Robby's Reviews > Boys, Girls and Other Hazardous Materials

Boys, Girls and Other Hazardous Materials by Rosalind Wiseman
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's review
Feb 17, 2010

really liked it
Read on February 24, 2010

Mean Girls, when it was released, really affected the world of teenagers. It was an accurate portrayal of teenage girls and boys and the things we do to each other. I was nine years old when Mean Girls came out. What did I know?
I know a lot more now.
When I read that Rosalind Wiseman, the author of the book that Mean Girls was based on, had a new book coming out, I knew I had to read it.
Of course Around The World Tours was already having a tour for it and it was too late to sign up. Somehow, though, I wiggled my name on to the list.
I am so glad I did.
Boys, Girls, and Other Hazardous Materials is about a girl named Charlotte Healey. People call her Charlie. People call her a lot of things.
She transferred schools when she graduated from junior high. She needed to get away from her friends that weren't really her friends and she needed to get away from the world that she'd spent all of middle school in. Charlie just didn't want to be a part of that anymore.
So she transferred to Harmony Falls High School, the other high school in the town Charlie lives in. She transfers and leaves her past behind. All she wants to do is start fresh.
The first day of school she meets Sydney. Then she meets Michael. And then she sees Will.
Will, the boy who she spent her childhood years with, the boy she hasn't seen in years. Now he's back and he's here and she's here and maybe Charlie's past is closer than she thought.
When Charlie goes to the meeting for The Prowler, the school paper, she sees Nidhi. That's when Charlie realizes that she cannot run for her past.
Over the course of the next 280 pages, every issue in high school is covered swiftly and perfectly. In high school, everything is connected and everything is everyone's business. Your secrets are not secrets and nothing stays hidden. Everyone knows everyone even if the only thing you know about somebody is what happened at that party last weekend. Charlie learns this.
There were quite a few storylines in this book. There was Charlie and Nidhi, her friendship/relationship with Will, and her feelings about her past. And of course there is the hazing.
Will and Tyler, the principal's son, somehow find their way on to the Varsity lacrosse team. To be on Varsity, there is an initiation of sorts you have to go through. The seniors run your life and you do what they say if you want to survive high school. Will and Tyler earned their way on to the team and they're not going to give it up. They'll do whatever it takes.
Eventually Charlie realizes what is going on. She has to decide what choice she's going to make, whether she should tell an adult or whether she should keep it to herself. Eventually people get hurt and eventually Charlie realizes what she has to do.
This book moves quickly. It isn't boring at all. There aren't filler chapters and time moves quickly. Rosalind only writes about the important events, or a small event leading in to the next explosion. That's high school as well. Little explosions detonating until suddenly the ground is pulled out from under your feet and you are falling.
By the end of Boys, Girls, and Other Hazardous Materials, Charlie is a different girl. She has made many decisions and changed many things. This new school and the people in it have changed her life.
She's not afraid of her past anymore.
If there was one thing I didn't like about this book it was how judgmental Charlie was in the beginning. She'd see somebody and automatically categorize them in her mind. I'm sure many people think like that in high school, but I was actually slightly offended by how quick she was to judge somebody.
When I see somebody I don't know, I try not to judge them. I tell myself that they could be a really sweet person. It doesn't matter what you look like. It's what's inside.
Charlie learns that.
Rosalind Wiseman is a wonderful writer. Her dialogue and her prose is flawless, even in the ARC I read for the Around The World Tours. There were millions of grammar errors and I caught every single on of them, but that's what an ARC is for.
If you get the chance, read this book. You will not regret it.
Girls are Mean. There are Mean Girls everywhere but there are also the girls that remind you that you will be okay, that you will get through high school.
Charlie makes it through to the other side.
Only three years left to go.


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