Die deutsche Rezension findet ihr hier
As „Dr. Aphrodite“ Natalie publishes a column with love tips for everybody who wants to know in her school’s newspaper – unfortunately, she doesn’t know much about the topic herself as she lacks the experience. Instead, she tells the (female) readership what they want to read, which the others are pretty much fed up with. After her newest column she is confronted with those accusations and realizes after some time that they are right. In order to be able to give better advice in the future (and to have a topic to write about for a competition) she needs to find out how boys really think. As nobody wants to give her proper answers, she tries something else: disguised as a boy she enters a boys’ school near her own. Too bad she still has to learn how to be a guy without attracting unwanted attention – falling in love with your new room-mate definitely does not help.
There are books you need to be in the mood for, and “Babe in Boyland” is one of those. To be honest, there’s much you get confronted with here: There are rather stereotypical characters I couldn’t really identify with, at least not with the girls. (I’d probably sit on Tyler’s table.) The story leaves much to be desired as well. Natalie’s friend just happens to know someone who can hack into the school’s system and enrol her as one of the pupils. Nobody seems to care that this can have severe legal consequences. Nobody really wonders about this surprise student either. In between, the story keeps going thanks to coincidences, for example when Nat’s on a date (yes, with a girl) and someone who could blow her cover pops up. Well, who would have expected that. There were several points within the story that provoked rather snarky comments from me.
But. Damn, this book is fun! You have to be in the mood for something fluffy, sometimes illogical and definitely not perfect, and then you can perfectly enjoy “Babe in Boyland”. It’s one of those feel-good-books; even the drama was fun (since it was more embarrassing than heart-wrenching; I hardly dared to continue reading). If you are a rather expressive reader I advise you to read this one at home. I personally laughed my head off, literally howled (with laughter and because I was horrified), hit my desk way too often and giggled inappropriately. “Babe in Boyland” lives on its situation comedy. Nat doesn’t know much about boys (and didn’t think too much about that stunt either) and stands out. She asks inappropriate questions (I wouldn’t even ask my friends that stuff), has trouble finding someplace unobserved to change her clothes, survives a basketball between her legs without much pain and has rather big problems not throwing up when experiencing the questionable pleasure of occupied urinals. It’s not easy for her but it’s her own fault, so I didn’t mind laughing at her too much.
You do get to know some interesting characters you wish all the best for, even though I won’t keep any of them too long in my mind. There are some things addressed that are not unimportant, but most people who actually believe in equality know that their lordships are simply humans as everybody else. On the other hand it’s nice to have book showing such simple truths: the one already mentioned plus the fact that it’s best to be yourself instead of what others expect you to be. There are worse things for books to show and if the whole thing includes a lot of fun … I’m on.
“Babe in Boyland” is neither very deep nor original, but it’s a fun read. You really have to be up for that kind of book in order to be able to enjoy it and ignore the discrepancies – otherwise this might get as uncomfortable as Nat’s experiences in the boys’ lavatory.