Published October 20th 2015 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Format read: ARC via publisher
Katie's dad and Drew's mom are running against each other for President of the United States. Their parents' debates may be tense, but when sixteen-year-old Katie and Drew meet at a media interview, romantic tension is palpable. They fall hard for each other . . . until tabloid rumors drive them apart. Things for the exes get sticky when their parents ask them to pretend to be a happy couple to increase their poll ratings over a third-party candidate. Can they pull off a fake romance? And with an attraction this strong, maybe there's no pretending to fall back in love—they can't help but fall for real!
Red Girl, Blue Boy is a frank and funny romance that shows how the sparks fly when opposites attract.
On paper, the premise for Red Girl, Blue Boy is sound: sixteen-year-olds Drew and Katie's parents are running for president. Drew's mom is a Democrat, and Katie's father is a Republican, so they're bound to hate each other, right? Nope.
Instead, thanks to some random twists of fate, the two of them end up befriending each other after an awkward TV interview and falling for each other. But like anything in politics, their lives are public. So how can the two of them date, when their parents are running against each other for the highest office in land?
Well.. it would have been, if it wasn't for the sheer cluelessness of Katie's character. Katie, is in a word, unrealistic.
While I can definitely understand what Lauren Baratz-Logsted was trying to achieve with Katie's single-minded focus on politics, she failed pretty hard. Rather than a rigid, laser-focused character who only lives and breathes the idea of winning at all costs, (think Reese Witherspoon in Election), Baraz-Logstead gave us a girl who is moderately educated about PR decorum, but so clueless about the actual PR/policy aspects of politics and normal teenaged life, it was actually a little painful to read.
E.g. Baratz-Logsted tries to have us believe that Katie is a political dynamo, who quotesThe Godfather to her father, and gives him the idea for a winning strategy for an earlier campaign, in one of the flashbacks/recollections in the book.
While this is moderately believable - though, in reality, her father would have been spending WAY more money for WAY better political advice, especially for a congressional campaign - Katie immediately counters any common sense by admitting later in the book that she's never gone shopping before, and also admitting that she gets love advice from movies like High School Musical.
No, just no. I think even the most introverted of people would find this silly. Even if Katie never got out and experienced life, there are such things like online ordering and Netflix. She'd know about teenaged life, even if she never experienced it for herself.
SO it was definitely difficult to see the fairly well-adjusted Drew fall for her, and even more difficult to see how the American public would buy their relationship. Also, throw in the fact that Baraz-Logsted clearly has no idea how a political campaign works...
This wasn't the book for me. If you want a great political YA book, go check out The Wrong Side of Right.
Can't recommend, unless you are seriously hoping for a brain candy fix.
About the author:
LAUREN BARATZ-LOGSTED is the author of more than twenty books for adults, teens, and young readers, including Little Women & Me, The Twin's Daughter,Crazy Beautiful, and the Sisters 8 series, which she co-writes with her husband and daughter. Find her online at www.laurenbaratzlogsted.com and on Twitter @LaurenBaratzL.