Ariel "El" Marini is having trouble adjusting to her new life. Her family's apartment and her new public school are completely different from her old, luxurious home and private school. One person, however, has made her life bearable: Eric Callahan. El's had a crush on Eric since she moved, but there's one problem: Eric has a girlfriend. Then, one day, a new boy comes to town, Dylan. Dylan's a quiet, artistic type, and he has his eyes set on El. So, who will El end up with, Eric or Dylan? And can El finally come to grips with her new life?
Ever since I heard of this book, I wanted to read it. Even all the negative reviews did not steer me away. Either I'm stubborn, or I wanted to form my own opinion. My own opinion mirrors that of the negative reviews: I had problems with this novel.
I wanted this novel to be a light-hearted love story, with some family elements, maybe a cross between Isabelle's Boyfriend and Little Black Lies. Unfortunately, I did not get that. From the summary, readers are led to believe that El's new life is a recent change. Once I began reading, I learned that the change was over a year ago. I really just wanted to scream, "GET OVER IT," it meaning El's new life and her crush on Eric. I found El to be a selfish and shallow character, and I just could not find any sympathy for her.
Karen Tayleur throws a major twist towards the end of the novel. The twist took me by a complete surprise, and I was literally sobbing at it. After I finished crying, however, I was left scratching my head. I could not find an actual purpose for the twist, other than to shock readers. The twist made some of El's actions throughout the novel more understandable, but I feel like Tayleur could have added more depth to the book if readers knew of the twist from the beginning. Instead, Tayleur decided to veer readers on a completely different path, only to reveal the truth at the end. I do not want it to sound like I dislike twists because I generally enjoy them. Chasing Boys was just not a book that would have benefited from one.
Having said that, the fact that I cried must have meant that I had some sort of emotional connections to the characters. I realized that El was not as selfish and shallow as I once thought. Overall, I just wish Tayleur would have developed El more throughout the novel, rather than just waiting for the twist to explain everything. On a more positive note, the romance elements were fun, even if they were predictable, but I would not pick up Chasing Boys just for the romance. I have read many books that do romance better.
Even though my opinion mirrored the negative reviews, I do not regret picking up this novel. Making your own opinions is important, and if this book seems interesting, you should pick it up. Maybe you will enjoy the twist (and book) more than I did. :)
Karen Tayleur's Site
I won this book through a contest.