Sunday, March 6, 2016

This Is My Brain on Boys by Sarah Strohmeyer Review

"Addie Emerson doesn’t believe in love. Not for herself anyway. With one year left of high school, she’s more interested in snagging a full scholarship to Harvard than a full-time boyfriend.

That doesn’t mean she’s oblivious to the ways of the heart. Or, rather, the head. Because after months of research, Addie has discovered how to make anyone fall in love. All you need is the secret formula.

But will her discovery be enough to win the coveted Athenian Award and all its perks? (See above, full scholarship to Harvard.) Or will she be undone by Dexter, her backstabbing lab partner, who is determined to deep-six her experiments at their exclusive private school?

Those are the least of her problems now that she’s survived a death-defying flight with a mysterious, dark-haired boy, who has delicious chocolate-brown eyes and a few secrets of his own.

With an experiment to mastermind, an infatuated exchange student on her hands, and at least one great white shark (more on that later), can Addie’s prefrontal cortex outwit her heart? Or will she have to give in to her amygdala and find out, once and for all, if this thing called love is more than just her brain on drugs?"

YA Contemporary, This Is My Brain On Boys has caught my attention from the very beginning of the story. It is told from the narrator, Addie Emerson, who is on a plane with a boy. (And yes, I think it's an adorable meet cute that will make rom-com writers and directors proud.) (And for your information, I'm never ever, ever going to get tired of meet cutes. They are too adorable and swoonworthy to give up.) 

Let's start with the narrator. Addie Emerson is so similar to Temperance Bones, the title character of the tv show running on Fox. She has a lot of logic and intelligence gained from books and papers, but she lacks emotional intelligence gained from socializing and relationships. But despite all of her setbacks, she is endearing in her social faux pas and she is totally oblivious to anything pertaining to emotions (and more importantly, love). I enjoy reading her voice, but it's hard to empathize with her. (Then again, there are very few people who can empathize with those who understand the complexities of neurology.) 

The irony... Oh, my gosh. The irony in this book gives me life. I won't read and tell spoilers, but I have to acknowledge the greatest irony in the book. I must give my kudos to the author, and I must point out the absolute and hilarious ignorance of one Addie Emerson and the very experiment she is conducting. 

The plot moves steadily along, taking me for a ride. There is some weirdness, a couple of nerds, a shark, a crazy experiment involving gerbils and humans, a backstabbing partner (whose double-sided nature is revealed much later in the novel than I predicted), and a cute guy. But I take it all in, and I keep flipping the pages and finish this book much, much sooner than I should have. (A misfortune, because I would love to read this story much longer and stick around in this fictional world.)

The ending is absolutely perfect. Though it's not exactly realistic (but I'll ignore it), it's perfect for this book. It's the kind of closure a reader needs after a "Will they, won't they?" romance. 

Overall, This Is My Brain On Boys is the kind of story that a science girl could appreciate. It's not without irony, great levels of cuteness rivaling kittens, and a subtle humor. This is it for those who love a romance that isn't so easy but is worth it. 

Rating: Four out of Five

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