Saturday, June 9, 2012

*REVIEW* Boys, Bears and A Serious Pair of Hiking Boots by Abby McDonald

Jenna may hail from the ’burbs of New Jersey, but Green Teen activism is her life. So when her mom suggests they spend the summer at Grandma’s Florida condo, Jenna pleads instead to visit her hippie godmother, Susie, up in rural Canada. Jenna is psyched at the chance to commune with this nature she’s heard about — and the cute, plaid wearing boys she’s certain must roam there. But after a few run-ins with local wildlife (from a larger-than-life moose to Susie’s sullen Goth stepdaughter to a hot but hostile boy named Reeve), Jenna gets the idea that her long-held ideals, like vegetarianism and conservation, don’t play so well with this population of real outdoors men. A dusty survival guide offers Jenna amusing tips on navigating the wilderness — but can she learn to navigate the turns of her heart?

  This book was actually a lot more than I had expected.  I have been trying to read more contemporary and this book being a bargain buy seemed like a good idea.  The title looked long but fun and the cover seemed fit.  When I opened the book and started I got way more than I expected.

  Jenna was actually a really strong character.  An idealist and strong willed she was used to getting what she wanted.  It's only when life gets a little tough that she realizes that not everything will always go her way just because she is used to it.  Moving up north to Canada was a total eye opener for Jenna in so many ways.  To start I thought she was going to go all whiny poor me on me but she changed that real fast and I settled back into enjoying her and her opinions.  Although she learns that her ideals aren't always realistic, she does learn that you can compromise to get some of your goals met.

  The boys in this book are really different.  Everyone has their secrets and living in a small town make them hard to keep.  Also being such close friends and growing up together makes it hard not to know everyone's business.  There is Reeve, Grady and Ethan.  I know that sounds like a lot of boys (kind of is) but there wasn't a love interest in all of them.  Reeve is the most important of these guys and quite frankly the hottest and the most infuriating of the lot.  He was a really well written teenage boy and there are parts that I love him and just want things to be better than they are and others where I want to smack the back side of his head and say "REALLY?!"

  The story itself has it's ups and downs.  It's really a story about growing up and learning that sometimes when life doesn't go your way you have to roll with it.  This is really why I enjoyed this book so much.  The story was real, it was something that had an experience (not all but some) that lots of people could really relate to.  Even if it hasn't happened to you, you feel it, you feel for Jenna.  It's the kind of story that really means something and you come out of it with something.  The pace starts a little slower but it does pick up and draws you in.

  This is truly a realistic and heart felt read.  It's not an emotional roller coaster but it is meaningful in many other ways.  Basically it was everything I like in a contemporary read and easy to follow.  I had a minor issue with what I felt was a cliff hanger ending.  There are a lot of things left unsaid and I wish I knew what happened when that last page was turned.  Abby McDonald really captured what it is to be a teen and the problems that seems small to us but massive to a teen.  This is an excellent summer read and if you feel like an easy contemporary pick this book up.


  1. Ooh! I love your review, Tiff! This books sounds like a perfect summer read for me. I love books that deal with realistic issues and have ups and downs! I need to read more contemps too! Thanks for sharing your lovely thoughts on what sounds like a fantastic book! I'll have to add this one for sure :)

  2. Great review! I saw this book at the library and I thought it would make a good summer read. <3

  3. The title is very stinkin cute! And it sounds like the book itself is mighty cute too. I may have to check this one out for myself. That title screams my name!


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