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Boys, Girls and Other Hazardous Materials Hardcover – January 12, 2010


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 660L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam; 1 edition (January 12, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399247963
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399247965
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.7 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,519,478 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 8–11—Attempting to avoid vicious, former "frenemies" (and their influence), Charlotte Healey starts her high school career in neighboring Harmony Falls, hoping for a clean slate. Things look promising when she makes friends the first day and awkwardly reunites, after three years, with ex-best friend/boy-next-door-turned-crush Will. Unfortunately, people from Charlie's past keep turning up, like Nidhi, former target of the nasty kids at her old school. Charlie and Nidhi reconcile and score a column in the school paper on the freshman experience. Trying to find romance and their niche in the social hierarchy, Charlie and company survive the familiar highs and lows of high school and friendship in a place where traditions, both exclusionary and dangerous, reign. Charlie learns that both sexes are equally capable of cruelty, manipulation, and susceptibility to social pressure, but she's no longer one to keep quiet when the bullies and their enablers need to be taken to task. Wiseman's fiction debut has recognizable situations and archetypes, though Harmony Falls's students and authority figures sometimes come off as stock, superficial, or stereotypical. Fortunately, Charlie proves a flawed, humorous, and perceptive narrator as she matures, standing up for herself and others. There is occasional swearing, some forced dialogue (heavy on the exclamations), and a discussion-worthy ending. While high school can seem "life and death" dramatic, Wiseman reveals the nasty business of bullying and the ugly (sometimes life-threatening) turns that questing for acceptance can take.—Danielle Serra, Cliffside Park Public Library, NJ
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Wiseman’s best-selling nonfiction title for adults, Queen Bees and Wannabees: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence (2002), inspired the movie Mean Girls, but in her first novel for young adults, it’s the guys who behave badly. Charlie can’t wait to leave her middle-school “frenemies” behind and start high school, where she hopes to make “cool, interesting, nonevil, nonvindictive friends.” Her wish is granted on her first day, when she meets smart, supportive Sydney and reconnects with Nidhi, who shared Charlie’s eighth-grade misery. Soon, the inseparable trio widens to include some guys, whose involvement in a disturbing hazing incident sets off a chain of moral dilemmas. Charlie’s narration—filled with IMs and texts—sets a breezy tone and includes some occasional four-letter frankness: “Chicks before Dicks,” declares Sydney. “Never choose a guy over a friend.” But in her realistic portrayal of everyday freshman anxieties, romance, and the sometimes “toolish” culture of male high-school athletes, Wiseman prompts readers to consider vital questions about authentic friendship, personal responsibility, and the slippery roles of bully, bystander, and victim. Grades 7-10. --Gillian Engberg

More About the Author

Rosalind Wiseman has had only one job since graduating from college--to help communities shift the way we think about children and teens' emotional and physical wellbeing. As a teacher, thought leader, author, and media spokesperson on bullying, ethical leadership, the use of social media, and media literacy, she is in constant dialogue and collaboration with educators, parents, children, and teens.

She is the author of Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and the New Realities of Girl World--the groundbreaking, best-selling book that was the basis for the movie Mean Girls. Her latest books, Masterminds & Wingmen: Helping Our Boys Cope with Schoolyard Power, Locker-Room Tests, Girlfriends, and the New Rules of Boy World was published in September 2013. In addition, she wrote a free companion e-book for high school boys, entitled The Guide: Managing Douchebags, Recruiting Wingmen, and Attracting Who You Want and a school edition entitled, The Guide: Managing Jerks, Recruiting Wingmen, and Attracting Who You Want

Wiseman's other publications include Queen Bee Moms and Kingpin Dads, that address the social hierarchies and conflicts among parents, and the young adult novel Boys, Girls & Other Hazardous Materials. She is the author of the Owning Up Curriculum, a comprehensive social justice program for grades 6-12. She also writes the monthly "Ask Rosalind" column inFamily Circle magazine, and is a regular contributor to several blogs and websites.

Each year Wiseman works with tens of thousands of students, educators, parents, counselors, coaches, and administrators to create communities based on the belief that each person has a responsibility to treat themselves and others with dignity. She was one of the principal speakers at the White House Summit on Bullying. Other audiences have included the American School Counselors Association, International Chiefs of Police, American Association of School Administrators, and countless schools throughout the US and abroad. She is a consultant for Cartoon Network's Speak Up, Stop Bullying Campaign and an advisor to the US Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration.

National media regularly depends on Wiseman. She is a consultant for Cartoon Network's Speak Up, Stop Bullying Campaign and has been profiled in The New York Times, People, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and USA Today. Wiseman is a frequent guest on The Today Show, Anderson Cooper 360, CNN, Good Morning America, Al Jazeera, and NPR affiliates throughout the country. A sought-after speaker, Wiseman's presentations transcend cultural and economic boundaries in her appeal to ensure children's and teenagers' well being. Her engaging and forthright delivery promises to capture audiences and inspire them to build positive relationships among each other.

