By Chloe Bennet
Release Date: June 4th, 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Like most people reading this (I’m guessing here, but I think I’m right!) I grew up loving reading. Not that my life wasn’t perfectly nice, but there was nothing I’d like better than wrapping myself up in somebody else’s … whether they lived in a castle in Scotland or a hut in America, whether they were really real or magically unreal, whether they did harm or had harm done to them, I’d bury my nose in the book of their stories.
When I started to (sort of) grow up, I didn’t grow out of the reading thing. So I was very lucky to get a job as an editor in publishing. Which meant I was wrapped up in other people’s lives in a different way – helping people write memoirs, history, humour. I loved the business of working with writers to shape their stories, to look at the big picture and the little detail. It was rewarding and fascinating. But then it got frustrating….and I realised it would be much more fun to Do It Myself!
At about this time, I found myself at a bus stop, watching a boy as he waited for the bus – he must have been about nine or ten. I was thinking how sweet he looked in his school uniform, collar askew, expression of concentration as he opened his packet of crisps. And then up came these two fourteen-year-old girls. They looked super cool in their skinny jeans and crop tops, long straight hair and eye-liner. Much older than their years. They must have recognised the uniform because they went up to the boy, and asked him, ‘Do you go to St George’s?’. The boy looked rather nervous and admitted that he did. And then the girls asked him whether he knew any boys in Year 11. Still nervous, the boy said he did. “So,” one said, “do you know Harry Adams, or Patrick Clark?” “Or,” said the other, “Mark Forster or Sam Johnson?” And I thought that at that age, however cool you look, you don’t necessarily know much, and you just have to get your information about The Boy wherever you can find it, even from the most unlikely sources.
And then I started to think back to those days when you’re young and curious and just starting to work out the whole thing with Boys. And I thought, what if my heroine and her friends approached these mysterious creatures scientifically, noting down behaviour patterns – good and bad – and working out who might go with who and why. I reckoned there’d be laughs and tears along the way, but maybe she would learn stuff, find The One, and maybe her friends would too.
That very night I went home and started to write Boywatching – Chloe’s story of her own and her friends’ adventures as they try to get the hang of The Boy. What makes them behave the way they do, look the way they do, do the things they do….? Chloe develops a system of points and unpoints, and there’s much discussion about what’s really important – ranging from Great Kissing and Kind to Children and Animals to Looks Good in Jeans and Doesn’t Ignore You When He’s With His Mates.
Boywatching, though, is an imprecise science, which is why you have to do so much of it. Plus it’s always a work in progress; boys can change, grow up (even though this can be a slow process), and you have to observe them in all sorts of different conditions - playing football, being with grown-ups, going to school…. (That’s why there are going to be further books in the series!)
But Boywatching isn’t just about watching boys: it’s about friendships, bullying (survival tips, not how-to), families, tiresome brothers and sisters, annoying parents (not always annoying though, sometimes parents can be quite helpful), and teachers who will keep interrupting your life to try to make you learn stuff. I think - I hope - there are a few life lessons to be learned in between the laughs.
Chloe herself is feisty and funny. Although she can also be quite annoying because she DOES like to get things right. She wants to be a writer when she grows up, so is also quite pedantic when it comes to apostrophes and the right place for them…. But otherwise she’s perfectly normal, and very good at looking out for her friends. (Chloe and I have a lot in common, but the main thing we have in common is that we believe in friends like some people believe in Heaven or homeopathy.)
I’ve grown to be very fond of Chloe.
And of Mark, who is not only handsome in a tousled, dimpled way, but also sensitive, intelligent and funny. He is The One Chloe falls for.
If only Mark were twenty years older. And real. . . .