I speak boy

Jessica Brody

Book - 2021

Twelve-year-old Emmy is struggling to understand boys when she discovers a magic "app" that can read their thoughts, which soon drives a wedge between her and best friend Harper.

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New York : Delacorte Press 2021
First edition
Physical Description
357 pages ; 22 cm
Ages 10 and up.
Main Author
Jessica Brody (author)
Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 3–7—If Jane Austen's Emma attended a contemporary middle school, she would likely be obsessed with using her phone and playing matchmaker for friends. As this middle grade reimagining of Austen's beloved tale opens, 12-year-old Emmy, who is white, is scheming to set up her best friend Harper, despite Harper's lack of enthusiasm. Her elaborate plan goes awry, and through a series of mishaps, Emmy ends up downloading a magical app, iSpeak Boy, that translates any boy's words into what is on his mind. For example: "Dude, your legs look like a giraffe in those pants!" Translation: "How is it possible that Logan and I are the same age and he's so much taller than me? Will I be this short forever?" At first, this proves useful for understanding her peers and matching up classmates with their crushes. Emmy finally understands her Shakespeare homework and helps her mom with a work situation. But the app soon causes more confusion than it solves. The premise implies a light fluffy tale, and the story doesn't disappoint, with an accessible voice, flirting, and references to clothes and pop music. Readers will also find a tender coming-of-age story as Emmy learns to appreciate friends and family and accepts that she shouldn't control other people's romantic relationships. References to technology may not age well, and characters consistently use the word lame as an insult. VERDICT Some flaws aside, this modern retelling is an inviting, humorous, and heartfelt take on the classic matchmaking theme.—Amelia Jenkins, Juneau P.L., AK Copyright 2021 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A modern reimagining of Jane Austen’s Emma follows the experiences of a phone-obsessed 12-year-old who uses a magical app to read boys’ thoughts and play matchmaker for her friends, before her successes are challenged by a skeptical classmate and unintended consequences. Simultaneous eBook.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A phone-obsessed twelve-year-old girl, frustrated by the cryptic boys in her life, discovers a magic app that can read boys' thoughts in this modern-day retelling of Emma by Jane Austen.After a matchmaking attempt for her best friend, Harper, goes wrong, Emmy is fed up. Why are boys so hard to figure out? But then something amazing happens--she wakes up with a new app on her phone: iSpeak Boy! Suddenly Emmy has the information every girl wants to know--the super-secret knowledge of how boys think . . . and who they like!Now Emmy is using her magical app to make matches left and right. But can she use it to help Harper, the only person who doesn't seem to buy into Emmy's "gift"? And when her secret gets out and the app ends up in the wrong hands, can Emmy figure out how to undo the damage she's caused?