Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Review #20 Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots

Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots
By Abby McDonald
Publication date: April 13, 2010
My rating: *****


Jenna is a die hard member of Green Teen, her high school's conservation activist group. When faced with a summer at her grandmother's Florida retirement community, Jenna convinces her parents to let her go stay with her godmother Susie in Canada. This is her chance to put her eco-friendly ideals to work as Jenna tries to convince Susi's family and friends about the importance of conservation. Unfortunately the Stillwater community does not feel the same way, especially Susi's unfriendly stepdaughter Fiona and her friends Ethan, Grady, and Reeve. Jenna is undeterred however and she does her best to make friends and try to make a difference.

Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots is a funny and moving book about family, friendship, and finding out what you really believe. Jenna is such a great character and I enjoyed watching her evolve from this girl just blindly spouting ideals to this more mature young woman who has a greater understanding of herself and the world around her. Having Jenna go to Canada and observe life in a very different environment from her New Jersey suburb was an important part of her character's growth. It reminded me of my childhood experiences staying at friends' homes where I would see a different way of doing things or what it was like going off to college and being exposed to new ideas or having beliefs challenged. Susi is a fantastic godmother who allows Jenna to be herself but at the same time she is able to help Jenna see the truth about herself and what she believes. Fiona at first is only portrayed as this angry girl who listens to angry/depressing music and makes sarcastic comments but as the book goes on we see why Fiona is so unhappy and we see a depth to her character. The boys, especially Ethan and Reeve both play an important part in Jenna's growth. As Jenna goes on hilarious wilderness adventures with Ethan and as she develops a friendship (and maybe more) with Reeve she undergoes a change in her perceptions.

I thought this was an absolutely fantastic story. It has been compared to the novels of Sarah Dessen and I would have to agree. I would definitely recommend this book to fans of Sarah Dessen, Carolyn Mackler, and Elizabeth Scott. Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review.


  1. Very nice review! I haven't heard much about this book. But what I have heard has been great so far. I'll have to look for this one!

    from Une Parole

  2. Great review! Sounds like a good book

  3. Great review! I liked this book, too. I liked the environmental piece especially--I'm glad you enjoyed this book!

  4. Sounds like an interesting book! Great review!

  5. Ooh, I love seeing reviews on books you don't hear alot about. I'm going to add this to the TBR pile! Thanks!

  6. Gah, so jealous that you got to read this so early and I have to wait, not fair. ;) Nah, just joking, although I do wish I could be reading this now and I fully expect it to be made of awesome! Thanks for the great review!


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