Monday, January 24, 2011
Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots
Candlewick Press, 2010
I mostly enjoyed McDonald's earlier book Sophomore Switch (review from the very early days of the blog) so I immediately added this to my list when I saw it was coming out.
Jenna is part of the Green Teens, an environmental club at her New Jersey high school so when her parents want to ship her off to Florida, she scrambles to come up with a better prospect, eventually suggesting visiting her godmother Susie in Canada. When she gets there she has her worldview rocked by the small town, nature, and the people she meets.
Among those people are the snotty stepdaughter of Susie, named Fiona, and three (cute) guys, Adam, Grady, and Reeve. Fiona was absolutely awful but she mellowed as Jenna's constant perkiness wore her down and showed her the eventual consequences of always being grumpy. One of those three guys becomes a romantic interest for Jenna but all help open her eyes to the realities of her environmentalism, such as how it leads to a mill being closed and economic stagnation.
Jenna also struggles in her relationship to her parents. Her father and mother seem headed for divorce and she does her best to avoid any discussion of that fact. Her best friend Olivia, also an environmentalist, radicalizes and further causes Jenna to question herself and what the right path is.
Overall, she grows up, mellows out, and becomes a very changed person due to her experience. Her naive idealism is replaced with a more nuanced understanding. This is a cute and clean contemporary but nothing outstanding. Pick this up for a fast read.
Cover: I really like the cover; I think there's a good balance and I love the pink although I'm never a fan of cutoff heads.