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What Boys Really Want

What Boys Really Want is a YA contemporary humor novel by Pete Hautman.

Lita and Adam have been friends since they were very young – just friends. So, they’d never hide anything from each other.


Well, Adam doesn’t hide the fact that he’s writing a book – a book about what boys really want. Kind of a self-help guide for girls in his high school. He figures he’ll make all sorts of money. But it’s turning out to be more difficult than he thought – and when he tries to turn to Lita for help, she’s more grumpy than usual.

Lita is the writer. She thinks it’s ridiculous that Adam is writing a book – Adam! Meanwhile her own novel is gathering dust in a drawer. The world has turned upside down.

Not to mention, Adam seems to be getting cozy with Blair – possibly the skankiest girl at school.

She wouldn’t try to break up their fledgling relationship. Or would she?

What Boys Really Want has a lot going on it. It’s a hodge-podge of high school relationships, friendships, ambitions, and teen angst. It’s good-humored and comedic. It was an amiable read.

Adam is likable – kind of reminded me of an older Kevin from Gary Paulsen’s hilarious middle grade Liar, Liar series. He’s tenacious, motivated, and clueless all at the same time.

Lita on the other hand is likable when it comes to her taste in literature (major Jane Austen fan) but otherwise I found her to be petty and quite often mean and moody. Though we see a reason why she’d be irritated with Adam’s writing, I still felt that Lita was unnecessarily standoffish.

Even so, there’s a fun, fast-paced, modern feel here with What Boys Really Want. Lita might hold back that amusing sense here and there, but generally this is a charming and well-done high school tale.

I will say that I don’t care for the cover at all… It has a 90s vibe that doesn’t look current, seem interesting, or appeal to me in any way. Hopefully that won’t turn you off to trying What Boys Really Want, because it is a light, entertaining story.

What Boys Really Want is a romp that involved relationships of every kind, insecurity, and determination with a positive, cheerful outlook!


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