cover image The Boy of My Dreams

The Boy of My Dreams

Dyan Sheldon. Candlewick Press (MA), $16.99 (208pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-0004-4

In Sheldon's (Tall, Thin, and Blonde) uninspired novel of teenage romance, starry-eyed girls still fall for god-like boys (who inevitably turn out to be jerks), blind to the fact they have more in common with a less charismatic, but more sincere ""boy next door."" Incurable romantic Michelle (Mike) Brindisi, a reptile fanatic, falls for dreamboat Bill Copeland, a college student who waits tables at a chic French cafe. The boy-next-door--well, actually in the next seat to Mike's in school--is blues guitarist Bobby Bone. Readers may lose sympathy for the passion-filled heroine after a series of unlikely coincidences brings her into the arms of Bill and causes her to promptly drop her friends. Once hormones have settled, Mike realizes her mistake. A cute ending finds Mike crashing her grocery cart into the ""real"" boy of her dreams, but strained narrative diminishes the book's authenticity. Mike, whose second date comes at age 16, appears too naive for her age. Other characters (Mike's single, liberated plumber mother, for example) are self-consciously modern or off-beat. Although these themes remain relevant for contemporary teens, most will have already heard what this book has to say. Ages 11-15. (Aug.)