Book Review: This Is My Brain on Boys
By: Sarah Strohmeyer
Published By: Balzer & Bray
Publication Date: May 10, 2016
Page Count: 352
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via Edelweiss
Audience: Young Adult - Contemporary
Addie Emerson is a teen genius who is obsessed with the brain. She spends her days reading neuroscience journal articles and focusing on her experiment. Addie strongly believes that she can force people to fall in love by putting them into dangerous situations. Her first successful matchmaking scheme brought together her best friend, Tess, and Ed, a guy who had been pining for her, but had been largely ignored. Addie is attempting to recreate her results with new subjects in order to compete for a prestigious scholarship that will make her shoo in for Harvard acceptance.
On her way back to her prestigious boarding school, Addie meets Kris during a particularly scary flight full of turbulence and a cabin fire. Addie feels an instant attraction to Kris, but she convinces herself it's all due to the adrenaline coursing through her veins due to the flight. She soon learns that Kris attends the same school as her, but she can't quite place why she knows him. Once the pair ends up on the ground, Addie invites Kris to tag along with her back to campus. Tess and Ed are less than thrilled to see Kris as they know that he was involved in the lab vandalism last school year. The vandalism felt like a personal attack against Addie and her lab partner, Dexter. Tess fears how Addie will react once she figures out Kris' identity.
Addie and Kris form a fragile truce as he becomes one of her test subjects in her experiment. As the two are around one another more and more, their relationship evolves.
I did find that Addie was hard to like at times. She was so smart and literal that there were moments when she was off-putting. In many ways, Addie is socially awkward which makes it difficult to connect with her. I also had moments where I felt inadequate because Addie's science jargon went right over my head. I glazed over when she got into specifics about her experiment and neuroscience. Her relationships with Tess, Ed, and Kris make her seem more relatable.
Overall, this is a sweet, cute contemporary that is full of the typical charm I expect from a Strohmeyer novel. I can't read her stuff without a smile. While this one isn't my favorite Strohmeyer novel (that honor is still held by Smart Girls Get What They Want), I did enjoy it and would recommend it to those who enjoy a clean, sweet summery romance. The blurb relates this one to Jane Austen's Emma, which I think is spot on now that I have finished it. Although, I don't think Emma used science to help in her matchmaking skills.
One Last Gripe: I was frustrated by the relationship between Addie and Dexter.
Favorite Things About This Book: The strong friendships and the humor
First Sentence: It is an accepted scientific fact that the brain of the average adolescent male thinks about girls every seven heartbeats.
Favorite Character: Tess
Least Favorite Character: Kara
Jane Austen’s Emma meets The Rosie Project in this quirky, irresistible, romantic comedy from Sarah Strohmeyer, the author of Smart Girls Get What They Want.
Addie Emerson doesn’t believe in love. Not for herself anyway. With one year left of high school, she’s more interested in snagging a full scholarship to Harvard than a full-time boyfriend.
That doesn’t mean she’s oblivious to the ways of the heart. Or, rather, the head. Because after months of research, Addie has discovered how to make anyone fall in love. All you need is the secret formula.
But will her discovery be enough to win the coveted Athenian Award and all its perks? (See above, full scholarship to Harvard.) Or will she be undone by Dexter, her backstabbing lab partner, who is determined to deep-six her experiments at their exclusive private school?
Those are the least of her problems now that she’s survived a death-defying flight with a mysterious, dark-haired boy, who has delicious chocolate-brown eyes and a few secrets of his own.
With an experiment to mastermind, an infatuated exchange student on her hands, and at least one great white shark (more on that later), can Addie’s prefrontal cortex outwit her heart? Or will she have to give in to her amygdala and find out, once and for all, if this thing called love is more than just her brain on drugs?