Friday, July 20, 2012

Review: That Boy by Jillian Dodd

That Boy (That Boy #1)
By Jillian Dodd
Release Date: May 2, 2011
Ebook, 359 Pages

That Boy is a contemporary romance about falling in love with the boys next door.

You know, being friends with two cute boys does have its benefits.

There's Danny. Danny is a golden boy in every way. He has dreamy blue eyes and blonde hair that always looks perfect, even when it’s windblown or been stuck under a football helmet. He’s the boy every girl crushes on. The boy I get into trouble with, the boy I fight with, the hot quarterback no girl can resist, not even me. Being with Danny is like being on an adventure. He has a bright, contagious smile and abs to die for. He’s pretty much irresistible.

Equally crush worthy is Phillip. Adorable, sweet Phillip, who I have known since birth.  Phillip has dark hair, a perfect smile, brown eyes, and the sexiest voice I have ever heard. He’s the boy I talk to every night before I go to sleep. The boy who rescues me, the boy who can read my mind, the boy who is always there for me, the boy who tries to keep me out of trouble, the boy who irritatingly keeps getting hotter, and whose strong arms always seem to find their way around me.  And when he gives me that grin, I can never say no.

One boy will give me my very first kiss.
One boy will teach me to make out.
One boy will take me to prom.
And finally, one boy will ask me to marry him.
They will both be my best friends.
But only one of them will be the boy I fall in love with.
Only one of them is That Boy.
-- Goodreads

4 Stars

I find it hilarious that I actually read this. No offense to contemporaries, but I seriously find you incredibly clichéd and dull. Of course there are exceptions, such as Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door and Thirteen Reasons Why. Regardless, all of the other contemporaries I've ever tried have me lose hope for them, *cough, cough* Sarah Dessen books *cough, cough*.  Because of my usual distaste of YA contemporaries, I tend to avoid reading them. Unfortunately, I randomly picked up That Boy and enjoyed it.

The wonderful thing about That Boy is how romance does not overwhelm the whole plot. Instead, the romance is subtle as Jayden grows and matures from a little innocent girl to a strong, independent woman. Honestly, the romance seems so to be a secondary plot device compared to to the journey Jayden is forced to go through. The beginning and the ending are only scenes that are truly have their attention focused entirely on the love triangle between Jayden, Phillip and Danny.

Love triangles are usually overrated by long shots. Look at Twilight for an instance; everyone knew that Jacob had no chance compared to Edward. Don't even get started on The Mortal Instruments' love triangle between Clary, Jace and Simon. Simon was already a lost cause eons ago. That Boy has a love triangle that is subtle, but incredibly deep, similar to The Infernal Devices' love triangle between Tessa, Will and Jem. Each of the bonds between the characters is incredible. I cannot tell anyone how the relationships between all of the characters made me feel the joy and pain they went through.

The only complaint I can really think of that I have against That Boy is its tendency to skip around Jayden's childhood. I do not mean that the events are not in chronological order; seriously, they are. I was a little annoyed with That Boy's tendency to jump from event to event without listing the time between each event listed in the book. It does not seriously affect the reader's take on the book, but it would be nice to see what age Jayden was for the events, instead of just hearing the landmarks of "elementary school," "middle school, "high school," and "university." I just find it incredibly irritating if we cannot determine Jayden's age at different points of time, especially since That Boy covers a whole chunk of Jayden's childhood.

That Boy is the wonderful ride Jayden is forced to take her to love, sorrow and happily ever after. Jayden is a wonderful narrator, when the book starts out, she is just a little girl and her narration suits her age; maturing after each hardship in Jayden's life. Even a contemporary hater, like me, enjoyed That Boy immensely and plan to read the sequel, That Wedding, soon.

 Purchase the ebook: Amazon (Kindle), Barnes&Nobles (Nook),


  1. Thanks for reviewing my book! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. The little drawings at the top of each chapter listed the grade she was in were supposed to help you understand where she was in her life. I would have loved to include more scenes, but it would have been a very very long book. Don't know if you are interested, but when blogs review my book, I always offer them a giveaway for their readers. If you would like to do that, let me know. I have book ebooks and now paperbacks as well. (thatboyjilliandodd (at)

  2. You're right. The plot sounds clichéd, but when you describe the reading experience in your review, the book really seems amazing. I like how the love part doesn't hijack the story, because for my own taste it can become too much as well sometimes in YA novels.

    1. You're so right about how romance can become too much in YA books. There are so many books that started off great, but ended up collapsing because of the romance going way too far.

  3. I love contemporary! Who doesn't, isn't it? And the love triangle as good as Tessa, Will and Jem? I'm sold!



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