and abusive relationships with in the story. He treats her as inferior to him because presumable he has a higher IQ though it is never stated that he actually does. He is constantly criticizing her at every turn for the very things that make her human and therefore more relatable to the reader and he throws her under the bus and betrays her the first chance he gets. Addie soon realizes Dexter's conniving ways, but even after she realizes what a snake he is she still seems to care for him and she also compares him to Kris (the love interest) fairly often. For instance after he has turned the faculty against her project that they were working on together in favor of his solo project that he had been working on behind her back; his experiment was tampered with and he ended up getting a small (and I mean small) electrical shock and when he told her she immediately looked at it and felt sympathy for him (I however felt he greatly deserved it). Kris Condor is the love interest for Addie which is interesting, but I also like it. They are kind if an odd couple. While she is genius level smart and full of "nerdy quirks", Kris is more emotional and compassionate and while he is very intelligent not nearly to Addie's level. They are little bit of yin and yang, but not quite total opposites. Kris and Addie are seated next to each other on the plane on their way back to the Academy. Kris is going back to atone for past sins and spend the summer working in the Buildings and Grounds department. During one particularly bad bout of turbulence Addie uses her logical thinking to calm Kris down. The sins that Kris is sacrificing his summer to pay for and hopefully redeem himself are that him, his manipulative girlfriend Kara (the second and most toxic of the relationships mentioned), and his friend Mack destroyed the lab and targeted Addie. A fact that Addie only came to know after they met on the plane, but her two closest friends knew immediately. Before I dive into the plot points I disliked I want to talk about Kara ans Kris's relationship. Like Dexter, Kara is a narcissist and very manipulative. She enjoys manipulating others and especially Kris. Kris constantly comments on the fact that she texts and calls him excessively throughout the day and when he doesn't reply or answer she threatens his job and to come see him even though he has made it clear that he doesn't wish to see her. He also mentions that he has tried on several occasions to break up with her which troughs her into a rage. Even though it is never outright said in the story that she threatens to commit suicide it is most defiantly implied. Shes emotionally manipulative and had very little regard to how she treats the people around her. Unlike Dexter and Kara, I love the two remaining supporting characters that are important to the plot, Tess and Ed. Tess and Ed were the first experiment Addie did to prove that B.A.D.A.S.S. worked. Tess is Addie's best friend and the true yin to Addie's yang. She is very sociable, talkative and empathetic. She is constantly reminding Addie how to work around others emotions. Honestly I think it is Tess's influence on Addie that helps her be more emotional and relatable. I also really like Ed's relationship with Addie. He treats her as a kid sister and she views him as a close friend. On multiple occasions throughout the story Addie turns to Ed for help and advice. Tess and Ed also seem to have a fairly healthy relationship with the normal communication misunderstandings, which is nice in comparison to the two very toxic portrayal of relationships.Okay now for the thing I really did not like: the ending. This does not end with a nice clean happy ending like most stand alone contemporary novels. No, this one leaves you asking questions. Did she end up with Kris? What does he think about her basically manipulating him? What happened to Dexter? Does he get his just desserts? Really I want to know. So in a *gasp* shocking turn of event Addie has been using her experiment to get Kris to fall for her. Honestly I guessed that this was the case around the time of the "shark attack" I mean she seems very unconcerned with Dexter's accusations and when by all appearances her experiment is falling apart she didn't seem as upset as she should have been. I found this to be pretty manipulative on Addie's part and it made the whole thing feel pretty forced. Another thing I did not like is that the book touched on bullying, which is a subject that should be talked about, but they did it a way that felt very shallow and didn't entirely make since to the plot. So the entire reason that Kris is there is because Kara got it into her head that Addie and Dexter were torturing the lad animals, which they weren't, and Kris, Kara, and Mack decided to go to the lab and set them free. Only Kara and Mack decided to spray paint mean things on the wall and destroy property. Kris confessed to everything and was even caught trying to cover the spray paint hence why he got the second chance. Only problem is that its mentioned that not only was Addie specifically targeted, but also there was ongoing confrontations between Kara, Tess (who was standing up for Addie) and Addie her self. It is not however discussed on why they only targeted Addie or why Kara decided to pick on her. I also find it hard to believe that Kris and Addie would not have know each other before hand. It is obvious that the Academy is not a large school and Kara, who was Kris girlfriend at the time, has such a hatred for Addie it would be logical that they would know each other. All in all it was a pretty okay book. I don't think I would read it again, but I'm not upset that I read it. It was a pretty good contemporary read and I did find myself wanting to finish and not forcing myself to finish it.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Yasmin Halliwell Fraser Bower.
505 reviews66 followers
June 2, 2016
I read this book in a day.. and I have weird feelings. This book was so not what I was expecting. I wanted a cute girly read and I got the Manipulation guide. I think it's not cool how it established at the end that revenge can get you good things. What kind of message is that? Manipulate, lie and pretend and everything will be okay? That’s why the ending was really flat for me.

