The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise ( website | tweet )
Publication Date: April 30, 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: friendships, tech, mobile world, contests, computers
Format read: ARC from Edelweiss via Publisher.
Summary: It’s been three years since Audrey lost her dad and her life changed. Her best friend got mean, and the popularity she thought she had in the bag turned out to be non-existent. But she has found some contentment with Hector (her computer) and her other tech savvy friends. When a contest to create an amazing new app is announced and the prize is a full college scholarship, Audrey knows she just has to win. The entry is The Boyfriend App, an instrument to bring well-matched people together. And while it seems it have a positive effect on things at first, she never imagined how things might spiral out of control.
Reasons I love Audrey:
» She isn’t embarrassed that a sports bra is her favorite undergarment.
» She carries around a lucky rabbit’s foot that her dad gave her.
» She loves her computer so much that she named him Hector + she’s basically a computer genius.
» She’s confident without being braggy, and she really treasures her friendships.
Can you see why I was rooting for Audrey so much during The Boyfriend App? After all she had been through with her dad’s sudden death, the rough (and unnecessary) treatment from her ex-best friend, I just wanted her to build the most amazing app, win the contest, and maybe even get the boy.
Unfortunately, nothing came that easy for her. I don’t know if it was the book cover or the synopsis that made me think so but The Boyfriend App is more than some fluffy high school story. Sise manages to weave in a ton of technical terms, really emphasizing Audrey’s tech strengths and also truly describing the major digital influences that have infilitrated the life of today’s teenager. It was fun to read about Audrey’s cousin, Lindsay, and her successful fashion blog, and even the use of social media to market The Boyfriend App. (But then again, I love this stuff!)
Just as Audrey’s app gains popularity and starts to change the way people perceive her, Sise introduces an interesting and unexpected layer to the plot. I’m not sure if she meant to make some grand statement about the influence technology has on our society (are we being brainwashed?) but she certainly threw me for some very welcome, refreshing loops (that included a makeout scene in the cafeteria that felt like a food fight a.k.a total chaos!).
One detail I absolutely loved was how culturally diverse Audrey’s high school was. This is probably one of the first books that reminded me so much of my own high school experience in that way. And you know, her friends just rocked. I loved that Lindsay, a family member!, was her best friend and always had her back, and I also appreciated how much Audrey wanted to keep these friends, even so much as to pretend she didn’t like Aidan as much as she did because she didn’t want to lose him completely. (Though, at times, I just wanted to be like: Girl, he LIKES you. Believe it! because she doubts his every move so much.)
I really enjoyed The Boyfriend App for all of its quirks and especially the chances that Sise took with her plot and her characters. It was a really fun ride that had me scratching my head (that’s how you build apps?!), laughing out loud (the geeky boy discovering the importance of a signature accessory), and reeling over the “will they won’t they” couple of the season. (And wondering if someone was going to lock the ex-best friend in a closet and throw away the key — oh the joys of a bully!)
Katie Sise is definitely an author I will be looking forward to reading in the future!