Girl v. Boy

Fifteen year old Luisa Perez is not going to win any awards for school spirit. In fact, she and her friends make it a point to avoid all activities considered “extracurricular.” So when her English teacher volunteers her to be an anonymous columnist for the school paper, Luisa's first impulse is to run. But, unlike her high-school dropout sister, Luisa does want to go to college—it may be her only ticket out of a life spent working at the cowboy-themed diner where she waitresses part time—and it would be nice to have something to put on her applications.

Her first assignment is to cover her high school's latest fund-raiser, which pits the girls against the boys. Luisa will cover the events from the female point of view, while another anonymous writer provides the male perspective—or, at least, that's how it begins. The two columnists soon find themselves engaged in an epic battle of the sexes—a battle that Luisa is determined to win, even if it means risking the best relationship she's ever had.

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“Chicago sophomore Luisa Perez generally avoids school activities. Then she is asked to anonymously cover the school's efforts in the citywide literacy fund-raising challenge for the school paper. Though initially reluctant, Luisa becomes columnist “Newshound,” and soon two competitions are on: one between the boys and girls to raise money; the other between Luisa and her anonymous male counterpart, “Scoop,” to get the story. As the columns become more provocative, tackling gender and relationship issues, Luisa determines to uncover Scoop's identity. Her discovery may not surprise all readers, but even those who saw what was ahead will appreciate Luisa's hard-won insights, particularly those about looking beyond appearances. Luisa's descriptive first-person narrative provides compelling reading as she and the supporting characters experience struggles and achievements, at school, at work, at home, and in romance. The interspersed, dueling columns are snappy and edgy, and they empower Luisa and her friends to examine priorities in relationships, learning, and life. This enjoyable, thought-provoking battle of the sexes highlights literacy's importance and the power of the written word to hurt, heal, and inspire.”

“When offered a chance to write an anonymous column for the school paper chronicling Dunfield High's efforts in Chicago's citywide literacy challenge, 16-year-old Luisa Perez jumps at the chance. She hopes to distance herself from her family's legacy of academic underachievement as well as to differentiate herself from the ten other Luisa Perezes in the school. The competition between the girls and boys heats up, as each group tries to outdo the other in fundraising. Luisa offers the girls' perspective for the paper, while another writer provides the male point of view. As if juggling her writing, a part-time job, school and a sudden rush of possible F.B.s (future boyfriends) were not hard enough, Luisa has to contend with her sister, Grace, who moves back home with her young daughter. Readers will dope out the identity of the boy writer long before he is revealed in the narrative, but a strong voice and quirky characters keep the plot moving despite the absence of dramatic tension. Smart dialogue and realistic scenes add to the story's appeal.”
   —Kirkus Reviews

“Chicago's Dunfield High School has a reputation for its abysmal school spirit, and the kids don't care. In fact, sophomore Luisa Perez makes it a point to avoid extra-curricular activities. Instead, she waits tables to help support her family—and waits for her FB (future boyfriend) to appear. Then, surprisingly, the superintendent of schools levels a challenge: Which high school can raise the most money to support literacy? The reward is huge: two extra weeks of vacation during winter break. At Dunfield, the girls take on the boys for an exciting contest. Two anonymous school journalists (Luisa and one boy) cover the competition. Rapidly, they turn from fund-raising reporters to gender combatants. “Girls versus boys” becomes “girl v boy,” and the spicy tit-for-tat column becomes so popular that Dunfield becomes a fundraising powerhouse. The ending satisfies, as loose ends are woven in, Dunfield wins extra vacation, and Luisa gets her CB (current boyfriend). The authors of this book take high school readers, primarily girls, on a fun and saucy romp. The pace is lively, and the vocabulary is intelligent. Imaginative new events pop up in each chapter, making this book hard to predict and hard to put down. In addition, sexy flirtations run through the story like a Valentine-red ribbon. Give it a PG-13 rating for language. However, this otherwise likeable work disappoints in that only the central character (Luisa) is well developed. An array of other characters begs to be known better. There would be plenty of opportunity to do that in a sequel.”
   —Children's Literature

“…a fun, youthful battle of the sexes. The articles between Newshound and Scoop keep the story entertaining and give the reader an inside glimpse of what boys and girls are really thinking. The reader gets to see Lu grow in confidence and come out of the anonymity of being one of ten girls named Luisa Perez in her class.”