Cover image for Boys lie
Boys lie
Neufeld, John.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : DK Ink, [1999]

Physical Description:
165 pages ; 22 cm
Eighth-grader Gina Smith is targeted as easy by some boys in her new school because of her physical development and because of an incident in her past in which she was assaulted in a public swimming pool.
General Note:
"A Richard Jackson book"--verso t.p.
Reading Level:
710 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 4.4 5.0 32273.

Reading Counts RC High School 5.8 9 Quiz: 22112 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



What can a girl do, being better endowed than of any her classmates? Gina knows that she'll be prey to boys who want her as a score. And in a New York City swimming pool, that's what she becomes. Fleeing from an assault and its aftermath, Gina and her mother move to California. But the story of her rape surfaces there, despite everything Gina does to keep it quiet. She herself, in a flashback of terror, lets it escape publicly. Three boys in her new eighth-grade class -- Ben, Eddie, and Felix -- begin dreaming aloud of making it with the stacked, experienced girl who must be, in their view, looking for more. What starts as a crude, three-man plan ends up as a single boy's attack, which Gina repels. He boasts of success -- boys lie -- so confident is he that she, from shock or shame, will never tell anyone. But Gina realizes that unless she rises above her fears and tells the truth, her reputation will be in a boy's hands, not her own.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 7^-10. Neufeld addresses peer sexual assault and its devastating psychological impact on a teenage girl in this ambitious, uneven novel. After a sexual attack by boys in a New York City swimming pool, Gina hopes to make a fresh start with her mother in California. But even in a new place, Gina is afraid of getting a mistaken reputation for being "easy" because she's well developed for her age. When the New York incident comes out, the gossip is hurtful and spurs several boys to try to take advantage of Gina's "experience" --but this time, Gina plans to fight back. Neufeld presents the story from alternating viewpoints, showing how information gets misinterpreted and gossip spreads. The writing and dialogue are stilted; the characters are basically one-dimensional stereotypes (a Hispanic boy with a bad reputation plans the attack on Gina; the "good" boy is a church-going class outsider); and readers may find the youths' families unrealistically open-minded and permissive. However, the book does present, if superficially, important, thought-provoking issues: teen mixed emotions about sex, the definition of "rape," and personal responsibility and ethical behavior versus peer pressure--and makes a cautionary statement about the implications of mistaking rumors for reality. This may be useful for educators as a stepping-stone to discuss the dangers and implications of stereotyping, both in fiction and in life. --Shelle Rosenfeld

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this unsettling junior high drama, boys' lies become dangerous weapons. Even after moving to a different community, 13-year-old Gina cannot shake the horrible memory of being molested at a public pool. Her new classmates soon catch wind of the incident, and rumors that she was raped begin to circulate. Jennie, who proves to be a loyal friend, tries to stop the exaggerated gossip before it spreads too far. But wealthy eighth-grader Eddie Phipps has already marked Gina as an easy target ("She's dying for it. Again") and is plotting a way to make his sexual fantasies come true. After assaulting Gina in her home, Eddie gets a swift kick in the crotch, a pummeling by Gina's beau and further humiliation when Gina explains what happened in front of her homeroom class. However, the author seems more bent on dishing out just deserts to his despicable antagonist than exploring how Gina comes to terms with the two attacks. Neufeld (Gaps in Stone Walls) too conveniently pegs adolescent boys as puppets controlled by their hormones and their female peers as virtuous maidens banding together to ward off a common enemy. While the novel's intentÄcondemning sexual assaultÄis noble, its bald treatment of the subject fosters division rather than understanding between the sexes. Ages 12-up. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 7-9-Gina is embarrassed by her body and hates that she's "stacked." She knows it wasn't her fault, but she keeps blaming herself for what happened last summer at the pool, when she was surrounded by a crowd of boys groping and yanking at her tank suit, pushing her under the water. The fear and shame still linger, even after therapy and a move across the country. While on the beach with a group of new friends, an innocent splashing incident triggers old fears, and Gina can't stop screaming. Her mom shares the pool incident with another mother, and somehow word gets around that Gina was raped. Eager for a first sexual experience, three eighth-grade boys convince themselves that "a girl like Gina really wants it," and they plan a gang bang at her house. Two of the three back out, so Eddie goes to Gina's house alone. Believing that he really likes her, Gina invites Eddie in, only to find herself once again fighting off the menacing hands of a boy. In the end, Eddie doesn't get what he wants, but he does get what he deserves, and Gina survives this second attack with a newfound strength. Neufeld has written a sensitive, realistic novel about an all-too-common rite of passage. Young teens will relate to Gina and probably recognize themselves or their schoolmates in the other characters. Short, quick-moving chapters, coupled with the subject matter, make this a sure winner.-Barbara Auerbach, Brooklyn Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.