review by Maryom
Dante is waiting anxiously for his A level results, then he'll be off to university to pursue his dreams of becoming a journalist. Unfortunately that isn't all that arrives on his doorstep that day. His ex-girlfriend Melanie shows up, with a baby she claims is his - and then she sneaks away and leaves Dante literally holding the baby!
So often teenage pregnancy and parenthood are seen as affecting the mother but here we see them from the perspective of a boy suddenly thrust into fatherhood. Dante finds himself in the middle of nappy changing/feeding problems, having to sort out all the bureaucracy of social services, health visitors, doctors, nursery placements etc that accompany a baby these days, while still not certain that this child is actually his. Sometimes his attempts to cope seem laughable (particularly to a parent), sometimes they'll have you near to tears.
I'm a bit curious though about the 'hype' around this book. It's billed as a novel about the effects of teenage parenthood - which it is, but the secondary plot of the problems faced by Dante's gay brother Adam is an equally important issue and somehow seems to have been ignored. Adam is quiet open and happy about his sexual orientation but his school friends find it harder to take and he's on the receiving end of a lot of serious homophobic bullying.
I found myself having a lot more sympathy for Adam than for Dante. Dante, after all, is responsible for the troubles he's landed with - Adam has done nothing to deserve his. Boys Don't Cry is a thought-provoking book that I hope will get teenagers thinking about the choices they make in life and the knock-on effects that they can have.
Maryom's review - 4.5 stars
Publisher - Random House
Genre - Teen Fiction
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