#64 TRENDING IN Books & Writing 🔥

YA Author Elizabeth Seibert Talks About Her Book the Bro Code and Destroying Toxic Masculinity

Books & Writing

September 15, 2020

Do you remember the days you used to stay up all night reading books and hiding it under the covers when your parents checked upon you only to pull it out and resume reading as soon as they are gone? The Bro Code by Elizabeth Seibert is here to take you back to the good days of high school and drama!

About Bro Code

#1 Rule of The Bro Code: Do NOT fall in love with your best friend's sister

As a certified stand-up bro, Nick Maguire knows that some things in life are sacred: Do not skip ab workouts. Never back down from spicy foods. And always accept the outcome of Rock, Paper, Scissors.

For these are the revered doctrines of The Bro Code, rules of conduct that have been passed down through the ages from bro to bro. Heading into his senior year, Cassidy High’s star soccer player has his priorities straight and intends to spend his time playing sports, hanging out, and living by the code. But when his best bro Carter’s sister Eliza returns from studying overseas, the awkward, academic girl Nick remembers is different.

Carter might be Nick’s bro, but Eliza becomes his whole world—and he has to make a choice between them. Is being with the girl of your dreams worth breaking the most important rule: never date your best friend’s sister? Somehow, Nick never expected that following The Bro Code may have even bigger consequences than breaking it.

Book Review

The Bro Code starts with the protagonist Nick and his friends, Carter and Austen who have been following some complete set of rules, called 'The Bro Code' that each 'bro' must follow. But one important rule is 'Never date a bro's sister.' Nick finds himself attracted to Eliza O' Connor, Carter O' Connor's sister. As the drama unfolds, we realize how complicated and problematic this Bro Code set up by the boys is and why there's a need to modify it.

The prologue has a powerful and mysterious start. It's a letter from Eliza to Nick that'd immediately spark your interest in the story. Each chapter has a code from the bro code as it's title. As Nick breaks the law of not dating a bro's sister, the other codes follow up to be broken.

What I liked was the Bro Codes have been used as a metaphor to reflect the nature of society. While our society has set no actual codes unlike the boys did in the book, some unspoken rules are involved in friendship. The codes reflect on toxic masculinity.

Toxic masculinity expects men to be strong, not emotional, and always have a solution while it expects women to be shy and quiet. And that's what these Bro Codes asked them to follow at first. The story being written from Nick's point of view, shows problematic and unnecessary these codes actually are. Nick realizes the problem as the events of his life prove the code wrong.

“I know.” he said. "Like, some guy made a sexist mandate because he was scared of ending up being alone.”

“Blasphemy from Austen Banks? Never thought I'd hear anyone say that about the Bro Code, especially not you.”

Speaking about the same, Elizabeth Seibert tells us “I wanted to address how toxic masculinity and the MeToo movement might affect high school girls and boys. I didn’t think I could write a story about “Bros” without including those social themes."

Romance and humor in the book

The Bro Code is a YA contemporary book. It is perfect for a day when you're feeling sad and need a laugh. Just curl up on the couch and start reading.

The book is light themed and will definitely give you some amazing laughs along the way. From puns to peak humor, this story has it all! While I am longing for Carter's basement room, this book will make you long for a Nick Maguire in your life who takes you on picnics.

“That guy’s probably such an idiot, he went to the dentist to get a Bluetooth,” I said.

Austin’s chair scraped the floor as he tipped it back to match mine. “That guy’s probably so dumb, that when the judge said, ‘Order, order,’ he said, ‘Diet Coke, please.’”

“I heard he broke his finger and tried to call Dr. Pepper.”

“Oh no,” said Austin, “that wasn’t the same guy who asked his eye doctor for an iPhone, was it?”

“Yep, and then he went grocery shopping at the Apple Store.”

“You’re both idiots,” Carter muttered.

Eliza coughed. “Probably still thinks Bruno Mars is a planet.”

I stood up. “That was one time.”

If you are looking for a light Autumn read with hilarious friends, the sweetest romance, high school drama, and game nights, don't hesitate, grab yourself a copy right now!

Interview With Elizabeth Seibert:

Elizabeth Seibert had been The Author of the Month of our July Issue because of her amazing work. Elizabeth A. Seibert is the author of The Bro Code and is featured in Imagines: Celebrity Encounters Starring You. Elizabeth has amassed over 30 million reads and two top awards on Wattpad.com and loves discussing feminism, waffles, and the Oxford comma.

According to her website, Elizabeth grew up in Bedford, Massachusetts with her parents, her two sisters, her dog, and her two cats. Elizabeth, a young millennial, participated in the track and swim teams, and during her senior year of high school, she created her first draft of The Bro Code and became an immediate hit on Wattpad’s platform, winning Wattpad’s most popular humor story in 2012. The Bro Code received a publishing deal from Wattpad Books, Macmillan Publishers, and Penguin U.K in 2019.

Elizabeth attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst where she created her major, Behavioral Economics and Media Writing. During this time, she wrote No Capes, her second Wattpad novel, which won Wattpad’s Talk of the Town award in 2015 and was optioned for a TV adaptation in 2017. Before graduating UMass, Elizabeth was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa honor society and joined the Ultimate Frisbee Team.