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Customer Reviews

The main character was really likable.
dntnnedtoknow
By the end of the book, Charlie doesn't know who to trust, but everything gets resolved, and everyone is happy, except for the bad guys.
Della Phipps
I enjoy reading YA, but this book was a little too young and immature for my liking.
A. Howell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Della Phipps on January 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Boys, Girls, and other Hazardous Materials by Rosalind Wiseman.

I really enjoyed this book, although it brought back some of my own memories about school I'd have rather not remembered. Ms. Wiseman weaves a familiar and believable tale of a high school freshman as she attends a new school. The reader always knows what Charlie, the main character, is thinking and the secondary characters are also well developed. The relationships Charlie has with the others in the book are easy to follow. At times, it is hard to pick out the "good guy," but this is not unusual in a real setting. Ms. Wiseman does not shy away from the issues surrounding our schools today, such as hazing, drinking, bullying, racism, and adults who are focused on things other than the well being of their students.

There are parts of the book that seemed predictable, but the author does a good job of throwing the reader curve balls just when the plot is starting to slow. This book doesn't make the mistake of focusing too much on the adults in the story, but only mentions them when the main characters are in direct contact with them. It is written in the first person and that makes it easy to follow and get wrapped up in; this is one of those books that once you start reading it, you get pulled in and don't want to stop until you see how it is going to end. This is an excellent book for girls who are reluctant readers, or for those who want a quick and enjoyable read. Charlie's voice is fresh and strong, and her character grows throughout the book as she deals with problem after problem. By the end of the book, Charlie doesn't know who to trust, but everything gets resolved, and everyone is happy, except for the bad guys.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Guinevere R. Rowell on February 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I've had a hard time sussing out my feelings after finishing this book, so I wrote a pro and con list of what I liked and disliked:

Con's:
-Characterization of the "bad boys" was terrible. We know who is a good guy and a bad guy as soon as Wiseman introduces them, because the bad guys have "small slitty eyes and pink skin" or use offensive words to refer to others. While I find those terms really offensive, I also think this was a silly tool for characterization -- teenagers sometimes use inappropriate terms, and that doesn't automatically mean they're an irredeemable waste of space. To me, this was just a shortcut to suss out who the reader should disapprove of, and I don't think Wiseman's readers need the help.

-Charlie was lame. One of her friends, Sydney, is sexually harassed by some of the guys, and when Sydney publicly humiliates him in return, Charlie tells her friend that she's gone too far and become like him. Yeah. Having been sexually harassed in HS, I think Sydney was in the right -- but Charlie felt like the the mouthpiece of an educator about bullying. Charlie's unbelievable POV made me struggle to keep reading.

-Plotting. The synopsis isn't, in my opinion, what this book is really about. The bulk of it chronicles Charlie's freshman year of school, and the prank mentioned above doesn't happen until page 216 (of 279). I felt that the story dragged in places.

Pro's:
-Loved the secondary characters of Charlie's friends, Sydney and Nidhi. It was wonderful to read about girls being genuine friends as opposed to frenemies, even though Charlie certainly had some frenemies in her past.

-Unique depiction of high school.
Read more ›
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Lauren on January 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I really wanted to love this novel. I mean Rosalind's Queen Bees and Wannabes was the inspiration behind one of my favorite movies ever Mean Girls. Though, sadly I wasn't starstruck by this novel. Quite the opposite, actually, because I was easily bored by the lackluster and predictable plot that at times seemed like the cliché of all clichés meets an after school special.

The characters were just a total blah. Charlie was the typical "I used to be a follower of the poplars, but now I want to be a leader" type of girl and her love interest was someone who seriously needed to grow a pair and stop acting like an idiot because of peer pressure. Though, if that wasn't enough things to add to my dismay, I hated how these two characters could have been so original and awesome but were instead ran over by unoriginality.

As mentioned above, the plot was the same way. Something that while could have been awesomely amazing was just boring and didn't truly bring anything new to the table. Leaving me to think this novel is going to be run down by all the other incredible upcoming 2010 books like Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers.

Though, I did like some aspects of this novel. Such as some of the secondary characters like Michael, Sydney and Nidha who were funny. Also, the message in this one is something that should always be reiterated simply because of how important it is to not fall into peer pressure and instead become someone who can almost always do the right thing.

In all, while I do see talent in Rosalind ( Seriously, her webiste is awesome because of the fact that she offers advice that a lot of girls (and boys even) could relate too!) , I felt that this novel failed to show it as well as it could have.

Though, as always my review is just one in a million, so if you feel like this is something you would enjoy check it out. I mean others have loved it, just not me unfourantely.
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