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4.7 out of 5 stars
Boys Don't Cry
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 6 November 2010
I was fascinated by this book from the moment I heard about it. I've read many books and articles on young single mums, but never from a teen dad's. Boys Don't Cry is a stunning novel with thought provoking topics subtly raised on every page and will speak volumes to the teens it's targeted towards.

What I loved about Boys Don't cry is how it shows Teen parenting from a different angle. While reading this book I felt very sorry for Dante, and questioned myself regularly whether I felt more sympathy because he was a boy, rather than a girl. Teen mum's are vilified daily, yet most probably found themselves in a situation from one reckless mistake just like Dante did. Even in this book I thought it might have been easy to write Melanie off as the bad one, for getting pregnant in the first place then dumping the baby with Dante, but Malorie Blackman's writing allows the reader to constantly question and ponder such subjects without forcing opinions on her audience.

The book is packed with challenges to stereotypes throughout. As a single teen father, Dante finds support from outside agencies difficult to come by. Making a doctors appointment for example is a nightmare. He's not on Emma's birth certificate as he didn't even know of her existence then and so can't register her without her Mother. Of course he doesn't know where her Mother is, and the obstacles and bureaucracy he comes up against is shocking. A visit from a social worker concerned that a baby in the care of three males may be in danger is also frustratingly accurate and Dante rightly questions her attitude and whether it would be the same were he female.

What surprised me about Boys Don't Cry was that it turned out not just to be Dante's story of teen fatherhood but his brother's story is equally as important. Told in alternating chapters from Dante and Adam, we meet a young boy, comfortable with his own sexuality but struggling with a world that isn't. I adored Adam, whose wit, quirkiness and quiet strength proves to be the backbone of the family. There's an equally strong message of acceptance in this book, which again won't fail to provoke thought and reflection on the reader. And their father also has a huge part to play. Somewhat overbearing on first appearances, I think the relationship between both boys and their father will resonate with many and may go someway in helping us see our own parents in a different light.

Boys Don't Cry is an amazing book from start to finish. Not only does it show males of different situations in a positive light, it really makes you think about the pressure put upon boys to hide their emotions and how damaging that can be. It challenges stereotypes on every page through its three strong male characters. And it reminds you that no matter who you are or how unconventional your family, respect, acceptance and love makes all the difference. If I were to recommend one must read book of contemporary fiction to teenagers, and their parents, then this would be it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
There is no one word that can describe just how good of a read Boys Don't Cry is. This book is one of the few that should be read by every teenage boy in the world - it's packed with life's lessons and I'm sure I'm not the only one who says that this book is a thought-provoking and a reflective read.

When Dante Bridgeman finds the biggest surprise in his life lying in a baby buggy, to say that his life is turned upside down is an understatement. Suddenly, he is no longer a typical student waiting for his A level results and university, but a single father to an eleven-month baby, Emma. With his ex-girlfriend and the baby's mother Melanie suddenly MIA, he finds his future veering dangerously towards the unknown. The changes in Dante's life - every minute details - is well described and highlighted. I'm familiar with the difficulty of babysitting, but not quite with the difficulty of single parenting. Dante's narration is vivid and so real it's almost like a first hand account. Nothing quite gets to you than the voice of someone who has really been there - I got that from Dante. His sacrifices opens the reader's eyes to the reality of being a parent - single, teenage or otherwise. His concerns starts from the basic (what about university? How do I stop her from crying?) and evolves to the bigger (will I be a good father? How will I provide for Emma?) questions. I am a lot like Dante in situation (A level results, university...) but it is his questions that makes him so normal, so average. That, more than anything, makes Dante real. His actions, his thoughts and his words show his flaws, but it also channels his growth as a person, as a brother, as a son and as a father to Emma.

Interspersed with Dante's life changing moments are his brother Adam's. My heart went out to Adam in this book - he's a cheerful lad who is neither ashamed nor afraid of his sexuality. The challenges that face him are not the easiest ones to face nor read. Despite that, he has an indomitable spirit that rises up and faces these challenges head on. Of course, Adam has his share of challenges, but with his family's support never once leaving his side, Adam's strength is clear for all to see. I'm not sure who between him and Emma I find more adorable - but both of them are near top of the list of characters I love hugely.

There are varying sub plots in the book in support of the main plot. These elaborates more on the characters and are very well ingrained with the narrative. Mostly, they are resolved and I am one happy reader with how everything turned out. The secondary characters are involved in these subplots and are also very important as they are foils to and frame the protagonists. Quite simply, I have no complaints! It's my first Malorie Blackman read and I sure will check out more of her works.

Boys Don't Cry is an eye-opener, a complex novel that is one of the few which effectively thrusts the reader into issues that matter most in the big world. It made me cry, it made me think and it made me want to read so much more. I love this!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 12 August 2011
Just finished the book in 3 hours of solid reading, I got far too into it to stop! Had to come straight on here to recommend the book to all! This is one of those books that will stick with you forever.

