[649]: This Is My Brain on Boys by Sarah Strohmeyer


Balzer + Bray | May 10th, 2016 | 4 out of 5 Stars

Socially awkward brainiacs has a special place in my heart.  I feel a certain inexplicable kinship towards them that is in protective almost. I admire the way they see life without the emotional hang-ups that muddle it all. It’s in the way they can compartmentalize and explain their feelings with utter practicality. They’re walking encyclopedias full of knowledge about anything and everything, but completely useless when it comes to relationships and social interactions. I knew I had to read this book in part because it had undertones of Jane Austen’s Emma. And with a character who thinks and speaks like The Rosie Project’s Don Tillman, I was more than willing to clear my nightstand of other books in favor of This is My Brain on Boys.


Addie has a scientific answer for everything. All human emotions and reactions can be rationalized through the body’s biological and chemical make-ups. She has a tendency to sound like a robot, but her sensible view on life is what makes her unintentionally funny.  If Don Tillman had a daughter, Addie would’ve been it. She is infinitely fascinated with the human brain and the way it functions. She’s able to quantify falling in and out of love as a result of a chemical being produced and expelled through one of life’s irrational experience. In some ways, she’s a teen but she’s only able to slowly embrace it through daily interactions with her little circle of friends.  She has no illusions regarding her physical attributes and sees herself as the world sees her. I couldn’t help but feel protective of her in as much as Tess, her best friend, likes to make sure no one can mess with her.  She’s like a daughter I want to coddle all the time because she’s kind of vulnerable. But given the time to think things through, she finds her way out of bad situations. She’s funny but she doesn’t aim to be. She just is.

Trauma = Love

People have been known to develop a closeness through a shared traumatic experience. But what if Science can prove that two subjects can fall in love with another if they were involved in a dangerous situation? This is what she aimed to prove in her entry for an award that will grant her a scholarship. The Emma twist in this story is that she falls in love with her subject. However, she didn’t know that he was partly responsible for the vandalism that happened in her lab.

Kris is a boy about the world, animal rights activist and an all around good guy. He’s about to serve his sentence for vandalizing Addie’s lab. Besides helping out as a groundskeeper, Kris’ punishment was to enlist in a Science experiment. I love that we see both Kris’ and Addie’s perspective. We see their motivations and their own insecurities. Kris is a conscientious boy whose heart was in the right place. Unfortunately, he got involved with the wrong crowd. Their quasi-romance was sweet; almost non-existent but you see how much they like each other through musings and observations.

In Retrospect

Most have bemoaned the fact that Addie talks like Sheldon. But come on, who doesn’t adore Sheldon? She’s very serious in her conviction which I find wholly admirable. This book is funny and sweet; smart and heartfelt. I couldn’t ask for a more awkward brainiac than in Addie.

  • It’s interesting, for me, that I’ve actually read The Rosie Project (since I have hardly ever read the books people reference in posts) and recognise Don as a character. I actually enjoyed that more than I perhaps thought I might, especially initially, but I’ve been thinking/talking about it recently and I never really felt inclined to continue Don and Rosie’s story into the sequel. Have you read both books, Joy?

    I’m happy to hear you had a good time with this book. I haven’t heard anything about it before, at least not that I can remember- the cover seems vaguely familiar?- and though I don’t think it would be a book for me to look out for, one element of it does interest me quite a bit: the test and romance between Addie and Kris seems like a really interesting way to bring two characters together, especially with Addie not knowing what Kris did. That seems like a fairly fascinating idea, and it would be neat to see it pulled off.

  • I really like that this is about a girl scientist, and the fact that she likes brains! (Or at least she is doing an experiment that involves them I suppose hahah). Though I’m not sure if this is the book for me, since I know a lot about cognition, I wouldn’t be surprised if that ended up affecting my enjoyment of this! But either way, glad you loved this one Joy! And you’re right, who DOESN’T love Sheldon!

  • Eee, SO glad you enjoyed this book so much sweet girl 😀 You make it sound amazing. Sigh. I’m pretty curious about it 🙂 That cover is gorgeous. But maybe not a book for me, lol. But even so. Curious 😀 Hope you are having the best weekend. <3 Hugs.

  • I really loved SMART GIRLS GET WHAT THEY WANT, so there’s no doubt that this one is going to be as amazing (or even more than her previous novel!). Can’t wait to start this one–I feel like pushing away all the rest of my TBR just to get to it, haha! Great review 😀

    Rabiah @ Confessions of a Readaholic

  • You had me at Sheldon. I love characters that are socially awkward and march to the beat of their own drum. I like books that are a unique take on romance and this sounds absolutely lovely Joy. I’m hoping it’s not fuelled by lengthy scientific descriptions though as they tend to hurt my head. I love the premise and the fact that you enjoyed it so much, I need this book in my love. Wonderful review Joy <3

  • I’ve been really curious about this one. This convinces me that I need to pick it up!

  • I love Sarah Strohemeyer, but I had a lot of trouble getting into this one, so I set it aside, but I think I’ll go back to it sometime soon. As a science girl, I do love how this is about girl scientist!

  • OOH I need to read this! I loved Smart Girls Get What They Want by her so I’ll definitely be on the lookout for this!

  • Haha! I love that Addie and Kris were thrust together because he vandalised her lab and then had to serve his time out there!

  • Does the blog look different`? I really suck at remembering

  • shootingstarsmag

    Seriously, before you said Sheldon, I was totally thinking of him! This sounds like a fun one. I like socially awkward people. haha And Sheldon is great so that’s not a con for me.


  • Also love the socially awkward characters, I sympathize with this too

  • Addie sounds awkward and totally entertaining Joy! She definitely feels like Sheldon lol. Great review lovely!

  • Thanks for bringing Disqus back because I couldn’t comment before!
    I love awkward brainiacs too. The title of this is off-putting to me but after reading your explanation of the story, it makes sense! Maybe I’ll try this!

  • I was thinking that this sounds like an interesting character book and then you said that people actually bemoaned her talking like Sheldon??? What?! I’m with you, I love Sheldon. He is the only narcissist brainiac I enjoy! LOL

  • Haha and back to the Disquis comments again! Oh well, either one works fine for me. I secretly prefer this hehe :3 Okay, so this sounds like a very funny and sweet nerd love story and I like the sound of it. I was a little worried about this one being too nerdy but it sounds like it isn’t like that at all.

  • I’ve seen mixed reviews on this, but I do like the awkward characters!

  • I love The Rosie Project and especially Don Tillman so I may have to give this book a look-over! Thanks Joy!

  • Jazmen

    I have this book to review, but I can’t seem to bring myself to actually read it. I like awkward nerdy characters but only when it seems genuine. Okay, Joy, you’ve convinced me I’ll read it. Soonish. Lol. Nice review, girlie!

  • Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings

    I’ve definitely been drawn to this because of its title but I’ve yet to pick it up. I’m glad it didn’t disappoint, though, Joy! This seems like a really cute romance so I’ll have to check it out this summer for sure. Wonderful review!

  • Melliane

    I didn’t know that she had another book out but I’m curious. I used to like her fun series (Bubbles) but I need to finish it too

  • Oh man, this book sounds great! Great picture too btw. I’m off to GR to add this to my TBR right away 🙂