Friday, May 04, 2012
Author: Terra Elan McVoy
Genre: YA, contemporary
Publisher: Simon Pulse, 2012
Source: Received from publisher through Galley Grab
Read for: Review
Charlotte loves being in the band Sad Jackal. She loves writing music with Trip, she loves working with Oliver, she loves hearing about their lives and being let in. However, when Trip leaves the band (and a new, cute guy joins it), Char's life starts to get a little unbalanced. She can't figure out what she wants, or what anyone else wants, either.
You guys? I loved this book. Being Friends With Boys took me less than 24 hours to read, and I read it on my computer. Meaning I was hunched in front of the screen, devouring it as quickly as possible, with sore eyes and insatiable curiosity to know what happened next. (It helped that I was really sick the day I read it -- anything to distract, right?) Something about this book on the dramas that ensue in boy-girl friendships really touched home with me.
I think what really made Being Friends with Boys a great book were the diverse and well-developed characters. Charlotte has quite a few male friends -- not only does she spend time with the guys in her band, she also has a somewhat complicated relationship with a guy in her history class that seems to want to kiss her all the time. In addition to all the boy drama, Charlotte has her pseudo-best friend who has chosen to distance herself as well as a few new girls in a different band. Add to that a complicated family situation (two stepsisters near her age, a mother who is MIA, and a best friend sister who has just left for college). Despite the large cast, I felt as if I knew every character well. I could picture what they looked like, imagined their reactions to the various awkward situations in the book, tried hard to puzzle out their relationships with Charlotte. Even the frustrating characters were fun to read about, because McVoy brought them to life so well.
I also loved the romance in the book. With so many characters (and guy friends), there were several twists and complications as Charlotte tried to puzzle out what she really wanted (and what everyone else really wanted as well). There is Oliver, who she has been friends with forever, but who has serious male-dominance issues. Trip, who Charlotte can discuss anything with, but who left the band without ever telling her why (and who has a tiny art geek with a violent hair color hanging on his arm all the time). Fabian, who is adorable and a fabulous musician, but who just isn't quite connecting with her. And the guy in her history class, whose name for some reason I cannot recall, who teases Charlotte about kissing her, but who actually seems to really want to. She has some choices to make and some awkward experiences to undergo, and the ride was exciting and occasionally cringeworthy in the best possible way.
The other aspect of this book that I absolutely adored was the music. Charlotte has been writing songs for Oliver's band, Sad Jackal, for months, and as the band undergoes some changes, she becomes more and more involved. I loved reading about how she wrote her lyrics, about what the music meant to her, and how she felt as she performed. I loved being inside her head for those moments. The music gave the book an atmosphere that was unique and enjoyable, and I absolutely loved it.
Being Friends with Boys is a fun and well-crafted young adult book about figuring out relationships and standing up for yourself. It manages to mix a little exciting drama with some deeper emotions, without being overbearing in any way. I think anyone who has been in a complicated relationship will find something they can relate to in this book.
Warnings: Language (some f-bombs), some weed smoking, some making out