Book Review: The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise

The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆
Links: AmazonTBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: April 30, 2013
Source: Gift

Get the app. Get the guy.

Computer-whiz Audrey McCarthy feels most at home in a tech lab, surrounded by her fellow geeks. Once popular and fearless, she hasn’t been the same since her dad died. And her ex-best friend, gorgeous queen bee Blake Dawkins, has turned into her worst nightmare. Audrey is counting the minutes until high school is over and she can get the hell out of Dodge and go to college-that is, if she can find a scholarship.

So when Public Corporation, a giant tech company, announces a contest for the best app developed by a high schooler-with $200,000 in prize money-Audrey is spurred to action. She comes up with an idea so simple, yet so brilliant, she can’t believe it hasn’t been done: the Boyfriend App. With a simple touch of the screen, romance blooms among the unlikeliest couples in high school, and people start to take notice. But it’s not quite enough.

To beat out the competition, Audrey will have to dig deeper. And she does-right into a scandal that would rock Public to its core. Suddenly the Boyfriend App lands Audrey where she never expected to be: in the middle of the limelight, passionately kissed by the hottest guys in school, causing complete and utter mayhem. But can it bring her true love?

Buddy read with my boyfriend!

Oh, goodness. I’m not even sure where to start with this one. My boyfriend and I went into this one knowing that it would be terrible, and I guess that means we weren’t disappointed. (Although we kind of were, because it was really bad.)

I had a lot of thoughts while reading this one, but I didn’t flag all of them and I condensed a lot because I just want to be done with this thing. Below are twelve thoughts I had while reading The Boyfriend App. Surprisingly, I managed to find twelve spoiler-free thoughts!

Direct quotes are in bold.

  1. “Annborg was obsessed with Blake. She started a fan website called OMGluvUBlakeGodBlessBlakeandAmerica.com, where she posted photos. She captioned the photos with things like Thirsty Blake drink water from fountain. Or, Blake wear shiny shoe with pointy toe.” ALRIGHT. So Annborg is a foreign exchange student from a nondescript European country. Her function in the story is to be obsessed with Audrey’s former best friend/current worst enemy Blake while providing comic relief in the form of using bad English, getting caught masturbating, and having a crush on another girl. It made me mad.
  2. “Blake had enough boyfriend-getting power for both of us. A few tables away, her BF (lacrosse king Xander Knight) was busy being hot and stoic while the rest of her pack laughed and pointed at my lunch table.” I flagged this on page seven and it turns out that this is basically the entire 312-page book in two sentences.
  3. “Every part of Blake was tanned and toned — even her boobs. Like Jennifer Aniston. Or Jessica Rabbit.” I’d put this in MenWritingWomen on Reddit if it were written by a man. Since it was written by a woman, I’m just going to sit here shaking my head. Also, how does one go about toning breast tissue?
  4. “Blake smirked, and her beauty mark popped like a punctuation mark.” Sounds painful, yikes.
  5. “Anyway. Besides the XXXPhone (for adults only) that tanked in the marketplace, the Public product creators were geniuses…” So does the XXXPhone come pre-loaded with porn, or…?
  6. “She bounced a little and her droopy water-balloon boobs got a second wind.” I mean… rude.
  7. “She lifted her skinny arm and gestured to our window like she was Vanna White and our apartment was a vowel.” There are so many strange descriptions in this book.
  8. “The lunchroom smelled like new tires mixed with spaghetti.” Well, that’s specific.
  9. “‘I’m nervous, too, Audrey,’ Dr. Gurung said (nervously).” HE SAID NERVOUSLY.
  10. “‘And Janie and I were once much more than friends,’ she said. ‘We were girlfriends.'” Thank you for, once again, using sexual orientation as a plot twist. Also, who the heck says it like that? It just sounds so unnatural! And why is a teacher sharing her romantic history with one of her students?
  11. “At least the building was a rectangle.” What a relief!
  12. “Everyone seemed genuinely sick of anything having to do with me and returned to ignoring my existence.” I am also genuinely sick of anything having to do with Audrey and cannot wait to ignore her existence.

Okay, so I think we’ve established that the writing is kind of a mess. Now I want to talk about the plot, which is probably the most problematic thing I read in 2019, and I read some pretty bad stuff.

Some spoilers below.

The whole point of this book is that Audrey enters an app-coding competition in hopes of winning money for college. That’s cool. Her first app is fine. It’s a kind of generic dating app that matches users based on a personality test. Turns out that high school students are shallow, though, and aren’t always willing to be seen with someone just because their personalities might be compatible.

So Audrey goes ahead and makes a new app that uses some soundwave technology to manipulate emotions. With the new Boyfriend App 2.0, girls just point their phones in the direction of a boy that they like and he’s instantly obsessed with them. The boys will immediately be overtaken with lust, kissing them, grabbing them, presumably willing to do anything with them. Is it just me, or this incredibly… rapey. (It’s not just me. This is literally sexual assault.)

There is not one single character in this entire book that has a problem with it.

Oh, people criticize Audrey for plenty of things. There’s a lot of controversy over her app. But not because she created something that allows girls to sexually assault boys, but because she’s used some proprietary technology to do it.

In the end, there’s basically no resolution of anything aside from the romance. This book is a mess.


Have you read The Boyfriend App? What’s the most problematic book you’ve read recently?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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7 thoughts on “Book Review: The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise

  1. Mandy @ Book Princess Reviews says:

    This…this sounds horrifying. I can’t even figure out how no one thought this was exceedingly problematic? I mean, the fact that a woman could write these words, objectifying female characters in such a manner and thinking it was totally okay??? My brain has exploded, so I can’t imagine what your poor brain went through reading this (and your bf’s). Wonderful review!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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