BOYS, GIRLS & OTHER HAZARDOUS MATERIALS
By Rosalind Wiseman
From Inside Cover:
Charlie Healey just wants a drama free year, but it doesn't seem like she's going to get it. Middle school was rough. There were mean girls all around her; and she was even in danger of becoming one herself. High school was supposed to be her chance to leave all that behind, except that it isn't. On her very first day, who does she run into but he former best friend, Will, who'd moved away years ago. Now he's back, he's HOT, and he's popular. Befriending him again takes Charlie back into the danger zone. And when a hazing prank turns near deadly, Charlie and their new no-drama friends realize Will has gotten in way over his head trying to prove his loyalty to upperclassmen. Torn between doing what's right and secret feelings for Will, Charlie must decide whether to turn in her very best friend or live with the guilt of knowing what he did.
I was very excited to read this book because years ago I read Rosalind Wiseman's Queen Bees and Wanna Bees, which made quite a lasting impression on me. It's a great book and I think anyone who has a daughter should read it. Boys, Girls & Other Hazardous Materials is her first work of fiction. The main character Charlie is ready to make some big changes in her life after a few horrific experiences with some frenemies in junior high school. But her hope to break free is crushed on the first day when she finds herself face to face with a couple of people she never expected to see at this new school. One of whom is her old best friend Will who she hasn't seen in a few years. Is Will still the same good old guy she remembers from years back or has high school and his new found popularity changed him into someone completely different?
I really like that Ms. Wiseman touches on the subject of hazing in her novel. In this case, the high school lacrosse team target incoming freshman. Who are subjected to dares or humiliating acts in order to be accepted and considered team members by the upperclassmen. Alot of times this hazing is allowed by coaches and excused by adults in the name of tradition and a coming of age rite of passage. In my opinion it's all bullshit and should never, ever be tolerated. Hazing is harassment, assault and in many instances against the law.
I recommend this book for ages 13 and up. High School situations. Some Language. I will be donating this book to the Salmon Public Library. I won this book in a contest sponsored by The Story Siren. Thanks Kristi!