Boys Don’t Cry is a YA novel by Malorie Blackman. It was published by Doubleday Childrens (Random House) on 28th October 2010 and is 320 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy for review.
Seventeen year old Dante is eagerly awaiting the postman’s arrival. He’s about to deliver some much anticipated A Level results. Results which could change his life and give him the chance to make something of himself. Instead of the postman ringing the doorbell though, Melanie, Dante’s ex girlfriend does and she isn’t on her own.
Dante hasn’t seen Melanie since she left school and disappeared and he realises how much she has changed, especially since she has a baby with her. A baby she soon tells him is his daughter, Emma. Forced to look after the baby while Melanie goes to the shops, Dante is far from comfortable but he soon realises that Melanie isn’t coming back. Dante’s life is about to change completely but not in the way he had planned.
What I thought
Boys Don’t Cry is the first book I have ever read by Malorie Blackman but I would certainly read her others books after finishing this one. I had heard good things about it but really wasn’t all that sure what to expect because it didn’t sound like something I would generally pick myself. I was very surprised when I realised just how much I loved this book though and I couldn’t put it down. It is told from the points of view of main character Dante and his younger brother although there is no pattern to who has which chapter.
Dante was a wonderful character and one I could easily connect with. Although I didn’t have the same problems as he did, I did have a plan at his age but it wasn’t one that worked out. A long term boyfriend among other things go in the way of my plans so I could understand how it felt to have your world shattered. Dante is very smart and wants more out of life than what the town he lives in can offer. I loved how sensible he thought he was being and also how proud of himself he was when he worked so hard to pass his A levels a year earlier than he should have.
The way that he learns about his daughter, Emma, was very realistic and reacted exactly how I would have imagined. To begin with, all he can feel is shock but his feelings soon change. Dante has a lot to think about once he has Emma to think about but he isn’t so sure that he will be able to cope, especially considering that he has a hard time even looking at her sometimes. He was far from perfect from the very start and it was so nice to see his both his strengths and weaknesses.
Once Dante is left with Emma, the story begins to show just how hard being a single parent can be, even if you do have family to help and support you. Dante’s father, although being disappointed in his son, quickly learns to love Emma and accept her for who she is, as does Dante’s brother Adam. Dante can’t quite understand how these feelings of love can come so easily to the other members of his family because he is having such a hard time dealing with what is happening. Although I loved Dante, Adam was my favourite character. He brought a lot of humour and a different feel to his parts of the story. He also adds a lot of darkness at the same time though as he is dealing with his own problems. Adam goes through so much himself that it would have been nice to hear more from him or maybe for him to have a book himself. I would love to know more about what he does next about certain situations and generally.
What I loved so much about this book was the fact that nothing is ever sugar coated about being a teenage parent, let alone being a single teenage parent. I really liked the fact that this was told from a boys point of view as it isn’t something we generally hear about very much. So many issues like dating, sexuality, family relationships and dealing with your feelings are intertwined in the story and because of them, I think a lot of teenagers (and adults) could learn something from reading this book. It also really shows what it means to be a parent and take responsibilities for your actions. Although Dante starts off on shaky grounds, he certainly redeems himself with his actions later as the story goes on.
The ending is wrapped up very nicely, not leaving much unanswered. I say not much because there are always after thoughts when it comes to books about teenagers. Boys Don’t Cry works extremely well as a stand alone novel but also leaves room for there to be more books about what comes next. I really couldn’t fault anything about this book and I loved every single word. It made me laugh but also made my cry, bringing so many different emotions out in me. If you don’t think that this is your kind of book, think again and give it a chance. I wasn’t expecting it to thoroughly love it but I did.