Without wanting to give too much away, Dante has a baby dumped on him, his daughter he didn't know existed. I thought the book was going to solely revolve around that, which I wouldn't have minded, but it turned out to be so so much more. I won't spoil it for you but I must demand you read this book!!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A book that is pretty frightening, if only because of the real world implications within which when woven within this title offer a warning about unplanned pregnancies with life changing outcomes where the cast has to learn to adapt to the changes as well as accepting the consequences of their choices.

Beautifully written and whilst when I originally read the concept thought that it would be a real struggle, found myself getting emotionally involved with the cast as well as having the opportunity to see the adaptable nature of life with positive outcomes. Blackman definitely brings the issues raised within to life and with realistic characters alongside the emotional context does it with a style that the young adult reader can also pick up without feeling either looked down upon or overwhelmed. Definitely a title all teens should read and a title that may help some choices with a bit more information at hand.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 2 November 2010
This is the new novel from Malorie Blackman, author of the Noughts and Crosses series. N & C is my favourite YA series ever. It's beautiful, heartbreaking, and the most powerful book/series I've read. If you've not read them, I seriously recommend you do. With as much as I loved N & C, I was very excited to read this new book from Malorie. Totally different, but it promised to be another powerful book. It delivered. Boy's Don't Cry is the story of a 17 year old boy, Dante, waiting for his A-level results to come in the post. He's planning on University and a career in journalism after that. But instead of the post, he's confronted with his ex. Who has a baby with her, his baby as it turns out. She asks him to watch her for a few minutes while she pops to the shops around the corner for some basics. Except, she doesn't come back, and Dante is left with this baby who is almost a year old to take care of.

It took all of a couple pages to hook me. Dante's voice, his panic, disbelief and the rest of the vast mixture of emotions, come across sharply as he's faced with this huge life changing fact. He is a dad. Dante lives at home with his dad and younger brother, Adam. His mum died several years before so it's just been the three of them for a long time, struggling to get by. The different relationships between Dante, Adam and their dad are complex and vividly realistic. Just as Dante's struggle to accept his daughter, and his relationship with her, is. The whole family dynamic is changed by the baby and although we don't get to see much of them before the baby as she's introduced in chapter one, it's still obvious that's the case.

Although the focus of the book is on Dante and what being a teen dad is like, the choices and decisions he faces, there is a serious subplot revolving around Adam as well. I won't go in to detail because I don't want to spoil anything, but lets just say that while he may get much less page time (there are some short chapters from his POV as well as Dante's), his story is just as powerful. More so at times actually I felt.

The whole book is just fantastic, extremely hard to put down. It's honest, stark, brutal, beautiful and yes, very powerful as well. I think it should be a must read for teens and adults of both genders. I don't know how many times I cried reading this book but it was several. Sad tears from me while reading is fairly common, happy tears are not. This book had both from me. I went from happy tears straight to sad ones at one point as well. Amazing, heartfelt book. As expected, one of my favourites of the year as well.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 28 October 2010
Its A-Level results day for Dante, a bright future at university and then a career as a journalist await him but then his ex-girlfriend Mel turns up on his doorstep holding a baby and his whole world turns upside down. Mel claims that baby Emma is his and asks Dante to mind her while she nips to the shops to get her a few things. Dante's left reluctantly keeping an eye on Emma so Mel can get what she needs and come back and tell him what the hell's going on, but when hours pass and Mel still hasn't shown up Dante's future suddenly looks less sparkling and more nappy filled...

When I first heard about Boys Don't Cry many months ago now I knew I just had to read it. Teen parenting is a topic that I've read a fair few books on but never have I even heard of a book told from the father's point of view never mind a mother who has abandoned her child leaving the dad holding the baby. I feel like teen dads get a lot of slack from society for "getting the girl pregnant" not wearing protection and for them then running away and not taking responsibility for their child but that's not always the case. I also feel like there's a stereotype for teen fathers as being dossers living off benefits not working or supporting their kids without any real thought for how hard that would be for a young man with no qualifications. Not because he doesn't work hard, but because he's unable to get a job or study because he has a child to look after, to try and do right by, and sometimes as with Dante's case a lot of young fathers have to bring up a child alone.

The idea for this book is genius and gives readers a chance to experience what it's like being a teen dad in today's society- a society that's quick to judge. Running alongside the main story is the subject of homosexuality and homophobia. In Dante's younger brother Adam's alternate chapters he experiences severe homophobic bullying. Both brothers stories join together to create a book about what it truly takes to be a real man hence the title Boys Don't Cry.

I loved both Dante and Adam as characters and related to them a lot despite being a 20 year old girl. I think this is book both sexes can enjoy and for that reason predict it to be insanely popular. Both boys may be in their teens but they handle their situations with maturity earning them both my utter most respect and making them hugely likable.