This story basically follows Addie, a pretty logical and rational girl, which is doing an experiment to get into college. In that proyect, she works with Kris, a cute guy which whom she has a tight past. No spoilers, but it wasn't even that bad. This book seemed really superficial to me.

I liked that Addie, for me, sort of have Aspenger syndrome of something like that. Seeing her interact with others and not follow conversations was pretty interesting and insightful because there are so many Made-Phrases or clichés that we give for granted, so having them exposed was funny and informative. But I believe she has that dissease, it's not really that clear. Addie comes across like a sweet, innocent girl, but she's kind of a sociopath... Yeah, the experiments had good resuts, but COME ON. It's like Dostoevsky killing someone in orther to write a book: Do the end really justifies the means? I don't think so. I think that a different ending would have turned the book a 180°.

Leaving the experiment aside, I don't get why Kris and Addie would fall. Seriously, what do they see in each other? The relationship was a bit shallow for me. The characters needed more work.
The only thing that was pretty great was the neuro science facts, the main reason why this book has 2 stars and not one. Learning new things is always cool.
Profile Image for Christine Alibutud.
497 reviews84 followers
May 31, 2016
To say that this book was so full of intellectual science knowledge and factoids is definitely putting it lightly.

I am by no means a science expert—heck, it was my weakest subject during grade school & high school—so it was safe to personally assume that I wouldn't enjoy this as much as I'd like to BUT that wasn't the case. I can't believe that I liked it. So much.

The book, although full of unique humor, had a sort of semi-serious vibe to it. Also, it had a major incorporation of science stuff that I'd gladly admit I didn't understand. However, I enjoyed This Is My Brain on Boys immensely. I don't know why, maybe it's because it came across as a fun book full of socially-relevant activists and intellectual scientists or maybe it's because it's a hybrid of a light read and a textbook or maybe it's because I loved Kris Condos or maybe it's because Addie is the girl version of Sheldon from Big bang or maybe because I just loved this book because why not? Period.

4.5 stars for this Sarah Strohmeyer book!
Profile Image for Jennifer.
1,621 reviews54 followers
July 17, 2016
Strohmeyer, who gave the world the charmingly fun Smart Girls Get What They Want, goes back to the same well of nerdy girl-power for This Is My Brain on Boys, in which geek genius Addie Emerson turns love into a science experiment, with semi-predictable results.

Addie, who can be read as coded autistic if you want to, has her heart set on Harvard and a career in neuroscience, but her only hope of being able to afford it is to win the Athenian Award and its full-scholarship prize. To win she'll need to replicate the results of her initial experiment showing that love can be induced through exposure to trauma, which honestly she should be able to establish just through a thorough reading down the romance aisle of her local bookstore, but whatever. Enter Kris, who's smart and cute and may be the perfect subject, if only Addie can keep their relationship strictly scientific.

