This was among the e-books available through my library's digital catalog that I downloaded because it was immediately available and I seemed to remember hearing good things about it. I thought I was going to be getting a contemporary YA school story with a touch of romance in it, and I guess that is kind of what I got, but wow, this book is way, way more than that.
Our heroine is Victoria, although she prefers to be called Egg after her favorite film character of all time. Victoria is an unabashedly intelligent, quirky, self-involved, highly creative teen, and frankly it took me a while to warm up to her. She is very prickly, often rude, and has a tendency to hurt people's feelings, occasionally remaining completely unaware it. Or apathetic to it - it can be hard to tell. But I never wanted to stop reading. The advice often given to writers is that if you don't make your main character sympathetic, you had better at least make her interesting, and Castellucci certainly does that. And it wasn't very long before I'd completely fallen for Victoria as well as this wonderful book.
Victoria's predictable, safe world is shaken up by the arrival of Max, the new kid at school who suddenly makes her work to be the best, something she's always taken for granted. I loved that rather than being a simple foil for Victoria, he is a complex - and highly sympathetic - character himself. Following Max's unwelcome (mostly) presence in her life are other major changes, and soon Victoria is questioning many of her assumptions, suddenly finding herself at odds with people she's been taking for granted.
I loved the LA setting, and the fact that her father is a special effects artist for movies, and the way that the book explores Victoria's relationship with her divorced parents throughout the story. There is humor that keeps the book from becoming ponderously emotional, and the characters are always believable in their dialogue and motivations. I adored this book, and I am looking forward to reading everything else by Castellucci that I can get my hands on.
Boy Proof by Cecil Castellucci (Candlewick Press, 2011)
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Bookshelves of Doom: "I fell for this book immediately."
Cynsations: "What I like best about Boy Proof is how fresh and dynamic Egg/Victoria is. Another author might've toned her down, made her safer, more typical somehow. Instead, Miss Cecil writes with courage and reveals E/V for the dynamic, intelligent, out-of-this-world girl that she is."
Jen Robinson's Book Page: "I think that anyone who has ever felt that sense of otherness while in school will be able to relate to Egg on one level or another."