This is My Brain on Boys by Sarah Strohmeyer

I have feelings about this book and I can’t really tell if they are good or bad. There is just a lot to touch on with this one. I gave it three stars cause overall I like it and can recommend it to others, but there are things that I do dislike about it. Adelaide Emerson is a rising scientific star with a heavy interest in Neuroscience at Academy 355. Her and her genius lab partner, Dexter, have concocted a experiment that under the right conditions and stimuli they can trick anybody into falling in love; which they have nicked named B.A.D.A.S.S. The experiment is Addie’s key to winning the coveted Athenian Award and her ticket to a full ride scholarship to her dream school of Harvard. There is only one problem: Her lab partner is a backstabbing jerk and she is falling for one of her “guinea pigs” which is definitely against the scientific method. WARNING: Because of the fact that one of the things I dislike about the book is hard to describe without spoiling things THERE ARE SPOILERS PAST THIS POINT (although if your anything like me you would catch onto what I am going to spoil fairly early on in the story).

Addie is an interesting character to say the least. She is very logical and scientific in how she acts and speaks. Shes all about efficiency and research. She comes across as a bit robotic and to smart for her own good. Addie almost fits into the “Robotic Science Genius” stereotype (think Sheldon Cooper of Dexter form Dexter’s Laboratory), but she’s a bit too “human” she feels more and shes not quite as condescending as the stereotype usually requires. She defiantly has feelings, specifically romantic ones, which makes her kinda relatable to the reader but not quite. Then there is Dexter (who is easily one of the most dislikable characters like ever). He fits the “Evil Genius” stereotype to a T. He’s narcissistic, sociopathic at best and psychopathic at worst, a total Mama’s boy, and has a superiority complex the size of Russia. The relationship he had with Addie is one of the two very toxic and abusive relationships with in the story. He treats her as inferior to him because presumable he has a higher IQ though it is never stated that he actually does. He is constantly criticizing her at every turn for the very things that make her human and therefore more relatable to the reader and he throws her under the bus and betrays her the first chance he gets. Addie soon realizes Dexter’s conniving ways, but even after she realizes what a snake he is she still seems to care for him and she also compares him to Kris (the love interest) fairly often. For instance after he has turned the faculty against her project that they were working on together in favor of his solo project that he had been working on behind her back; his experiment was tampered with and he ended up getting a small (and I mean small) electrical shock and when he told her she immediately looked at it and felt sympathy for him (I however felt he greatly deserved it).

Kris Condor is the love interest for Addie which is interesting, but I also like it. They are kind if an odd couple. While she is genius level smart and full of “nerdy quirks”, Kris is more emotional and compassionate and while he is very intelligent not nearly to Addie’s level. They are little bit of yin and yang, but not quite total opposites. Kris and Addie are seated next to each other on the plane on their way back to the Academy. Kris is going back to atone for past sins and spend the summer working in the Buildings and Grounds department. During one particularly bad bout of turbulence Addie uses her logical thinking to calm Kris down. The sins that Kris is sacrificing his summer to pay for and hopefully redeem himself are that him, his manipulative girlfriend Kara (the second and most toxic of the relationships mentioned), and his friend Mack destroyed the lab and targeted Addie. A fact that Addie only came to know after they met on the plane, but her two closest friends knew immediately. Before I dive into the plot points I disliked I want to talk about Kara ans Kris’s relationship. Like Dexter, Kara is a narcissist and very manipulative. She enjoys manipulating others and especially Kris. Kris constantly comments on the fact that she texts and calls him excessively throughout the day and when he doesn’t reply or answer she threatens his job and to come see him even though he has made it clear that he doesn’t wish to see her. He also mentions that he has tried on several occasions to break up with her which troughs her into a rage. Even though it is never outright said in the story that she threatens to commit suicide it is most defiantly implied. Shes emotionally manipulative and had very little regard to how she treats the people around her.

Unlike Dexter and Kara, I love the two remaining supporting characters that are important to the plot, Tess and Ed. Tess and Ed were the first experiment Addie did to prove that B.A.D.A.S.S. worked. Tess is Addie’s best friend and the true yin to Addie’s yang. She is very sociable, talkative and empathetic. She is constantly reminding Addie how to work around others emotions. Honestly I think it is Tess’s influence on Addie that helps her be more emotional and relatable. I also really like Ed’s relationship with Addie. He treats her as a kid sister and she views him as a close friend. On multiple occasions throughout the story Addie turns to Ed for help and advice. Tess and Ed also seem to have a fairly healthy relationship with the normal communication misunderstandings, which is nice in comparison to the two very toxic portrayal of relationships.

Okay now for the thing I really did not like: the ending. This does not end with a nice clean happy ending like most stand alone contemporary novels. No, this one leaves you asking questions. Did she end up with Kris? What does he think about her basically manipulating him? What happened to Dexter? Does he get his just desserts? Really I want to know. So in a *gasp* shocking turn of event Addie has been using her experiment to get Kris to fall for her. Honestly I guessed that this was the case around the time of the “shark attack” I mean she seems very unconcerned with Dexter’s accusations and when by all appearances her experiment is falling apart she didn’t seem as upset as she should have been. I found this to be pretty manipulative on Addie’s part and it made the whole thing feel pretty forced. Another thing I did not like is that the book touched on bullying, which is a subject that should be talked about, but they did it a way that felt very shallow and didn’t entirely make since to the plot. So the entire reason that Kris is there is because Kara got it into her head that Addie and Dexter were torturing the lad animals, which they weren’t, and Kris, Kara, and Mack decided to go to the lab and set them free. Only Kara and Mack decided to spray paint mean things on the wall and destroy property. Kris confessed to everything and was even caught trying to cover the spray paint hence why he got the second chance. Only problem is that its mentioned that not only was Addie specifically targeted, but also there was ongoing confrontations between Kara, Tess (who was standing up for Addie) and Addie her self. It is not however discussed on why they only targeted Addie or why Kara decided to pick on her. I also find it hard to believe that Kris and Addie would not have know each other before hand. It is obvious that the Academy is not a large school and Kara, who was Kris girlfriend at the time, has such a hatred for Addie it would be logical that they would know each other.

All in all it was a pretty okay book. I don’t think I would read it again, but I’m not upset that I read it. It was a pretty good contemporary read and I did find myself wanting to finish and not forcing myself to finish it.

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