Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots by Abby McDonald
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication Date: April 13th 2010
Buy it from: Book Depository (free shipping worldwide!)
Silver star (3/5 stars)
Synopsis: 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?
Review: After reading two of McDonald’s novels, I now know that I can count on McDonald to write a funny, entertaining chick-lit book. Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots was full of awesome elements and admittedly, the title is quite a mouthful. But nevertheless, a title with boys and bears definitely caught my eye.
I loved how the book was set in Canada, just the thought of Canada makes me picture brown bears and maple syrup. The novel had a promising start and I loved the first half of the book. One word to describe it? Fun! While the story was engaging, it was not always exciting and the story dragged for me at times. There was a lot of dialogue in the book so it feel as though there was non stop talking throughout the novel. The main character, Jenna, was not very consistent. She seemed so certain that she was a huge environmental activist but she went against some of her believes. Not only that, I felt as though she was telling the reader she cared about nature but not actually showing she cared about nature.
The downside of the book was that the supporting characters were not as strong and at times, very annoying. Take for example, Olivia. There was something about her that irritated me from the start and I’m sorry but I just did not like her. But as the novel progressed, I grew to love Ethan, Reeve and Fiona. They transformed from cardboard characters to something more by the end.
Overall, good premise, fun story but weak characters. For picky readers, I’d say proceed with caution. But for those who want something not too serious, this is for you.