. Athena's Books: A Novel Idea...for Getting a Boy
Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Novel Idea...for Getting a Boy

After about two grueling weeks of screenwriting and fiction classes, I am finally getting around to reviewing something! I’ve been swamped with this historical epic I’m writing as a screenplay. I won’t even tell you about it because it will make my head hurt…think Gladiator, Braveheart, and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Well…This week I’m writing about A Novel Idea by Aimee Friedman. It is definitely a light read, but it is highly refreshing for all those of you who love the basic YA romance.

It has an anti-romance protagonist who loves books, a poet who is good looking on second glance, and a book club made up of the most random group of teens you can think of…booklover, poet, sci-fi enthusiast, glamour girl, gay best friend, and aspiring pastry chef. Kind of reminds me of the classic 80’s movie, The Breakfast Club. For you millennial/ Y2K babies, the movie was about a random groups of teens…teen socialite, teen outcast, teen rebel, etc. who faced one day together in detention. It’s a classic, but not one of my favorites. I’d rather see A Novel Idea as a movie. I think it’d be a hit.

As you would guess, there are various hook-ups that I cannot tell you about because then I’d ruin the whole story for you. But, here are some things of interest: Norah Bloom attends a Manhattan high school in Greenwich Village named after Edna St. Vincent Millay (yes, named after the poet who had numerous love affairs) and has never been kissed. She hates romance and mushy subway couples and is really glad she lives in a funky, Brooklyn neighborhood with indie bookstores and coffee shops. Her two places of refuge are the comfy sofas of the Book Nook (where she hangs out with her friend to drink lattes and watch the hot guy working the register) and her the home version of the Book Nook in her own bedroom (equipped with a hidden stash of trashy romance novels under the bed). Norah will never admit to reading these books as most people peg her as someone who only reads books with more literary merit. And, no one knows she is using one of those trashy romance novels (with the title How to Catch a Duke) as a guidebook on how to get a guy, or rather, a poet who is on the same wave length as Norah when it comes to anything relating to books and poetry.

Hmmm…what do you suppose happens?

Aimee Friedman really knows teenagers, and she has them pegged to a “T,” from the way they dress to the things they like to read, including mention of Eragon, Gossip Girl, and even the more literary acclaimed The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. She even mentions her own novel, South Beach, in a string of “chick-lit” books favored by the glamour girl of the book club. Aimee knows what she writes and has enough down-to-earthness to slightly poke fun at herself. In writing Norah’s voice, Aimee Friedman stays true to the voice of any teenage girl looking for that right guy.

I would’ve liked to have seen the blending of a specific book club novel into the plot, especially since the title is A Novel Idea. But, that is just a minor detail and more than makes up for it with her quirky cast of characters.

I have two pieces of advice for Norah and any other young girl out there reading this…

Advice from a 36 year old woman:

1. Never write love letters to yourself from some cute boy who doesn’t exist

2. If it ever looks like a poet or any other good-looking guy is about to kiss you, just grab him and do it.

One of my favorite quotes from A Novel Idea:

Good books and cute boys all at once?

While I was still in high school?

Not possible.