Strohmeyer's Brain is smart and full of quirky fun, and sports an ending that's not quite what you expect. In fact, your mileage may vary as regards the conclusion - while I enjoyed that it kept Addie large and in charge rather than painting her the victim, it also smacked of massive emotional manipulation on her end, not to mention a rather loose interpretation of the scientific method. But if you're not into really deep-dives on the thematic implications of your teen fiction, Brain offers up light, fluffy fun with a side of smart-girl power that's hard to resist.
Profile Image for Daphne M..
53 reviews45 followers
June 18, 2016
This book was so sweet, and I honestly never saw the plot twist at the end coming! This book was funny and smart! I loved it!
Profile Image for Janelle.
38 reviews1 follower
May 14, 2020
Reading this book is like looking at life and love through the lenses of Amy Farrah Fowler from the TV show, The Big Bang Theory. I enjoyed this book far more than I anticipated. Usually, I ruin a book by accurately predicting the story line, but was unable to do so with This Is My Brain On Boys. As an added bonus, I learned so many interesting scientific facts from the protagonist, Addie Emerson.
Profile Image for Kobi.
152 reviews16 followers
July 7, 2017
I liked the premise of this novel. An insanely smart girl completing a complicated science project involving male and female responses to stimuli. I did have a difficult time reading at points as I felt the narrator wasn't consistent. Overall I liked the book and the romance in it too.
Profile Image for Christina (A Reader of Fictions).
4,230 reviews1,652 followers
July 21, 2016
1.5 stars

I enjoyed the opening of This Is My Brain on Boys, but it took a severe plunge once I got about 70 pages in. Unfortunately, I was far enough in that I didn’t want to DNF. This Is My Brain on Boys is inconsistent and insult to “science. The premise sounded so promising (premising?), with a scientific genius heroine running an experiment on love and falling in love in the process. Unfortunately, it’s just not done well.

Let’s start with Addie. She’s clearly somewhere on the Autistic spectrum, though I’m not knowledgeable enough to say more than that. While highly intelligent, she takes everything completely literally, struggling with irony and phrases, as well as small talk. That, I liked pretty well. I’d be curious to know what that community would think about her perspective, but, as a pretty literal person myself, I liked the voice in the beginning.

Except that it was completely inconsistent. Addie would fail to recognize common expressions, though, even in the text, it’s shown that she does have the capability to memorize them and what they mean. The fact that there are so many very common expressions she fails to recognize in This Is My Brain on Boys makes her come off as much less intelligent than she’s meant to. Also, Addie occasionally completely fails to take things literally, completely against her characterization. She refers to her lab partner as a “robot” and describes a shade of pink as “fairy-vomit” pink, for example, even though she would have corrected someone else had they done this because neither of those things is actually true. Most egregiously, Addie references Romeo and Juliet and, well, just see:

Addie wished she could have studied the real Romeo and Juliet in the flesh. Too bad they didn’t cryogenically store blood samples in Verona back in the day. Because how awesome would it be to centrifuge their neurohormone levels, eh?

ROMEO AND JULIET ARE FUCKING FICTIONAL CHARACTERS. WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK? Strohmeyer aims for a Sheldon Cooper sort of voice, and it falls flat. Addie knows a lot more than just science stuff, and she would sure as hell know that Romeo and Juliet was not one of Shakespeare’s histories.

On top of that, the voice completely changes whenever Addie’s feeling things. I mean, sure, feelings will result in some illogic, but there are sentences that feel zero percent like the rest of that POV.

That first sentence is what Addie generally reads like, a scientific analysis of the impact her emotions are having on her physically, even mid-swoon. Then all of a sudden she sounds like a twelve-year-old describing some actor she has a crush on as she reads an article about him in Seventeen. Meanwhile, Kris’ POV might as well just not be there because it’s so bland.