After college, Elizabeth moved to Cambridge, MA, and launched her career as an advocate for using stories to help and inspire her communities. Elizabeth currently works in marketing and takes creative writing courses at Harvard University. Since enrolling at Harvard, Elizabeth has written across multiple genres and media including a full-length action movie, a 60-minute psychological thriller television pilot, and a variety of projects that expand her short-fiction portfolio.

In her career, Elizabeth has also contributed journalistic articles to The Bedford Citizen and has written content for healthcare start-ups, digital advertising agencies, Coca-Cola, Frito-Lay, Lenovo, and women’s magazines. Elizabeth loves to cook, read, play board games, and play ultimate frisbee. Her heroes include giraffes, Batman, and her sisters.

We invited Elizabeth for a small talk with our interview team over email, and Elizabeth was happy to answer our questions:

When and how did you start writing?

For fun! I started during my senior year of high school as a way to procrastinate on my homework. I had a bad case of senior-itis and discovered wattpad.com, which is a website where people can write and read stories for free.

That’s when I wrote “The Bro Code,” (writing that was WAY more fun than high school) which I never expected to be published because it was my first novel EVER. But I’ve done a lot of editing in the last year and while the story now is very different from what I originally wrote on Wattpad, I think it still captures the spirit of what it’s like to be in high school.

I’ve continued to write on Wattpad since then, and now I’m studying creative writing and literature at Harvard University to take my writing to the next level and (hopefully) do it as a career!

Is there any particular reason you wrote 'The Bro Code?'

Many of the young adult romantic comedies that I was reading at the time each had females as the main character, which is fun, but I wanted to try one from a guy’s point of view. I was also starting to develop my rebellious bone then and wanted to write about breaking the rules on a literal and symbolic level.

When I came back to re-write “The Bro Code” for publication, I also wanted to address how toxic masculinity and the MeToo movement might affect high school girls and boys. I didn’t think I could write a story about “Bros” without including those social themes.

What is The Bro Code really about?

The short answer is that it’s about bros! Haha.

Really, it is a young adult romantic comedy about a group of high school “bros” who learn about growing up and questioning everything they thought they knew about masculinity, friendship, family, and their hopes and dreams.

The main character, Nick, develops feelings for his best friend’s sister, who is off-limits according to “The Bro Code,” which he and his friends hold sacred. The story that comes from this is a satire of bro culture. It follows Nick through his senior year as he grapples with what it might mean to break “The Bro Code.”

Who inspired you to write?

I think of this in two parts, 1: who inspired me to first write? And 2: Who inspired me to keep writing? I inspired myself in the beginning, where I knew writing was something I wanted to try as a hobby.

Sticking with it I owe to a few groups: my Wattpad readers, who were always asking for another chapter, or another story, and my friends who are authors who make sharing stories and talking about writing such fun. We cheer each other on, which is fun and helpful.

Did you face any obstacles and hate while writing your book?

My biggest obstacle writing the book was that I had a very tight editing timeline (rewrote the entire book 3-4 times in only six months) which was a fun challenge, but difficult because of my day job. I had to learn to balance and prioritize commitments, and it still felt like I didn’t have enough time to finish everything!

In terms of negativity I’ve received… I sometimes get messages from readers who strongly dislike the way my characters discussed a sexual assault that happens (note: the assault doesn’t happen in the story, it is only briefly talked about in the story). Some readers’ perceptions of it are that it’s unrealistic, too off-handed, and the resolution isn’t what they wanted, and as a result, readers can feel quite negatively about the story.

Unfortunately, the situation that happens and how it’s talked about is exactly the same as a situation that happened to multiple people I know, and I wrote it the same way because I wanted people to wish there were a different resolution. I hope that people will be able to see that part of the story as a jumping-off point for discussion, particularly about why the resolution happened the way that it did, rather than as a statement about how an assault should be reacted to and handled.

It is hard for me that that isn’t always the case, but I know that after the story is written it can be interpreted a million different ways by a million different people, and each one is completely valid.

At the end of the day, I know that I told the story I wanted to tell. I hope we’ll all get to talk about it someday!

Would you ever break a bro code if necessary?

Absolutely. (The first rule that comes to mind is “A Bro Shalt Not Back Down from Spicy Foods.”) I one hundred percent back down from spicy foods.

Talking with Elizabeth was lovely, and we hope this interview gave you more insights to this Young Adult novel. Get ready to be hooked to Eliza's wit and fall in love with Nick Maguire. Want more? You can read the first chapter for free here!

The Bro Code is available will be releasing on 22 September 2020, but you can pre-order it right now Amazon or Barnes and Nobles. Pre Order it now!

Khushi Gupta
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Khushi is the Community Lead of The Teen Magazine. She is a 19-year-old who also calls herself a professional procrastinator. You'll probably find her eating baked goodies or re-reading the Percy Jackson series for the hundredth time. She likes reading, yoga, and skincare. She is usually an introvert, but once you get to know her personally, you'll meet a goofier version of her. She came across The Teen Magazine at the start of 2019 and has loved working here ever since.