Published: April 13th 2010, Candlewick Press
Pages: 293 pages, paperback
Acquired: ARC sent for review by Candlewick Press
Summary (from Goodreads): Can a boy-hungry Jersey girl survive the wilds of Canada with her eco-identity intact? A witty new YA novel from the author of SOPHOMORE SWITCH. 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, plaidwearing 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 outdoorsmen. A dusty survival guide offers Jenna amusing tips on navigating the wilderness — but can she learn to navigate the turns of her heart?
My review: So I was really excited about Boys, Bears and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots. The synopsis sounded great, I loved the cover and the promise of a run in with a moose was the cherry on the cake – I had to read it. Unfortunately, it fell a little flat for me and I was really disappointed.
Firstly, I probably should have gathered this from the synopsis, so maybe it’s my own fault, but I felt like the environmental issues in the book overpowered everything else. I knew there would be some inclusion of Jenna’s activism but it seems to dominate to entire storyline and barely left room for any other plot development.
I couldn’t find anything in Boys, Bears and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots that excited me. It was a fun read and it did chug along at a nice pace but while I found things funny, sad and entertaining in the book I didn’t cry, I didn’t laugh out loud and I didn’t feel like I had to tell people about it once I’d finished. It was just a little ‘blah’.
The characters aren’t particularly likeable; especially Jenna and I do find it hard to enjoy a story when I don’t relate to the main character. She was just a bit too much a martyr and that’s something that grates on me. A lot. The male characters were pretty bland; to be honest I can’t even remember any of their names and Fiona was too bitchy for me to ever warm up to her. Not a great combination.
Okay, so I think this proves I definitely need to stop choosing books to read based on reasons such as the following: ‘The word ‘bear’ is in the title and it says the main character has a run in with a moose. Ergo, this must be a genius book.’ I did enjoy Boys, Bears and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots but I wouldn’t go so far as the agree with the bold statement on the book’s back cover that it is ‘Sure to delight fans of Sarah Dessen, Meg Cabot and E. Lockhart’.
First line: ‘Re-use! Re-duce! Re-cycle!’
Total: 13/20 (C)