Then there’s Addie’s experiment which is such bad science that even I can tell. She’s trying to prove that people will fall in love if they are thrust together in stressful situations so that she can win a neuroscience award. Her proofs involve: one untraumatized pair of gerbils that didn’t mate and one traumatized pair of gerbils that did mate, as well as her best friends she set up and one study where she intrudes on the experiment. This shoddy science bothers me because 1) she’s supposed to be a genius and 2) her teachers totally go with it! We are supposed to be impressed by the science acumen displayed here and just no.

The romance started out pretty cute in the airplane scene, but then a whole bunch of terrible background is added. Kris, it turns out, has a girlfriend, who is a manipulative bitch, of course. Even though he already dislikes her at the start of the novel, he doesn’t actually dump her until the very end. By it’s very premise, This Is My Brain on Boys is trying to sell me on the fact that Addie and Kris are in love, but he doesn’t care enough about Addie to dump his girlfriend that he doesn’t even want to date anymore? Um yeah no.

Given how much I loved Smart Girls Get What They Want, This is My Brain on Boys disappointed me monstrously. Don’t read it unless you don’t mind cheating or shockingly terrible science.
Profile Image for Andrea at Reading Lark.
950 reviews81 followers
April 11, 2016
*3.5 Rating
Review Posted on Reading Lark 4/11/16: http://readinglark.blogspot.com/2016/...

Addie Emerson is a teen genius who is obsessed with the brain. She spends her days reading neuroscience journal articles and focusing on her experiment. Addie strongly believes that she can force people to fall in love by putting them into dangerous situations. Her first successful matchmaking scheme brought together her best friend, Tess, and Ed, a guy who had been pining for her, but had been largely ignored. Addie is attempting to recreate her results with new subjects in order to compete for a prestigious scholarship that will make her shoo in for Harvard acceptance.

On her way back to her prestigious boarding school, Addie meets Kris during a particularly scary flight full of turbulence and a cabin fire. Addie feels an instant attraction to Kris, but she convinces herself it's all due to the adrenaline coursing through her veins due to the flight. She soon learns that Kris attends the same school as her, but she can't quite place why she knows him. Once the pair ends up on the ground, Addie invites Kris to tag along with her back to campus. Tess and Ed are less than thrilled to see Kris as they know that he was involved in the lab vandalism last school year. The vandalism felt like a personal attack against Addie and her lab partner, Dexter. Tess fears how Addie will react once she figures out Kris' identity.

Addie and Kris form a fragile truce as he becomes one of her test subjects in her experiment. As the two are around one another more and more, their relationship evolves.

I did find that Addie was hard to like at times. She was so smart and literal that there were moments when she was off-putting. In many ways, Addie is socially awkward which makes it difficult to connect with her. I also had moments where I felt inadequate because Addie's science jargon went right over my head. I glazed over when she got into specifics about her experiment and neuroscience. Her relationships with Tess, Ed, and Kris make her seem more relatable.

Overall, this is a sweet, cute contemporary that is full of the typical charm I expect from a Strohmeyer novel. I can't read her stuff without a smile. While this one isn't my favorite Strohmeyer novel (that honor is still held by Smart Girls Get What They Want), I did enjoy it and would recommend it to those who enjoy a clean, sweet summery romance. The blurb relates this one to Jane Austen's Emma, which I think is spot on now that I have finished it. Although, I don't think Emma used science to help in her matchmaking skills.

One Last Gripe: I was frustrated by the relationship between Addie and Dexter.

Favorite Things About This Book: The strong friendships and the humor

First Sentence: It is an accepted scientific fact that the brain of the average adolescent male thinks about girls every seven heartbeats.

Favorite Character: Tess

Least Favorite Character: Kara
Profile Image for mykie♈.
79 reviews18 followers
August 23, 2018
3.2/5 stars!

With an average rating of 3.45, I was not expecting a lot from the book. I actually just picked it out of the whim because I was in the mood to read some sappy, teen-age love story. What I didn't expect though, was the fact that the book was entertaining, oddly enough. Some may say otherwise but it was a fun experience for me.

