Boys Don't Cry by Malorie Blackman

I picked BOYS DON'T CRY up at Borders, glanced through the blurb on the back and knew I had to read it. I scanned the first chapter in store, bought it, sat down and read it in one sitting. While I read most books in this manner, Malorie Blackman did an exceptional job of keeping me enthralled.

Blurb from Goodreads:

This is the explosively page-turning new novel for teenagers from the author of the award-winning "Noughts and Crosses" sequence. You're about to receive your A-level results and then a future of university and journalism awaits. But the day they're due to arrive your old girlfriend Melanie turns up unexpectedly ...with a baby ...You assume Melanie's helping a friend, until she nips out to buy some essentials, leaving you literally holding the baby... Malorie's dramatic new novel will keep you on the edge of your seat right to the final page.

The novel is unexpectedly told from two first person point of views: Dante, who's ex turns up and announces that the baby she's "babysitting" is actually their child, and Adam, Dante's younger brother. The contrast of the two POV's made for a refreshing break at times. Dante was a fantastic character, who showed a huge amount of change throughout the novel. He struggles with the idea of being a father so unexpectedly, and goes through the various stages of coping (denial, anger etc). The most interesting thing about him as a character was the way other people reacted to him once they knew he had a child.

There is a very clear (and perhaps overly-moralistic) lesson throughout the novel, about not judging others on first appearances. Dante is certainly judged by his peers, and by strangers alike, for being so young and having a child. In saying that, he has the most understanding family in the world. Both his father and brother are so enthusiastic about helping him, that at times I almost wished they weren't, just to make things a little harder for Dante!

BOYS DON'T CRY is a fantastic read, and while a first assumption might be that this book is about discouraging teenage pregnancy, it's really not about that at all. Growing up seems to be the theme here (as it is with most young adult novels), but it's portrayed in a rather touching way.

I highly recommend this novel. 8 out of 10 from me!

WritersBlockNZ's Verdict: 8/10



Dawn Embers said...

That does sound like an interesting book. There is far more information out about what it's like to be a teen mom but less focus on the father. I may have to add this book to my growing list of books to read.

Might be interesting to see the two POV characters approach. Shiver has it with the boy/girl both in first person. I wish I could read one in third person but even the two brothers in first person would be a learning experience reading.

Sylvia Ney said...

I really like that cover design! Also, I wanted to let you know I'm offering another critique contest if you're interested:

N. R. Williams said...

Sounds like an important book that should do well with teens and adults too.
N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium, Special .99 through April 30

L'Aussie said...

A great review JJ. Sorry I'm late to the party, but Roland has been keeping me hopping! I like the sound of this for a teen book. Be a good one for my younger students.


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