Monday, August 1, 2011

Gender Blender by Blake Nelson

Gender Blender is a treasure from my childhood. I remember reading it when I was in 4th or 5th grade and LOVED it. It was one of my favorite books. Now that I'm almost in 10th grade, I decided to go back and re-read this book that I had loved so much.

Gender Blender

This story is about a 6th grade girl and boy named Emma and Tom.

Emma hates boys. Except for the adorable Jeff Matthews, of course. She loves school, gets straight A's (except for that one B last year), and is involved in countless after-school activities like gymnastics and piano lessons.

Tom hates girls. Except Kelly, who is extremely developed and curvy. No one expects too much of him, so he spends his time goofing off with his friends or practicing for the baseball tryouts.

Emma and Tom used to be good friends, but now they're older and of COURSE everyone knows that once boys and girls get to a certain age, they just don't stay friends anymore! Duhhh obviously :P

After an unfortunate accident, they find themselves in each other's bodies. They only have four days to understand the opposite sex and break the curse, or they will be stuck in each other's bodies forever.

In 5th grade, I loved this book. I liked the plot of it and how the girl and the boy have to work together so that the curse will be broken. It's fun, creative, and an interesting view into a boy's mind. I found it hilarious about the different situations they were put into.

Now, 5 years later, I still like the creative plot and yes the situations are quite entertaining. But the characters are SO stereotyped. I don't like books or characters I can't relate to, and there were a lot of things I can't relate to about this book.

First of all, Emma and Tom are supposed to be in 6th grade. They're pretty much at the boys-are-disgusting and girls-have-cooties stage. The girls have formed a group called the Grrlzillas, where they discuss their sisterhood and how much they don't like boys. Now maybe I was just a mature 6th grader, but I do NOT remember chasing around any boys or being in any girl clubs. Maybe when I was like in 3rd grade, but not 6th! At some times, the characters seem a lot younger than they actually are, but at others, they seem much older. Brad draws pictures of naked girls. Tom spends all day trying to look at Kelly's breasts because she just "spills out of her shirt". Okay, you're in 6th grade, like seriously?

 And when Emma (in Tom's body) gets a boner, how far does that thing really stick up? She claims it was like a "small rodent" sitting on her lap. Let's say that Emma wasn't wearing any pants or boxers, and then there was only a thin sheet covering her. Yes, I can understand that. But I'm pretty sure she wasn't. She was most likely wearing boxers, pajama pants, and a thin sheet (if not more) over that. Now, that must have been pretty massive erection for a 6th grader to have stood up THAT much, if you know what I mean.

The entire book was pretty much like this for me, hard to relate-to and understand, since I had been in most of the situations Tom and Emma had. After living through them, it's hard for me to find them realistic. By page 10 I was rolling my eyes and considering not finishing the book. However, it was too entertaining to leave unfinished.

I found the chapter titles extremely silly, and show exactly who the age group this book is targeted for. Examples: Morning Wood, Tom's First Naked Girl, Emma Likes Jeff!, Tom Gets A Little Trampoline Action, How 2 P, Tom Gets An Eyeful. So you can basically get a feel for the book by reading those chapter titles I've given you.

I would recommend this book to a mature 4th grader, or a 5th grader. Anyone over the age of 7th grade will probably be able to see how unrealistic and stereo-typical this book is from real life. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad book. It's actually an enjoyable, hilarious one. Just not for the age that I am now. So yes, I would recommend this book to a pre-teen, but not a teenager. Thank you Blake Nelson, for writing such a great book for my pre-teen self.

When I read it in 5th grade, it was definitely a 5 star book, but now, it's more of a 2. So, for my final grade, I will average the two and come up with a 3.5 out of 5 stars. Normally on my Goodreads reviews, I will round up (ex. I would round to give this book 4 stars), but I think that's a little too deserving for a book I found myself scoffing at the entire time, so 3 stars for my Goodreads review. :)

Happy reading everyone! <3

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