With its hilarious dialogues (that's mostly coming from Addie, our main character) and some gut-busting scenes from the experiment that were used to further divulge the main couple's love for each other as the story progresses, it's a pretty fun book. Not to mention, that ending got me shook. It was a horrible thing to do but understandable.

Now into the exciting part of the review.

First of all, I just want to point out the frequent change of POVs (it was bad enough that it was written in third-person) in the book. It won't be much of a problem as long as the reader knows how to keep up but in my case it just got downright messy (and annoying) and it takes me out of the experience. I didn't feel as if I was with them, it felt like I was just watching them, from afar, in a tower with one window, using a pair of binoculars. I was just reading but I am a reader who wants to feel more than just reading.

Second, Addie's character is inconsistent. Characters should have flaws but it's also important that they have these redeeming factors about them that balances out the negatives and in Addie's case, she is smart but she's really bad at it, on top of that she's also really extremely naive which kind of just makes her stupid. There's just too much of the negative, it empowered her extreme love for knowledge and how she's good with it. A smart person is smart enough to know that a science experiment on love, considering its downsides, is just stupid and impractical. Especially, if you're going to submit that  experiment into some prestigious science convention and Addie, of all people should know that because she's smart. For someone who doesn't believe in love, she's obsessed of finding proof that it doesn't exist which is just ironic when she herself know she's in love with Kris even though she doesn't admit it. I mean, if Addie was not in love with Kris and it was just all a big lie then it sure as hell didn't convince me.


Third, let us delve into the science of the experiment. Why would she even attempt on doing it if she has this bunch of reasons not to? There are major flaws in the experiment that it doesn't take a smart person to point it out but she still think she could prove her theory just because of one incident. And when the experiment started going south and was called out for the right reasons. SHE STILL PERSISTED ON WITH IT SAYING THAT SHE CAN PROVE HER THEORY. EXCUSE ME BUT WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?

Uh no.

To sum it all up, it's a decent and entertaining (it was also nice to learn some neuroscience facts along the way) read even though the whole thing just didn't make any sense but considering its rating I was not disappointed at all since I know what I signed up for.
Profile Image for Laura (midorireads).
369 reviews3 followers
January 25, 2017
If you enjoy the concise - but witty - way that Dr. Temperance Brennan on Bones speaks, then you'll likely enjoy Sarah Strohmeyer's version in Addie Emerson.

In This Is My Brain on Boys, our protagonist is the extremely intelligent (as well as blunt) Addie, and she believes she knows the formula to make people fall in love. After months of drafting her very precise method, she is ready to test it on humans, and has devised an experiment using several of her own classmates as the test subjects. If all goes accordingly, the plan is to submit her findings in the hopes of winning a prestigious award that includes a full scholarship to her dream school, Harvard.

But Addie doesn't count on Kris being the kink in her plans. Kris, the cute boy who not only experienced a death-defying flight with Addie, but also happens to be one of the subjects in her experiment. There's no way Addie can allow her feelings to derail her hopes of getting into college, even if that means losing out on the chance of falling in love...

Honestly, I think the biggest reason I enjoyed this book so much, and Addie's role, is seriously because of my love for the aforementioned tv series, Bones. I love the tongue-in-cheek humor of the show, and I really found This Is My Brain on Boys to be very similar in tones of hilarity. I loved that Addie was so literal, that jokes and pop-culture references usually went over her head, causing her to explain something entirely in its literal, painfully obvious sense. But to me, that's what made her so funny and so endearing.

I really liked Kris, and his part as Addie's "maybe" love interest. He happens to be a bit of a bleeding heart (for the sake of this being spoiler-free, I won't go into detail, so READ THE BOOK!!!), but this just serves to emphasize how much of a caring person he is. He does make mistakes (some bigger than others, but again, this is a spoiler-free zone), but also has the sense to regret it and be apologetic, which I liked about him. Overall, I did like his character.

