Sunday, December 07, 2014

The Boy Problem

18527503Kinard, Kami. The Boy Problem.
April 29th 2014 by Scholastic Press

Tabbi is back (after The Boy Project), trying to use mathematical formulae and the process of elimination to determine which boy in her grade she should date. Her single mother is not helping, not letting her hang out at the skate park with Malcolm when Tabbi is ill, and embarrassingly flirting with one of Tabbi's teachers! When her class has a project on probability, Tabbi ends up working with the perky Priyanka, whose life seems to revolve around cupcakes. After a bad storm destroys Tabbi's cousin's school, the girls decide to bake cupcakes to try to raise money. They fill out all the school paperwork (this is a real thing!), but end up going head-to-head with the evil "Maybelline" who runs another cupcake fund raisers to get money for uniforms AND stocks other people's boyfriends! When new boy Andres shows up at school, Tabbi thinks that he is cute and might be a good choice to date, and tries to win his heart with gluten free cupcakes. There are a few problems with Tabbi's best friend Kara, and some social embarrassment (a huge zit, a funny video that gets posted on Faceplace, but nothing too dire.
Strengths: A lot of girls ask for books in diary form, and this works well. The doodles and math problems add a different spin. While the mean girls aren't nice, they aren't super mean, and Tabbi handles them well. There's even a little bit of cultural diversity with Pri's family.
Weaknesses: I found the math problems and graphs, etc. a little annoying, but then it occurred to me that it's probably a good example for middle school girls to show a girl who is interested in math AND boys. Again, as an adult it's hard to imagine anyone spending that much time thinking about boys... until I read my diary from that time period and want to set fire to it. Hard to complain when a book is too close to reality!

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