Monday, September 26, 2011

Guest Review: Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots by Abby McDonald

Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots is about Jenna, a vegetarian with some extreme eco-ideals. To avoid being stuck in Florida with her mother and grandmother for the summer, as her parents planned, she concocts some plans of her own. These plans involve going to stay with her godmother, Susie, her new husband, and her stepdaughter in Canada. While there, Jenna learns how to deal with nature, unfriendly new acquaintances, and she finds a survival guide, which she applies to surviving the woes of being a teenager, as well as the wilderness.

This may seem like just a light summer read, but it is so much more than that. The characters are real, and pretty awesome...once they start to actually let Jenna first, they were pretty mean to her. All in all though, I thought that Abby McDonald did an amazing job at making all of the characters so realistic. They had real problems, and they actually spoke like real people too. It’s always nice when characters don’t speak like robots...I hate when dialogue doesn’t seem natural, but with Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots, Abby pulls of the dialogue perfectly. I especially liked that she didn’t try and make the kids have weird lingo just because Jenna went up to Canada...we aren’t that different you know. :P

I also loved the evolution of relationships. Fiona, Susie’s stepdaughter, was such a bag to her at first, but as the book went on, she started to open up, and she realized that if she kept treating everyone so poorly...she wouldn’t have any friends left. Jenna was the one to point that out to her, and I loved that, it showed Jenna’s growth, and I loved that she was also sticking up for her godmother, Susie. Fiona actually turned out to be an alright character...which kind of surprised me. Oh, and the boys...well, they were definitely jerks at first...jerks or just plain oblivious, but I liked how Jenna didn’t give up. She’s persistent if nothing else, and she made sure they gave her a chance to show that she wasn’t a snob who looked down upon the small-town hicks as they referred to themselves. I especially liked Ethan and Reeve, for two completely different reasons, but I don’t want you to be spoiled, so I’ll let you read it and see if you like them, too.

I really liked Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots. I think it’s a great book to pick up for a summer read, or one to pick up when you’re feeling like you want something a bit different because Jenna isn’t your typical YA heroine, and this isn’t your typical light and fluffy read. It broaches on some serious topics, but it doesn’t really dwell on them, mostly it just reminds you that they’re there. This story also reminds you that you don’t have to always do everything to the extreme. Jenna learns that throughout this story. She sees that her extreme ideals don’t fit everywhere, and that sometimes you have to make adjustments to what you believe because not every situation is black and white. I think that people who enjoy contemporary stories, but prefer character development to romance, would love this one. There is romance, but I think this story is more about Jenna’s growth with a bit of romance thrown in. ;)

Release Date: April 13th, 2010
Pages: 304
Source: ARC From Publisher
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This book was reviewed by Ambur from Burning Impossibly Bright- you can check out more of her awesome book reviews here. Thanks Ambur, this sounds like a fun and spunky book that I look forward to reading someday!

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