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Kitchen Table Reviews: Bobby vs. Girls (Accidentally)

Bobby's former best friend turns all the girls against him in this story guaranteed to appeal to tweens of both genders.

By Mir Kamin | September 4 , 2009
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<i>Bobby vs. Girls (Accidentally)</i> by Lisa Yee
Bobby vs. Girls (Accidentally) by Lisa Yee

When I saw Bobby vs. Girls (Accidentally) , I knew I had to pick it up for my son. Back when we’d reviewed another of Lisa Yee’s books, So Totally Emily Ebers, we’d done it as a “girls only” review because the subject matter seemed both a bit too mature and decidedly “girly.” This book, though, centers on a male protagonist in 4th grade, so I expected my male 4th-grader to love it. What I didn’t expect was how much my female middle-schooler and I would enjoy it, too!

Me: What did you think of this one?

Son: I thought it was great—Bobby just wants to be a regular kid, and there’s lots of reasons he finds that hard. Like, his dad is famous. And he wants a dog but he’s allergic to them. And his best friend isn’t his best friend anymore and she’s making all the girls hate him!

Daughter: I love everything Lisa Yee writes. I don’t know what it is, but the way she tells stories you really feel like you’re right inside the main character’s head.

Me: Did you feel like this was too young for you?

Daughter: No, I really didn’t, even though they’re all in fourth grade. I did kind of want to know what Holly [the female main character] thought about some of this, too, but it’s all from Bobby’s point of view.

Me: But this is Lisa Yee, who wrote the same story from three different points of view in three different books… so maybe there’ll be a book from Holly’s point of view, sometime.

Daughter: That’s true! That’d be cool. I would read that. Also, Holly totally reminded me of girls I know.

Me:  You mean the whole frenemy thing?

Daughter: Totally.

Me: What was your favorite part?

Son: I liked the way Bobby was with his little sister. They were funny together.

Me: I liked that, too. You don’t often see a kid in a book being nice to his little sister like that! Daughter: I liked how it ended up being this whole girls vs. boys thing and Bobby seemed really confused about how that even happened. The whole classroom election thing was really realistic, I thought.

Me: I liked how Bobby’s dad is such a terrible cook. I thought that was sort of a cute sidebar, a running gag through the whole story about his burnt cookies and stuff. It wasn’t central to the story but it was an added touch.

Son: Oh! And I really liked the pictures. It made it sort of comic book-y here and there.

All in all, this one is a great read for ages 8-12.

Pros: Manages to be universal enough to appeal to nearly everyone. Dan Santat’s excellent illustrations add another dimension to the story. Positive sibling relationships.

Cons: Many cringe-worthy moments. Friends being mean to each other. Allergies.

Bobby vs. Girls (Accidentally) gets three thumbs from two girls and one boy at our kitchen table.

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