Cecil Castellucci‘s first novel for young adults was released in 2005. Since then Boy Proof (2006) has received a wide variety of accolades including selection as a Booksense 76 Children’s Pick, BBYA 2006 and a Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers by the American Library Association (ALA). Happily, Ms. Castellucci has continued to write teen books as well as graphic novels targeted at teens. There are a lot of books (and television adaptations) out there that detail the lifestyles of the young and beautiful people. Boy Proof offers something slightly different.
Victoria Jurgen, narrator of Boy Proof, would be the first to tell you that she is not beautiful (although she is young having skipped a grade she is a sixteen-year-old high school senior). Preferring the world of sci-fi movies for which her dad designs special effects and makeup, Victoria made a conscious choice to reinvent herself as her favorite character from “Terminal Earth.” Victoria is, therefore, no longer Victoria but Egg. She wears a cloak, has shaved her head as well as her eyebrows which she colors with orange makeup, and is determined to keep everyone at bay–no matter how much they might want to be friends, especially boys. In other words, Egg has worked to make herself boy proof.
At least, she thought she had until Max Carter starts at her school. In many ways, Max is the perfect counterpart to Egg, sharing her interest in the film industry (and sci-fi movies) as well as art, and acting as a good foil to her banter. But the harder Max tries to break into Egg’s world, the harder she fights back. When Max starts dating a less boy proof (and more boring) girl, and Egg’s own people–the members of her school’s sci-fi club–forsake her, Egg begins to realize that maybe being boy proof isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But after trying so hard to keep herself apart from, well, everyone, Egg has to think long and hard about how to get back in and what that might mean for a self-made loner.
I love this book. It’s one of the first I ever read that was written in the present tense which, at the time, seemed very original indeed (less so currently I muse admit) and made the narrative really grab readers’ attention. This novel is really something unique, Egg lives a fairly privileged life being the daughter of a famous actress and a special effects guru but instead of stopping there, Boy Proof really focuses on Egg and her interactions with people. Castellucci’s writing is excellent here creating a funny and compelling voice for Egg as well as a really enjoyable book.
Many other reviewers have said this novel is great for people who want to embrace their inner-geek, loners, and even tough girls. I’d go a step further: Boy Proof is a great book for readers trying to find themselves–even if they think they’ve already done that.
Possible Pairings: Dramacon by Svetlana Chmakova, Alter Ego: Avatar and Their Creators by Robbie Cooper, King of the Screwups by K. L. Going, Girl Overboard by Justina Chen Headley, Confessions of a Not It Girl by Melissa Kantor, This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales