The Boyfriend App
Audrey McCarthy is your textbook/television type of nerd, in that she is self aware, self deprecating and way cooler than she gives herself credit for. She is also the main reason that THE BOYFRIEND APP is incredibly witty and relatable. We meet her in her senior year, when she has four friends, a fantastic GPA and no money for college. However, her prospects change when she learns about the app-building contest, which this novel's version of Steve Jobs is holding for high school seniors throughout the country: the students who create the most popular app and the most innovative app each win 200,000 dollars. When Audrey strikes upon the idea for a dating app she names (obviously) The Boyfriend App, she begins to think that not only will she be able to go to her dream college, but that she might also be able to get her dream guy.
"Though the main plot of THE BOYFRIEND APP is enough to keep one fully engaged, it is the way these issues are explored that truly makes the novel a fantastic read."
Author Katie Sise writes Audrey's first person narrative in such a personable, engaging tone that one can't help but wish to have her as a best friend. She also writes incredibly vivid supporting characters --- from Audrey's cousin and best friend, the fashion-loving Lindsey to Audrey's tech-genius love interest Aidan, even to her nemesis, the aptly named Blake. This is to Sise's credit, as it is especially difficult to craft interesting teenage antagonists. Blake is the Queen Bee of Audrey's high school and tortures Audrey over a misunderstanding that happened between the two during their freshman year of high school. However, through Audrey's memories of her and through her own actions throughout the novel, Blake is always presented as a well-rounded character who, though flawed, is ultimately every bit as lost as any other 18 year old on the planet. The plot of the novel is also riveting, and Audrey's struggle to create and recreate the perfect app is never predictable or boring, especially in this day and age when technological prowess, at least in books or on screen, always seems to translate to either popularity or immense wealth.
The main draw of THE BOYFRIEND APP is that it refuses to tie its ending up into pat little bows. Though Audrey and her aforementioned love interest's storyline is enjoyable, the main draw of the novel is how Audrey deals with the relationships in her life that are not so cut and dry. She and Blake were best friends, then enemies, and they have a lot of issues that are not fully resolved by the novel's end. Similarly, Audrey's grief over her father's death is explored and acknowledged as something that defines not only her financial situation, but also colors (and always will) all of her relationships. Though the main plot of THE BOYFRIEND APP is enough to keep one fully engaged, it is the way these issues are explored that truly makes the novel a fantastic read.
Reviewed by Erin Allen on April 1, 2013