The Boyfriend League
Speaking of attention, Rachel Hawthorne's bubblegum page-turner of a YA novel, The Boyfriend League, will not keep one's attention for long, but it's the perfect beach read for your fave preteen. Dani and her friend Bird are baseball fans, so they convince their families to host players from a college team for the summer. Hoping, of course, to find themselves boyfriends. Which (wait for it, big shocker coming) they do. Interestingly, it's Dani's apparently predictably shallow sister Tiffany who actually provides some of the more surprising content, not by becoming deep, but simply by refusing to over-dramatize the boy troubles that threaten to come between her sister and herself. Dani at first hooks up with Mac, who is all style and no substance. In fact, Mac turns out to be just about Tiffany's speed. Fortunately, Jason is waiting in the wings of Dani's own house to be her best boyfriend ever (obligatory squeee). While Dani's crush on the gorgeous player Jason is reiterated often enough, it's never clear what makes him appealing beyond physical attraction, though (of course) a deeper connection is implied. Hawthorne's writing is just far enough away from total stereotype to make this worth recommending, at least to the budding romance reader.
I do wish there were a few more preteen-aimed novels in which physical attraction turns out not to be the harbinger of something deeper. It would be fun to read about a romance in which the two attractants totally misjudged the situation and cannot, in the end, stand one another. But that wouldn't sell paperbacks.
In other news, I'm volunteering to do a little stage-management planning for a production called Aquatown: A Future Hydro History. I feel honored to be included, despite my very limited time and energy, so thank you Andrea!