My book review of 'Boys Don't Cry' by Malorie Blackman

by Malorie Blackman
Recommended age: Teenage
Boys Don't Cry
by Malorie Blackman

Dante is listening out for the postman bringing his A level results. He's quietly confident and looking forward to university but when the doorbell rings, he's surprised to see an ex-girlfriend with a baby and life suddenly takes a completely different path.

Melanie says she needs Dante to mind the baby for a couple of hours, but she never comes back. It's up to Dante to look after the little girl.

This book has plenty of 'issues'. Dante and his brother Adam live with their Dad. Their mother died some years ago. Adam is coming to terms with being gay. There is homophobia and attempted suicide. Oh yes, and teenage pregnancy.

The story moves along at a good pace, perhaps a little too swiftly. After the initial, understandable shock, Dante quickly seems to bond with the little girl, and all three men cope seamlessly with looking after a small child. But the characters are convincing and you keep turning the pages, intrigued to find out what happens next.

But who is the reader for this book? Just like 'Slam' by Nick Hornby, it provides a convincing, gripping and optimistic presentation of teenage pregnancy from the boy's perspective. Would boys choose to read such stories? And, despite both authors' pedigrees, I would doubt many parents would buy a book with this content for their sons. It would be a shame, though, if this book were only read in book groups or for school or library discussions; it may focus on 'issues' but it's still a good read.

Teenage readers.

Review date: May 2011