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Author's debut book tells tale of 'awkward' Steveston girl, 12

Emily Seo's The Science of Boys paints a story of a young girl using her "nerdy" talents to further relationships
Emily Seo, with a copy of her first book, The Science of Boys

Your first day at high school, peer pressure, being self-conscious, your first crush, your first house party.

These are all teenage moments engraved into the memory banks of many people and they’re all woven into the children’s book by debutant Richmond author Emily Seo.

The Science of Boys tells the story of an awkward, soon-to-be 13-year-old Steveston girl called Emma Sakamoto, who uses her stellar knowledge of science to make up for her lack of experience in attracting the attention of the opposite sex.

Emma, according to Seo, is a “science nerd” who seeks to “reinvent herself at the start of high school” and befriends a so-called “popular girl” who Emma realizes wants to date the “most sought-after boy in school.”

Applying science to figure out boys

Emma’s new friend is impressed that she’s writing a book called The Science of Boys, where Emma applies science laws and theories to try to figure out the mystery that is young teenage males.

The end result, claims Seo, is an “unpredictable” and “heartwarming, but heartbreaking story about the complexities of friendship and the struggles of fitting in.”

“Emma is basically using science to further relationships,” explained Seo, who was born and raised in Steveston.

“Emma tells her new friend she is writing this, but she knows nothing about boys so uses her science knowledge to keep her afloat.”

Seo, who is actually a PhD-trained chemist, said she has always wanted to write a children’s book, but says the main character in The Science of Boys is purely fictional.

“Obviously it’s a fictional story with fictional characters but there is a lot of truth in there; first day at high school, peer pressure, body image, first crush, first party. Most of us have been there,” added Seo, who also worked in Germany as an associate editor for a peer science journal.

“I did interview a bunch of high school students so it was more up to date. And the book does include technology and how it influences our lives and not always in a good way.”

Scientific language woven into everyday life

Given her own science background, Seo said she wanted to incorporate scientific language into a story about life, so children could “get used to such terms later in their education.

“I wanted to introduce science in a fun way so it’s not so intimidating. That’s why every chapter has a science concept, a law, theory or principle.

“I didn’t use a plot to write the book, I used scientific concepts to tell the story and then I brought it all together to make sure it did follow a storyline.”

Seo said her book, which is aimed primarily at children age 11 to 14, will be available soon at the likes of Book Warehouse, Black Bond Books, Indigo and Amazon.

For updates on the launch, go to or go to Twitter/Instagram at @emilyseowrites.