Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots by Abby McDonald

Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking 
BootsTitle: Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots
Author: Abby McDonald
Series: None
Published: April 2010
Publisher: Candlewick
Pages: 304
ISBN: 9780763643829
Source: ARC from Around The World Tours 

Description: 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?  

I Give This Book 4 Stars! 

I was a little worried about this book and the environmental standpointI come from rural Idaho, which is not to far off from the rural Canada in this story.  I was surprised that I felt that aspect just added to the story.  It's not shoved down your throat, and it turns out it doesn't define Jenna as a character.  I identified with her a lot more than I thought I would.  I understood trying to make friends when your visiting a place for the summer.  It's hard and especially so when your ideals are on a completely different level than everyone else.  I liked watching Jenna interact with the group of kids she eventually became friends with.  And, I liked how the story involved bring back some tourism to the town.  I thought it was a good example of how people and friendships can grow and evolve.
There was one little aspect of the book that did bother me both while reading it and even now thinking about it.  Jenna goes out Kayaking with the boys without any training or a life jacket.  Now, I've never been Kayaking, but I know plenty who are very into the sport.  Even the most extreme would not dream of going without a life jacket and training, especially in the rivers in the Rocky Mountains.  And by training, I mean knowing how to tip the kayak back right side should you end up capsized and stuck upside down.  It's not as easy as it looks.  I had a friend that spent almost an entire summer learning how to do it on a lake before her parents would let her go out of the rivers.

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