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.
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?
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.