Book review

Boy Proof by Cecil Castellucci (2005)

Have you ever pretended to be someone else so that you don't have to be yourself? I know I have. Sometimes it can be quite wearing just being yourself, especially if you are feeling uneasy about someone or something. If you can just be someone else for a while it relieves the pressure.

Victoria likes to be Egg, quite a lot of the time. Egg is the heroine of Victoria's favourite sci-fi movie. Egg wears a white cloak, shaves her head and colours her eyebrows. And so does Victoria - so actually she does stand out in a crowd.But Eggtoriais so uncomfortable being herself that she hardly bothers any more. When she isn't being Egg she just clams up, becomes invisible in the crowded changing rooms:

I slide my eyes over to the girls who know how to stand nonchalantly in underwear, just chatting. The group includes Nelly and Inez. Nelly's leg is up on the bench between the lockers and she is rubbing glitter lotion onto her calves.
How did girls like that become so comfortable with their bodies? How did I miss out on that lesson?
I am uncomfortable in this body.
I cannot wear a cute tank top with confidence.
I listen like a fly on the wall. It doesn't matter to them that I'm there. Because I'm the Invisible Girl.

Actually, Eggtoria lives in an excruciating isolation of self-consciousness, and while she may be an extreme case, I think we all recognise a little of what she's going through.

She'll grow out of it, most likely, in due course. What this story is about is how shemeets Max Carter at school and loathes him, and how she comes to change her mind about that and plenty of other things, with a little help from Max, and all her other friends.

I absolutely loved this story. I was utterly charmed by the all the characters, all believable and all lovable. Couldn't put it down. Highly recommended!

What can I read next?

This is a first book from author Cecil Castellucci, and I think it is brilliant.

If you are interested insocial isolation have a look at this classic by David Klass, about domestic breakdown:

Or this strong story about family interaction by Joyce Carol Oates:

You might also enjoy this excellent story by Keith Gray about young people in trouble:

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