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Little Willow
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He Said, She Said: Play Me by Laura Ruby

These are the thoughts of a recent college graduate (male) and a bookseller (female) regarding a book written by a woman from the point of view of a teenage boy.

When Book Chic and I discovered we had read the same book - Play Me by Laura Ruby - within days of each other, we decided to write a collaborative post for GuysLitWire. Here are some highlights from the piece.

Who was your favorite main character in Play Me?
BC: It might seem a bit obvious, but I enjoyed Eddy. His voice was just so real, and I actually could relate to him pretty well in regards to some of his characteristics and actions (though not the player part - I’m not that, lol). It was a pleasant surprise since I don’t read many books from a straight guy's perspective, and this has made me a bit more open to reading other books from this point of view.
LW: I admit that I went into the book holding Eddy at a distance since he was described as a "player" in the book summary. Thankfully, he’s not really like that - he’s not dating a different girl every chapter, nor looking to make trouble with others - so I’m able to tell future readers that the summary is a little misleading. Rambling aside, I liked the story and I enjoyed Laura Ruby’s writing, but I really didn’t have a favorite character.

Do you feel the tagline and cover summary capture the essence of the story, or are they misleading?
LW: Yes, I do. He’s not "such" a player. (I just shuddered when I typed that. I really don’t like the word “player” and I stay away from anyone who boasts about being one!)
BC: I agree with Little Willow. Both are a bit misleading because when I finished the book, he didn’t really “get played”, like the tagline suggests. But hey, if it gets people to read this book, then that’s great because it is a really good novel.

What did you think of the cover?
BC: To me, it really doesn't seem like something that would catch a straight guy's eye, and it seems similar in style to the cover for Good Girls, which was more aimed toward girls. I think the story itself would be a fantastic read for guys, but they may be put off by the cover. That's just me though.
LW: Yes, it was obviously made to match the style of Good Girls, which suited it - the stories took place in the same school and have the same market and target audience, and much of Play Me revolves around the movies they film. The camcorder is being held up by a hand that looks feminine, small, with polished nails. Do you think it should have been held up by a boy's hand instead, or had a completely different cover?
BC: Yeah, I like the continuity of the covers since they do take place in the same setting, however, I don't think this book is necessarily aimed at the same target audience since it's being told from a guy's perspective, and so guys will be more likely to read this book over Ruby's first, Good Girls. I do like the camcorder idea because it does make sense with all the filmmaking going on, but I do also think that it should've been held by a boy's hand since Eddy is the main character and the filmmaker, so he'd be the one holding the camera, not a girl. Also, the colors on the cover seem more feminine, so parts of the cover do make sense but at the same time, there are other parts that may keep guys away from picking it up and reading it. Alright, my rant's over now, haha.

Had you read Good Girls, Laura Ruby's previous novel that takes place in the same school?
LW: Yes, and I really enjoyed it. I like that the two books are loosely connected, having protagonists that attend the same school, without having PLAY ME be a direct sequel to Good Girls. I like authors that employ those kind of connections, setting their stories in same world but not exactly writing a series, such as Sarah Dessen, Christopher Golden, and Laurie Halse Anderson.
BC: I had REALLY wanted to since it first came out, but I just never got around to it, but I hope to do so soon once my reading pile goes way down, and since the paperback is now out, so it’s much cheaper.

Want to read the entire discussion? Visit GuysLitWire.

Read more He Said, She Said book discussions.

Read previous roundtable discussions hosted at Bildungsroman.

Consult the Male Protagonists in Teen Fiction booklist.
Tags: books, gender bias, guyslitwire, he said she said, reviews, roundtables
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