Boys Are Dogs Leslie Margolis
Annabelle faces several changes after she and her mother move in with her mother’s boyfriend, Ted. In addition to a changing home dynamic and drifting away from her old friends, Annabelle starts at a new school—one without uniforms and with boys. Although she makes friends quickly enough, Annabelle’s first day at school is a disaster. She has a nickname (Spamabelle, which changes to Spazabelle, and then Spaz) by the end of first period. As she trains starts to train her new puppy, Annabelle wonders if some of the tricks—positive reinforcement, commanding instead of asking, and never showing fear—will work on the boys who make her life miserable.
Annabelle’s insecurities, especially over her friendships, will ring true for tween readers. She doesn’t tell her friends what is happening in case they agree with the boys about her “spaz” status. The assertion that “boys are dogs” reads as very combative, but the lessons Annabelle learns—to stand up for herself and not accept verbal and physical bullying—are valuable ones for all tweens, regardless of gender. I especially appreciated that not all of Annabelle’s bullying issues could be solved with her puppy-training manual and they weren’t all solved by the end of the book. It's a happy ending, but not a perfect ending, and those are my favorite types.
Book Provided by... my awesome friend Ann, who picks up ARCs for me at ALA when I can't go!
Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.