Title: Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots
Author: Abby McDonald
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication Date: April 13, 2010
My Edition: ARC Paperback
Reading Level: Young Adult
Received From: LibraryThing's Early Reviewers
Summary from Amazon:
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?
Funniest lines: (I actually laughed out loud when I read them!)
"Don't stress--it's just PMS!" Grady says, laying out with his baseball cap covering his eyes. "It's always PMS with these chicks--argh!" He cries out as Fiona upends her soda over his bare chest. He scrambles to his feet, soaked with the sticky liquid. "What the hell?"
"Whoops," she answers, dead pan. "Must be that darn time of the month."
Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots was a cute, funny, fast-paced novel full of quirky, lovable characters. Jenna, the fun main character, is a environmentalist "Green Teen" who thinks the world needs to go green but starts to realize it may not be as important as she once thought after experiencing life in Canada. She goes to live with her godmother in Canada instead of going to Florida with her mother and grandmother, and she discovers a whole new place full of nature and a very small town.
Jenna has to deal with the goth girl stepdaughter who hates her new stepmom and especially Jenna who she now has to share a room and a bathroom with. The relationship between Fiona and Jenna was pretty tedious until Jenna calls her out which causes to Fiona to finally change. Fiona was a great character, and she was basically the antagonist until the end when she really changes for the better.
My favorite part of the book was the small town Johnson boys who were so fun to read about! At first, they just mess with Jenna and act a little rude, but she starts to become really close with them. A romance starts with one of the boys and a best friend relationship with another. The relationship between Jenna and one of the boys was pretty cute, but he wanted to keep it a secret which never seems to work out...
The ending left a lot open to interpretation which was good and bad. I doubt there will be a sequel, but if there would be, I would love to read it! Overall, Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots was a great, fast read which I read in about two sittings. I thought it would just be a fun, quick, fluff read, but it had a lot more substance to it. It has lots of adventure, social issues, friendship even ex-friendship, romance, and just good old mother nature which includes a bear, a moose, and more. I highly recommend reading it, and I can't wait to check out other books by Abby McDonald!