cover image What Boys Really Want

What Boys Really Want

Pete Hautman. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-545-11315-1

Hautman (The Big Crunch) demonstrates the gulf between male and female perspectives by alternating between the first-person narratives of high school juniors Adam and Lita, whose friendship is put through the wringer thanks to miscommunication, jealousy, and plagiarism. When Adam decides to write a book about what boys want and how they think, it drives a wedge between him and Lita, with Lita annoyed that Adam is trampling on her dream of becoming a writer (the very idea that he write an advice book was hers to begin with). But Adam discovers that writing a book is harder than he thought, so he ends up stealing content from the Web, including Lita’s snarky, anonymous dating-advice blog. When Adam self-publishes his book, their conflict explodes. Hautman captures the angst, awkwardness, and joy of crushes and first dates with humor and heart, as Adam, Lita, and their friends fumble their way into relationships. Despite Adam’s overall haplessness, he gets one thing right: “Nearly all problems between the sexes can be boiled down to one thing: mistaken assumptions.” Hautman proves this to be true again and again. Ages 13–18. Agent: Flannery Literary. (Jan.)