This was my first book by Malorie Blackman and I'm definitely interested in reading some more of her work. This is the kind of book I would recommend to everybody. Teens, adults, male, female readers will all enjoy this book it really gets you thinking about fatherhood, homophobia, teen parenting and how society behaves towards them. But ultimately? This is a book about family, male relationships, and what it really takes to truly be a man. 4 stars.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 25 April 2011
I was recommended this book because I am a midwifery student doing one of my essays of teenage fathers and im glad I bought it. It was really interesting to read and had a really accurate outlook on the reality of the situation for that young boy. Make you think differently about young fathers and sympathise with then slightly.

Would defiantly recommend this book if this is something you are interested in.
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on 30 April 2015
Boys Don’t Cry – Malorie Blackman

“Boys don’t cry, but real men do”

Dante Bridgeman is about to receive his A-level results and a future of university and journalism await him. But on the day they are due to arrive his old girlfriend Melanie turns up on the doorstep holding a baby. Dante assumes she is helping out a friend but then she drops the bombshell. It’s his baby, before leaving him alone; quite literally holding the baby.
Years ago I loved Malorie Blackman’s award winning ‘Noughts and Crosses’ series and was eager and excited to delve into this novel. Its premise was ambitious and I instantly had high expectations, but I was not disappointed at all. Its prose was incredibly well executed and instantly unique as the novel is about teenage pregnancy but from a male perspective. The themes in the novel are one of the joys and highlights of the book, the themes are diverse and the author juggles them beautifully as they come together to form this excellent story. Though Blackman was clearly trying to raise awareness of the issues covered here, the reader never feels like they are being lectured instead informed and entertained. The narrative was both simple yet sophisticated, Blackman’s writing is breathtaking as she shocks and surprises the reader constantly, making you feel a rollercoaster of emotions from pathos to happiness which truly lets you engage with the narrative.
Blackman’s characters are some of the most realistic and dynamic that I have ever come across. The dual narrative is highly effective and highlights the character development and the lessons they learn along the way. Each character is unique and at the end of the novel you will feel attached to these characters and affected by this beautiful and touching story.
This novel simply reinforces how brilliant an author Malorie Blackman is, this book is unforgettable and just as unputdownable.

Rated: Five Stars
For the original and more book reviews, check out my website https://emsview.wordpress.com/
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on 6 September 2014
Boys Don’t Cry isn’t just a book about a teenage boy who discovers that his ex-girlfriend had his baby and didn’t tell him until she turns up unannounced on his doorstep. It’s also a book about family relationships, and has one of the most interesting dynamics I’ve read in YA fiction for a long time.

Dante is the quintessential good boy – he works hard at school, does what is expected of him, has a small group of close friends and a girlfriend. He’s got big dreams and ambitions. Until his former girlfriend turns up and leaves him with his new daughter. What makes the family dynamic so different is not just that Dante is the child of a single parent – he’s the child of a single father and his younger brother is openly gay – not that his father and Dante are particularly accepting of it.

Boys Don’t Cry is a coming-of-age story, and it was great to see Dante moving through a whole bunch of different stages when coming to terms with the huge and unexpected changes that baby Emma brings to his life. Perhaps the only thing that didn’t feel completely realistic is that once Dante comes to terms with the idea that he’s a single teenage father, he doesn’t push things any further. Rather, he kind of just accepts his future, without any real plans on how he could break out from a stereotype, and given his potential I found that a little difficult to understand. However, having said that, he is determined to do the right thing, and the best job that he can. It just left me feeling a little conflicted.

What I liked most about Boys Don’t Cry were the extra elements that I wasn’t really expecting – Dante’s relationship with his brother and father were particularly close and I loved that connection.

The ending felt right – Dante really grows as a character, gets deeper into relationship with brother and father and comes to terms with the fact that his life is forever changed – even seeing the positives in a situation that could have been very negative and really invests time and energy in his daughter – recognising the importance of family. Definitely recommended for anyone looking for a more unique YA realistic fiction book.
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on 3 January 2014
Plot: Dante has worked so hard for his a levels and it is the morning that he gets he results back when the door bell rings, he answers it and it is ex girlfriend (Melanie) but she is carrying a baby. she asks to come in and eventually breaks the news to dante that he is the father of the child (Emma). Melanie asks him to look after the baby while she go's out to the shops to get something But Melanie never returns. So Dante is left holding the baby. he had his whole life planned out ahead of him and Dante's future was looking bright ,university and a career in journalism. But know he has emma, his daughter.

Boys don't cry has a gripping plot. The fact that the theme is hard hitting and is a realistic situation makes the book seem more real because the plot of the book happens to people in the real world. But yet the there a other books out there about young mothers being left with the baby and the dad getting out of it but that is what makes this book so good, that the father is left with the baby, so it is different.
Also there is more than one narrator. There is Dante and his younger brother Adam, who is also having having his own problems in his life as well so there is another story playing in your head at the same time.
as you go through the book you see how Dante changes and Dante, Adam and his Dad come closer as family for they never have been after the death of their mother when Dante and Adam where small. You also see how emma brings them happiness in the end which is nice to see showing that Dante's worst nightmare turned out to be alright.
This Book has a good meaning in it and it is a book i would recommend to read it.
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