Friday, September 17, 2010

Rich and Mad by William Nicholson

Reading Level: YA (Ages 14-)
Publisher: Egmont USA (September 2010)
Page Count: 384

Book summary: Maddie is a 16-year-old who likes a boy in her theater club. But does he like her back? Or is a more average boy, a kind boy who reads books, the one who might ultimately touch her heart? A novel about a teen who learns that the best boyfriend might not be the cute boy you notice first. The final scene of the book, which ends with their first love-making session, is tender and touching.

My review: Told in third person from the perspective of classmates Maddie and Rich, this is a contemporary love story filled with warmth, endearing characters, frank discussions about sex and what boys and girls want. Slow going at first, it took me awhile to warm up to the story and when the pace picked up I read right through it. Maddie is  determined to get a boyfriend. Her quest takes her on a journey with crushes, heartbreak, and understanding. The first guy she likes sends out signals that he likes her too, but does he? When she finds out the truth she's crushed, but in true Maddie fashion she perseveres. One of her friends is dating a nightmare guy too loose with his fists and the scene in the bar where this guy gets his due by Maddie was hilarious. Still, physical abuse is serious and Nicholson treated it with skill and honesty.

While Maddie was seeking out love with an unattainable guy based on his looks, the guy she would later notice was right in front of her. What made this story sweet was Rich wasn't the typical hot guy. They're friends first and Maddie discovers there's more to him than his looks. Their relationship is the heart of this novel. Meeting Rich's family was entertaining and his grandmother's birthday scene was humorous. There was a lot to like about this novel once I became accustomed to the differences in language. Maddie and Rich's first love scene was sweet and real and it was this prevalent sense of realism throughout the book which made Rich and Mad a nice read.

Favorite excerpt: From page 339, ARC edition. Scene between Maddie and Rich:
     ""Maybe that's why we all want to be loved so much. Because we'd feel so useless otherwise."
     "I've never thought of it that way," said Rich. "I always thought I wanted someone to love because without it I wasn't finished. Like, I wasn't complete. But maybe you're right. Maybe we want someone to need us."
     "No, I like your idea better."
     "I'll tell you what it is." Rich was thinking it out as he went along. "There's two kinds of love. There's the love you get from someone else, and there's the love you give to someone else. People think the best part of loving is to have someone love you. But I think the best part is having someone to love. Someone who lets you love them.""
Rating: +++1/2

Cover comment: Though this scene isn't in the book it's sweet.

Book source: We Love YA! tours

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