Published by: Balzer & Bray on April 30, 2013
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Technology, Young Adult
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In The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise, super-smart, somewhat geeky Audrey McCarthy can't wait to get out of high school. Her father's death and the transformation of her one-time BFF, Blake Dawkins, into her worst nightmare have her longing for the new start college will bring.
But college takes money. So Audrey decides she has to win the competition for the best app designed by a high schooler—and the $200,000 that comes with it. She develops something she calls the Boyfriend App, and suddenly she's the talk of the school and getting kissed by the hottest boys around. But can the Boyfriend App bring Audrey true love?
Fluffy, quirky, a bit unrealistic, and totally unexpected—all words that describe The Boyfriend App. None of those are necessarily bad things, but I think they pretty accurately fit this book.
There are some very specific things I liked about this book, and some things I didn’t like. So I’m going to break it down list-style:
For the most part I liked Audrey. She was nerdy and imperfect. She wasn’t always the smartest person (which I’ll get to in the dislikes), but I mostly enjoyed her voice and attitude.
I really liked the coding parts! When Audrey was building the app, I was geeking out over the programming and the language. I LOVED it!
I like how The Boyfriend App version 1.0 was realistic. At first I thought it was actually going to work properly and legitimately match you with your perfect boyfriend, but then it kind of backfired, which I thought was a realistic approach, and more along the lines of what I was expecting.
There were some really funny moments in the book; mostly just small sentences here and there that made me chuckle, but I really enjoyed them! Just random things like this:
I rolled over and stared at the current love of my life: Hector, my custom-rig desktop I built myself. Hector was like the best kind of boyfriend: smart, trustworthy, and always there when I needed him. I watched his green light blink and listened to the purr of his fans as though he were trying to signal he felt the same way about me. The Boyfriend App by Kasie Sise
I really didn’t like the technology substitutes. Instead of this book talking about Facebook, iPhones, iPods, iTunes, and Apple/Samsung rivalry, it made up alternatives. We got:
Public Party (a social networking site), buyJams (music-for-purchase website), the buyPlayer (handheld device to play said music), and then, of course, the buyPhone, the Beast (a handheld computer), and the Fiend (a laptop). The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise
Is it just me or are those the most lame names ever. buyPhone? No thanks. At first I was annoyed that the author used alternatives at all… especially when “real” things like Twitter are mentioned. So why have a substitute for Facebook? And instead of talking about the real Apple/Samsung rivalry, we had whole new companies called Public and Infinitum. When something is being marketed as a contemporary book, I just don’t like it to have all kinds of fake, made up companies and technologies. But once it got to the end, I think I understood why the author chose to make up companies instead of using real ones. View Spoiler » [Portraying Apple as some kind of company that illegally brainwashes teenagers into buying its products might be a bit awkward. « Hide Spoiler]
I was REALLY confused by the romance. At the beginning of the book, Audrey tells us she’s obsessed with Xander, the unobtainable, super hot boyfriend of the queen bee bitch. But then whenever she looks at Aidan she gets all girly and blushy. It took me so long to figure out what the heck was going on. Does she like Xander or Aidan? Or both? Who the heck knows.
Audrey was always going on about how she needed to start waitressing so she could help pay for college. WHAT? Waitressing is crap money. Audrey is supposedly an AMAZING programmer. Why would she not seek out programming freelance jobs, which actually pay a decent amount of money (unlike the laughable minimum wage that is waitressing)? You can easily find freelance jobs online.
- View Spoiler » [When Audrey decided to make The Boyfriend App 2.0 and utilize Public’s big brainwashing software thing, I assumed she knew exactly what would happen. Since she’s submitting the app to Public, they would obviously look at the code and immediately know that she knows their big secret. And since she already knew they were capable of blackmail, they were obviously going to try to blackmail her too. But when we actually got to that part, it almost seemed like she was SURPRISED that they found out, and then so unsure of what they would do to her. I thought it was super obvious. « Hide Spoiler]
Summing It Up
At about the 50% mark, this book took a very different turn. It went from being cute, funny, and fluffy, to having darker undertones and a lot less realism. The story became extremely unbelievable. It was still fun and enjoyable, but just be warned: it does start to border on kind of ridiculous.
I’m pretty confident that The Boyfriend App won’t be a good book for everyone. Some people will hate the programming technical stuff, others probably won’t like Audrey, some will be caught up with the absolute bitch that is Blake (Audrey’s ex-best friend), and I’m sure a lot of people will snicker and roll their eyes as the plot progresses. That being said, I enjoyed this book. It was a bit quirky and it certainly wasn’t perfect, but it called to my nerdy side. I actually wish that there was more programming in the book. The actual creation of the app—the bulk of the programming—was over in a heartbeat.
I think the book definitely did fizzle out at the end. It never felt fully resolved. View Spoiler » [Audrey gets some closure with her father, but we never actually get closer with Public, which is the big central conflict. « Hide Spoiler] But overall, this book was entertaining and it made me laugh. I’m glad I read it!