Finley and her best friend Maya thought it would be a cute idea to categorize the boys in their middle-school classroom according to how they behaved. Tadpoles were boys who still acted immature for their age, croakers were showing signs of maturity, and frogs were fully-developed, able to talk to girls without their voices breaking or making some insensitive remark. But things get confusing for Finley when Maya doesn’t seem to be interested in the list anymore and a boy she thought was kicked out of school the year before returns. In Finley’s opinion, Zachary jumped from tadpole to frog in the time he was gone. But when Finley’s list goes public, war breaks out between the boys and the girls. Finley will have to get creative to bring peace back to her school.
The (Almost) Perfect Guide to Imperfect Boys by Barbara Dee does a good job capturing the confusing time that is middle school. Boys and girls who used to play together in elementary school suddenly find that the rules have changed as they become interested in each other in a whole new way. But it’s confusing to both sexes. They are likely to wonder how to act around each other.
The boys are understandably outraged at being categorized just for being who they are. The girls wouldn’t like it if they were treated the same way. On top of that, a mean girl just wants to stir up trouble. Finley and Maya go through some difficult times in their friendship before realizing what’s most important to them. It all makes for an interesting look at relationship dynamics among 12 and 13 year olds. I recommend The (Almost) Perfect Guide to Imperfect Boys for readers aged 9 to 12.
The publisher provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.