In The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise, super-smart, somewhat geeky Audrey McCarthy can’t wait to get out of high school. Her father’s death and the transformation of her one-time BFF, Blake Dawkins, into her worst nightmare have her longing for the new start college will bring.
But college takes money. So Audrey decides she has to win the competition for the best app designed by a high schooler—and the $200,000 that comes with it. She develops something she calls the Boyfriend App, and suddenly she’s the talk of the school and getting kissed by the hottest boys around. But can the Boyfriend App bring Audrey true love?
When I first picked up The Boyfriend App, I can admit that I had high expectations. The novel had been advertised on blog after blog with contests being held alongside vacations and I personally assumed that if the book was being hyped up so much, there had to be more than what met the eye.
The idea is catchy, and somewhat fresh, but some elements are off and I didn’t find myself enjoying The Boyfriend App half as much as I thought I would.
The story went on to drag for the first hundred pages or so and I never felt like Audrey happened to be getting anything done. Yes, she creates an app that at first sight is successful and later happens to become unsuccessful, but the development of the app and relationships among the characters weren’t smooth in any way. There were moments where I found myself, eyes glazed, five pages ahead of the last I remembered reading.
The relationship between Audrey and her best friend/love interest, Aidan, was in particular very befuddling to me. Audrey and Aidan have been best friends for a few years and Audrey has always sort of harbored a crush on him, being one of the cutest “trogs” at Harrison High School. But what perplexed me was the side obsession with Xander, a boy Audrey almost dated freshman year before her then-best-friend stepped in and ruined it for her. Throughout the novel there are mentions of Xander and his charm and for some time I kept thinking he might actually end up the real love interest in the end, and was partially let down when it turned out that Audrey wouldn’t even give the guy a chance. Aidan, unlike Xander, pops up repeatedly throughout The Boyfriend App and aside from multiple failed attempts at kissing Audrey, there isn’t much to go off of in the case of discovering his true feelings for her. Don’t get me wrong, I loved his character—smart, handsome, sweet—but the way the romantic relationship was portrayed just wasn’t right for me. Audrey and Aidan’s connection was pretty vapid, as sad as it is.
Just when The Boyfriend App starts to pick up, elements almost turn sci-fi. This was the biggest shock to me because while there’s technological mentions here and there about computer software and such, I hadn’t prepared myself for otherworldly scientific shenanigans. It provided an interesting twist and had me thinking twice about the world we live in where electronics virtually rule(no pun intended). I just would have have liked it to have been more sci-fi in the beginning if towards the end things were going to take such a large turn.
The conclusion felt too rushed to actually process and as tangled a web Audrey had found herself in, Sise delivered a picture perfect ending. There was not one strand left loose and I couldn’t help but roll my eyes just a bit because the idea of reversing every single problem created from start to finish just didn’t come off as reasonable to me.
On the bright side, The Boyfriend App had some outright hilarious moments that were really fun to run through, and despite being a bit boring to a reader like me, it was obvious Katie knows her techie talk, but past two or three catchy scenes The Boyfriend App didn’t have much going for it.