I'm not sure I've stressed how much I loved this book (or did I?) and its characters, but I really, really did, so I will definitely recommend this if you're looking for a fun, cute romance amidst all the dystopian/fantasy reads that seem to be so prevalent these days. (Not that I'm really complaining, since those tend to be my favorite types of books to read, but hey, sometimes we just need a good contemporary, right?)
Profile Image for Sara.
1,381 reviews65 followers
September 7, 2016
3.5 stars. I feel like I need to note that I read this book in spite of its title, not because of it. I've read other books by this author and assumed this would be just as enjoyable. The plot: Addie is a student determined to win a science competition (and scholarship to Harvard) with her research on how extreme conditions cause people to fall in love. She's extremely detailed, living and breathing science and research methods, and has a hard time relating to others because of this. Over the summer, while she conducts experiments, she has to deal with her best friend's boyfriend drama, a backstabbing lab partner, a mysterious guy acting as her lab rat, and more.

This was a cute and fun book, exactly what I expected from the author! I liked the fact that Addie was different from other heroines, geeky but charming, with just the right balance of awkwardness that made her endearing to read about instead of irritating; it's a hard balance to master, and I've read plenty of other books where the main character drove me crazy because of their awkwardness. Thankfully, Addie was awkward but cute, very eager to prove to others she wasn't just a science geek and that she could be normal (even though she couldn't). I also enjoyed the friends surrounding her, as they weren't scientists and seemed normal, yet they loved Addie for being herself despite their difference. It was a great depiction of friendships!

The plot in here was fun, if a little contrived. I guessed where part of the plot was heading, although that didn't make it any less entertaining. Some of the research parts were odd, and on more than one occasion I had to flip back pages to see if I'd missed something (I hadn't) because I couldn't understand Addie's intentions! The main research subject, Kris, was an interesting character, if a little frustrating at times because of the secrets he was hiding. I wanted to see him grow a little more of a backbone, but he was still cute and a good balance for Addie.

I feel like the end of this book wrapped things up almost too tidy and definitely quickly. I wish it'd been a little more drawn out, and I wish there'd been a slight twist at the very end regarding Addie's research, but it was all pretty straightforward. Cute and entertaining for sure; reading this was a nice way to pass the time. This just didn't quite knock my socks off, although I did like it. I feel like it just needed a little something more to take it to the next level.
Profile Image for Julie Daniels.
177 reviews29 followers
March 20, 2018
the fastest I've read a book in a while. I was unable to put it down and loved every page of it! So witty and heartwarming! A full review will be posted later today!

Full review:

This is just what I needed! I've been in the mood for a great contemporary for a while so I was very excited when I won an ARC of This is my Brain on Boys by Sarah Strohmeyer from a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway! It's the first book I've read by Sarah Strohmeyer and it definitely won't be my last! After reading this I'm eager for more(and more contemporaries).

The story is original and engaging and the characters are funny, intelligent, witty, likable, and real. I could see this book making a threat movie! I loved the main character Addie(Adelaide) Emerson immediately! She was so intelligent and adorably akward! It was such a great change to read about an intelligent girl as opposed to an ass-kicking badass. If you love The Big Bang Theory and Sheldon Cooper you will love this book and the characters! Addie reminded me of Sheldon in so many ways! Kris was such a realistic, down-to-Earth guy. I loved him immediately. I wanted to strangle Dex and Kara though. Tess and Ed were a great addition and such a cute couple. I loved the way the characters interacted with each other. And the storyline was interesting as well. The science involved was an added bonus. I love when I can be entertained and learn a lot as well! This is just such an intelligent and witty book! There was definite character growth on the part of the main character as well as her love interest and some pretty important lessons as well. But it was a very quick and entertaining read. I was unable to put it down and finished faster than I've finished any book in some time. I would recommend this to everyone!

*I won an ARC of this book in a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway*
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