The Bro Code | Elizabeth Seibert

Aug. 12, 2020

The Bro Code is a novel written by Elizabeth Seibert, soon to be released to the world on September 22, 2020. It details the senior year of Nick Maguire, a popular soccer player at North Cassidy High. As a captain of a popular team, he is constantly in the view of the rest of the school, along with his best friends Carter O'Connor and Austin Banks. They follow a set of rules called "The Bro Code," which every bro must follow. "The Bro Code" ensures that every bro has each other's backs, so that no one will be left behind or betrayed.

With the arrival of Carter's sister, Eliza, returning from her year of study abroad in Australia, this is where the "Bro Code" starts to blur. Carter is protective over his sister to a fault, and there is no way he will even let Nick, his best bro, make a move on his younger sister. However, the novel brings all of the characters in a rollercoaster of testing the boundaries between friendship and romance.

This novel is quite the story, and I think what Elizabeth Seibert has gotten down pat is the addictive language that reels readers in from the get-go. Had it not been for the light and joyful narration, I think I might have not finished. With the story being told from Nick's perspective, there are many puns and play-on-words inserted. I think that the addition of the puns here and there are great. I don't think it's too often that it makes me groan, but I think that it's a great add-on to the rest of the funny novel.

I think the character Nick is charming up to a certain point. There are some points of the novel where I was turned off by his constant search for attention. However, his language in the beginning of the novel is concerning in terms of demeaning other people. This is as a result of toxic masculinity, as well as of his father, who also makes sexist statements from time to time. Of course, it is concerning, but by the end of the novel, he makes a turn around for the girl he loves and for himself. He becomes more conscious and sensitive of what he is saying, and I think that is a great addition.

I liked how Eliza's character had a voice. She isn't just used to be Nick's love interest because she also has her own story. Unfortunately, she is the victim of sexual assault, so using her character as a voice to stand up is a move that helps survivors be seen.

My favorite character of the novel was the brother of Eliza and best friend of Nick. I think Carter was a gentlemen in terms of protecting his sister, and I also liked seeing him and Nick's small Clarkebridge tryout arc play out. Again, Carter was not just the best friend. He was his own person, with his great qualities and flaws. Elizabeth Seibert did a great job creating characters that were more rounded than not.

However, with its pros also comes its cons. Some of the narration came out tone deaf and it makes me wonder how this part came out of writing and passed the editing stage. I understand that the high school the characters attend is mostly Caucasian and straight. However, it doesn't excuse the fact that page 246 has an almost full page of narration that notes Nick doesn't know the letters of the LGBTQ+ community, and he stumbles on the difference between Black and African-American. (By the way, not everyone who is Black is African-American, and not everyone who is African-American is Black.) Nick even explains why he doesn't know the letters of the LGBTQ+ community and he blames it on the community around him: white, male, and straight. The narration leads up to him saying Eliza called him out on his lingo, and then quickly moves on from there.

That piece of narration is completely insensitive. How can a book work to dismantle the toxic masculinity of "The Bro Code," yet fail to uplift the other marginalized communities? Nobody is asking the author to write a book that covers all bases to relate to each and every person, but it would definitely help if the "white, straight, male" characters had a little bit more of a consideration. Just as Eliza's character is a voice for survivors, Nick's character can also be a voice for ignorance, even when he's not meaning it.

For me, the rest of the novel falls a little flat with the previously mentioned as a precedent.

I enjoyed Nick and Eliza's love story, growing as friends and lovers. I think I enjoyed the friendship of Nick and Carter even more. They've gone through a falling out due to Carter finding out his best friend and his sister are dating, but they patch it up and become best friends again.

Above all, the honesty between the boys is admirable. From what I know of boys, they know how to unload and move on a little better than girls, and that is seen with Nick, Carter, Austin, and the other boys. They work through their problems together, instead of brewing and bubbling until they break.

Seibert's novel, published by Wattpad Books, will be one popular with young adults of any gender. I like that while finding the rest of the novel entertaining, it is also very important that these boys draw the line and make sure everyone is being respected, which is an essential lesson one must take from this novel. I cannot say that I can recommend the novel, but I think anyone can be entertained by the humorous writing, and will love the friendship between the bros of the story.