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Young Adult Fiction Peer Pressure

The Science of Boys

by (author) Emily Seo

illustrated by Gracey Zhang

Tradewind Books
Initial publish date
Jun 2022
Peer Pressure, General, General, Friendship, General (see also headings under Animals)
Recommended Age
12 to 18
Recommended Grade
8 to 12
Recommended Reading age
12 to 18
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2022
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2022
    List Price

Classroom Resources

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Twelve-year-old science nerd Emma Sakamoto wants to reinvent herself when she starts high school. When stylish new girl Poppy asks for Emma’s help getting the attention of her crush, Cole, Emma lies and tells Poppy that she’s writing a book about the science of boys. Emma’s friend, George, offers to help Emma apply scientific principles to the mystery of getting a boyfriend. But George has an ulterior motive!

Real science and enthusiasm for scientific principles are interwoven into this humorous story of friendship, family and what it means to truly belong.

About the authors

Emily Seo holds a PhD in chemistry from the University of British Columbia and worked in science publishing in Germany. Her experimentation with words resulted in The Science of Boys. She currently lives in Vancouver, BC, with her husband and two young scientists.


Emily Seo's profile page

Gracey Zhang is an illustrator and animator with a love of storytelling and verse. She is the author and illustrator of Lala's Words and the illustrator of The Big Bath House, Nigel and the Moon, and The Upside Down Hat. She was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, and received her degree in Illustration from RISD. Gracey is now based in Brooklyn, New York, where she can be found window watching from the train when she's not scribbling away at her desk. You can visit her at

Gracey Zhang's profile page


  • Short-listed, BC and Yukon Book Prizes - Sheila A. Egoff Children's Literature Prize
  • Short-listed, Saskatchewan Young Reader's Choice Awards Snow Willow Award

Editorial Reviews

“A nerdy Canadian teen blends real science principles with matchmaking in Seo’s low-key debut...Told via homey-feeling prose, Seo’s story deftly portrays one teen’s struggles to juggle friendship woes, familial trials, and personal truths with fitting in, making for an earnest, low-stakes romp. Zhang’s illustrations, rendered in bold swathes of b&w ink, depict myriad scenes from Emma’s life, including an idyllic moment overlooking the ocean.”

Publishers Weekly

“If author Emily Seo could pick one scientific concept to describe adolescence, it would be the second law of thermodynamics: the entropy or disorder of the universe will increase over time. In short, there will be chaos–and that’s exactly what ensues in her debut middle-grade novel, The Science of Boys (Tradewind Books), when main character and science nerd Emma Sakamoto tries to help a popular girl catch a boy’s eye.”

Quill & Quire

“A genuine and fun-filled read, The Science of Boys captures many complexities in the lives of preteen girls today while encouraging curiosity and an interest in science—a subject that girls still often lack confidence in and are discouraged from pursuing.”

BC Bookworld

“A delightful mix of science and relationships.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Emma will take readers through the gamut of teenaged emotions: embarrassment, loneliness, excitement, deceit, acceptance, and the long difficult journey to self-knowledge. Highly Recommended.”

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

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