ARC Book Review: This Is My Brain on Boys by Sarah Strohmeyer

Posted April 26, 2016 by Debby in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from Publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC Book Review: This Is My Brain on Boys by Sarah StrohmeyerThis Is My Brain on Boys by Sarah Strohmeyer
Published by Balzer + Bray on May 10th, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss

Addie Emerson doesn’t believe in love, at least for herself. A straightlaced, brilliant girl, she’s more interested in getting an A than falling in love. But Addie is determined to prove the science of love—because Addie Emerson does believe in science.

Science tells her that “love” is nothing more than the brain’s state under the influence of certain chemicals. And by artificially stimulating those chemicals, the brain can totally be tricked into falling in love. So Addie decides to apply that knowledge—and make her classmates fall in love—to win the coveted Athenian Award for Science in her elite private school. One way to speed up the process—adrenaline—she’ll put her classmates in dangerous, high-risk situations . . . and research the fallout.

But a mysterious new guy keeps messing with her plans. And she kind of can’t stop thinking about his gorgeous brown eyes. With backstabbing competitors—including her former lab partner, the preppy, wealthier-than-thou Dex—and more than one pair of star-crossed lovers—can Addie manage to salvage her experiment and win the Athenian? And what happens if she does the unthinkable—and falls in love?

1 Stars

My fond memories of Sarah Strohmeyer’s Smart Girls Get What They Want were immediately evoked when I heard her newest title: This Is My Brain on Boys. Nerdy cute contemporaries are my jam, you might say. But whereas her debut novel was charming, fun, and practically perfect, this book was… not. Uh oh.

The premise of this book sure was a promising one. You have a main character who doesn’t believe in love. She wants to research the biological aspect of it though, with a theory that any two people can fall in love if they’re put into high risk, high stress situations. Heck, she basically tried it out on her best friend and it worked. Now she wants to replicate it to build her case and win the Athenian Award. Throw in herself falling in love along the way, and this book could have been perfect.

Here’s the thing if you’re writing a book about nerdy characters: they can rather understandably come off as a bit sheltered and naive because of a lack of “real world” knowledge and experiences. Not always. But it’s a risk you take. Especially when the story is about them being exposed to new situations outside of their books. But that inexperience and naivety can work against you. In the case of Addie, at first it was charming and pretty relatable in a nostalgic way… and then it continued… and her voice began to sound younger and dumber.

Part of that certainly is because of the romance though. You know. You know from page one that they’re into each other – not only because they’re the main characters. But she’s so naive about it. She’s naive about her own feelings and his for the large majority of the book, even when other people spell it out for her and pretty much just assume they’re a couple and everything. Then she’s still like, “Oh, I dunno….” This does not really fit with a smart girl. A smart girl, even a book-smart “doesn’t get the real world” type girl, would have figured it out earlier. It started cute and became utterly ridiculous.

But the science, after its fun and quirky introduction, also quickly went downhill. The experiment she does, involving one girl and two guys (one being Kris, Addie’s love interest), has a control love interest and an experimental love interest. The latter (Kris) and the girl get thrust into adrenaline-filled activities. But this experiment has SO MANY FLAWS I could get intensely nerdy explaining all of them to you. First off, there’s no way to really account for inherent attraction/repulsion. Addie cannot control the subjects from meeting outside of their experiments, which they obviously would do as they go to the same school. Addie starts getting involved herself when the girl gets too chicken to participate in some of the activities. And obviously she and Kris are attracted to each other from the get go. And after ALL OF THAT, her experiment rightly gets called into question and she still goes on with it, convinced she can prove her theory.

Fuck. That.

You’re supposed to be fucking smart. What even is this. Any reasonable scientist would want to shoot themselves over the flaws in this experiment – and she certainly “seemed” to be that much into science. She practically sounded like a teenage female Sheldon Cooper at the beginning of the book. Sheldon Cooper would die before ever attempting any of this.

You know, my original rating for this one was quite a bit higher. But this has turned out to be one of those books where, the longer you think about it, the more angry you get. This book just isn’t right. There were a few cute scenes and humorous bits of dialogue at the start, but it all went downhill from there. Ugh. Why, book? You could have been so much more. 🙁

Summing Up:

I am so upset right now. This Is My Brain on Boys has an A+ title and a concept that absolutely should have worked for me. But it didn’t. The main character was simultaneously a genius and a fucking idiot. The romance was kind of cute at first, but then it dragged on and on and I stopped caring. But the science. If you’re going to have science be such a focal point of your story, you can’t fuck around this much with the scientific method. In the name of the world’s smart girls, I’m insulted.

GIF it to me straight!

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One response to “ARC Book Review: This Is My Brain on Boys by Sarah Strohmeyer

  1. Yep, yep, yep. I totally agree with you on this one. I was pretty excited for this book, but it fell pretty flat for me. I didn’t rate it quite so low as you did, I still gave it a three, but I’m hard pressed to rate anything below a three. Too easily pleased, haha. But my concerns were exactly the same as yours: Addie’s scientific literalness 100% of the time was not working and the experiment was clearly off from the get-go. Sadness.