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I find it hilarious that I actually read this. No offense to contemporaries, but I seriously find you incredibly clichéd and dull. Of course there are exceptions, such as Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door and Thirteen Reasons Why. Regardless, all of the other contemporaries I've ever tried have me lose hope for them, *cough, cough* Sarah Dessen books *cough, cough*. Because of my usual distaste of YA contemporaries, I tend to avoid reading them. Unfortunately, I randomly picked up That Boy and enjoyed it.
The wonderful thing about That Boy is how romance does not overwhelm the whole plot. Instead, the romance is subtle as Jayden grows and matures from a little innocent girl to a strong, independent woman. Honestly, the romance seems so to be a secondary plot device compared to to the journey Jayden is forced to go through. The beginning and the ending are only scenes that are truly have their attention focused entirely on the love triangle between Jayden, Phillip and Danny.
Love triangles are usually overrated by long shots. Look at Twilight for an instance; everyone knew that Jacob had no chance compared to Edward. Don't even get started on The Mortal Instruments' love triangle between Clary, Jace and Simon. Simon was already a lost cause eons ago. That Boy has a love triangle that is subtle, but incredibly deep, similar to The Infernal Devices' love triangle between Tessa, Will and Jem. Each of the bonds between the characters is incredible. I cannot tell anyone how the relationships between all of the characters made me feel the joy and pain they went through.
The only complaint I can really think of that I have against That Boy is its tendency to skip around Jayden's childhood. I do not mean that the events are not in chronological order; seriously, they are. I was a little annoyed with That Boy's tendency to jump from event to event without listing the time between each event listed in the book. It does not seriously affect the reader's take on the book, but it would be nice to see what age Jayden was for the events, instead of just hearing the landmarks of "elementary school," "middle school, "high school," and "university." I just find it incredibly irritating if we cannot determine Jayden's age at different points of time, especially since That Boy covers a whole chunk of Jayden's childhood.
That Boy is the wonderful ride Jayden is forced to take her to love, sorrow and happily ever after. Jayden is a wonderful narrator, when the book starts out, she is just a little girl and her narration suits her age; maturing after each hardship in Jayden's life. Even a contemporary hater, like me, enjoyed That Boy immensely and plan to read the sequel, That Wedding, soon.
Angie @YA Novelties