Oh Boy, Mallory. by Laurie Friedman. February 1, 2012. Lerner Publishing Group. 160 pages. ISBN: 9780761360728
In Oh Boy, Mallory, Mallory McDonald starts writing in a diary after she learns through the school grapevine that an older boy has a crush on her. This news is both exciting and bewildering, and Mallory turns to her new diary to help her sort out her feelings and decide what to do. As usual, her decisions are not completely well thought-out, and she winds up owing quite a few apologies, but her heart is in the right place, and she learns yet another valuable lesson about growing up.
I love the Mallory books, so I hate to say that this one disappointed me, but it did a little bit. Mainly I’m confused as to why we once again have to revisit the issue of boys and crushes, when just two books ago, in Mallory's Guide to Boys, Brothers, Dads, and Dogs, Mallory determined she wasn’t ready to be interested in boys yet. I agree that the subject matter is interesting to girls in the book’s target audience, and I loved reading Mallory’s secret diary, but it just felt very inconsistent to me, as though I’d missed something in the last couple of books.
Another issue is Mary Anne’s personality. In the past, she has always been a reliable and level-headed best friend, but in this book she does nothing but egg Mallory on, and encourage her to start a relationship with this boy who supposedly likes her. Half of the mistakes Mallory makes in this book happen at Mary Anne’s insistence, which seemed completely out of character for her.
I feel like this series is trying to remain relevant as Mallory ages, which is important, because ten-year-olds have different concerns than eight-year-olds, and it makes sense that Mallory’s interests will change as she grows up. I like the fact that Mallory is getting older and that she turns to a diary to say things she can’t say to anyone else. I kept a journal when I was younger, and I can remember exactly how it felt to sit in my bedroom writing furiously about my first crush. I just hope the Mallory series won’t become permanently obsessed with boys. There is lots more to being a girl than pining away for boys, and I like the series best when it focuses on a variety of life experiences and lessons.
I received a digital ARC of Oh Boy, Mallory from Netgalley.