Bailey Daley is not your average dog owner, nor is she your average prom-goer. After her high school prom, Bailey finds herself sitting in a diner after-hours, sopping wet and recently crying, with three dogs (technically, her boyfriend’s dogs) - also sopping wet (and kind of smelly). The diner owner, chef, and lone customer are just as curious about Bailey as you no doubt are, and ask her what the heck happened to her to land her in Louie of St. Louie’s diner at almost midnight on the night of her senior prom - with three dogs.
So Bailey begins her story at the beginning - Adam, the elderly, sopping wet and not really so white any more terrier - and the boyfriend that brought the terrier and the girl together. Each major boyfriend Bailey has had in the past two years has left her with a dog, and a lesson. She imparts these lessons and her story to Louie (of Louie of St. Louie’s, naturally), Rune (the angry-looking, tattooed and muscular chef) and Colt (a college-aged kid sitting in the diner when Bailey began pounding on the door for refuge).
Why I picked it up: I was sorting a cart for shelving and saw it - remembered that I’d been intrigued by the review in School Library Journal about the book, and decided to take it home for the weekend. I’m glad I did, bypassing the shelf of books to read and my usual meticulously, unchangeably ordered to-read shelf. I really am incredibly, pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book.
Why I finished it: To be honest, I couldn’t put it down. Bailey’s narrative voice is believable (ok, not always perfectly believable, but enough for me) and her realizations about boys slow - just like mine were when I was her age. (Wow, am I really getting old enough to say “when I was her age”? Yikes.)
Who I’d recommend it to: I’d love to recommend it to a coworker’s daughter, but there’s a bit too much sex in the book for it to be a good choice there. (Not outright sex, and Bailey IS a wait-until-marriage girl, but it’s present enough, though not extremely blatant, and she nearly goes through with it twice.) So instead, I’ll hold off for other eighth grade girls who I know are in different places emotionally and developmentally - I have a few in mind. And I’ll recommend it to a coworker for a book talk, for sure.
Gimme a Call by Sarah Mlynowski - the narrators are similar.
Boys are Dogs by Leslie Margolis - similar view on boys - but different. Fans of Boys are Dogs should read this… in a few years. Bailey is a superstrong, badass narrator, and reminds me of the main character in My Life in Pink and Green - but again, the sexual content in My Boyfriend’s Dogs has me ask MLiP&G fans to hold off for a couple years.
Other read alikes without explanation:
Fat Cat by Robin Brande,
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist,
books by E. Lockhart or Maureen Johnson,
the Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead,
Before I Die by Jenny Downham,
My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger, or
Empress of the World by Sara Ryan.