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Without a recommendation from a friend on this one, I probably would have never picked up this book. And that would have been a shame. Even though it's quite a slim book and made for a quick read due to the way it's written in verse, A Bad Boy Can Be Good For A Girl by Tanya Lee Stone is really powerful look at relationships in high school, with a specific focus on three girls and the same boy they each fall for and deal with the pressures of a sexual relationship.
Each of these three girls, Josie, Nicholette and Aviva are very different, and have certain ideas of the type of person they'd be in a relationship with this particular charming boy at school. And each girl must then struggle with their own doubts and insecurities and must deal with the ways in which this boy handles each girl, always after one specific goal. Will the girls buckle under his pressure to take things farther and farther? Will the girls compromise themselves or their values in order to feel special and important to this popular, charming and good-looking boy?
I loved how each girl is from a different social circle, and these three different 'types' of girls could really encorporate all girls. From Josie, the freshman girl, innocent of any relationships. The girl who abandons her close group of friends in order to be The Girlfriend. Then there's Nicholette, who believes she holds the power between her and him because she's more forward and goes after what she wants. But the shift is fairly evident as we see how He treats her and how he doesn't acknowledge her in the hallways or in front of his friends. And then there's Aviva, the quirky girl who flits between groups of friends, always staying on the fringes, the one who wants to give Him another chance despite being warned off. The three may not normally be friends, but over the course of this verse novel, they have one major thing in common. They've all fallen under the spell of one Bad Boy.
I'm actually a little surprised at how filled with emotion and hormones this book is. I knew there would be sex involved, but there are some really hot scenes there. All the hormonal teenage urges to kiss and press against each other and have sex are very present here. But so is all of the doubt and insecurities as each girl wonders 'why is with me?' to 'what have I done wrong?' My heart ached for each individual girl as Josie, Nicholette and then Aviva all fall under his charms and even though each are strong, intelligent and grounded teenage girls, each one makes mistake after mistake and lets this one boy control and take over.
I do also really love the offensive that is taken during the course of this book and how each girl stands up for herself and for others in order to lessen this boy's hold on them and any future girls he might take a fancy to. It's a wonderful message to give to young girls today - respect yourself, stand up for yourself and look out for those who might make the same mistakes. A wonderful read, I'm very glad to have read it!
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