Chasing Boys by Karen Tayleur

Publication Date: January 6th, 2009
Walker & Company
Format: Hardcover, 256 pages
RATING: 2 out of 5 Stars
An insightful coming-of-age novel for girls with no interest in being “Pretty in Pink.”
El Marini just isn’t fitting into the new life she’s been forced to create without her dad. Her mom and sister have accepted his absence and moved on, but El is convinced things will get back to normal if she just keeps her feelings of loss to herself and waits it out.
Life at her new public school would have been unbearable if weren’t for Eric Callahan. As her crush grows to epic proportions, she’ll do anything to be more like the popular girls he notices, even buying the first pink top she’s ever owned. But then she meets Dylan, a quiet artistic-type who is both unnerving and annoying as he shines a light on El’s misguided attempts to attract Eric. El’s need for acceptance will hit home with teens as she finally sees that chasing boys has distracted her from making peace with the past and finding herself.

CHASING BOYS is one of those books where you either instantly embrace the character or completely hate her. I for one, had a hard time connecting with El. She’s an acquired taste who required the right amount of understanding in order for the reader to enjoy the story.

Struggling from her father’s disappearance in their lives, Ariel was living life on automatic. But deep inside, she refused to accept the status quo. Confused and angry, she bottled up her feelings in the hopes that sooner or later, she’ll stop feeling so much. In the meantime, she turns her focus on the unattainable hottie, Eric Callahan. She holds on to the little signs that he knew she existed because then she can ignore all the things that’s been plaguing her since her father left. But Angelique Mendez entered into the picture and snapped up the only thing that’s been constant in her life. She’s resolved to chase the boy but for some reason, quiet, tortured, artistic Dylan keeps getting in her way. All of a sudden he seems to be paying more attention than usual, most of all, thwarting her attempts of getting Eric to notice her. She’ll end up making a choice – not just between the boys but with some important decisions about her life. Will she remain bitter and angry? Or will she accept their lives now that her father is gone?

This book was a fast read but it wasn’t a pleasant one for me. I really had a hard time with El. She was just so angry and blasé at the same time (if that’s even possible). This is basically my main problem with this book – the lack of depth and more often, Ariel’s detachment from everything else. She’s very focused on herself, her crush on Eric, and her anger that she lacked any other layers to her character. I just had a hard time liking her. I find myself thinking that it’s how the author want to portray her and unfortunately, I just found her distasteful.

The writing was intentionally juvenile, reflecting the voice of El. But there are also insightful writings in which Aussie authors are known for. Props to the author for the twist and the lack of clues leading up to it.

VERDICT: Let me be honest here and say that the reason I bought Chasing Boys was because I’d seen a snippet of this book on one of the blogs I follow. I thought that little bit was so romantic that I didn’t think twice about getting a copy right away. Unfortunately, that scene didn’t seem as romantic when I consider the entire book as a whole. This book just felt incomplete and at times, inconsistent.

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