Title: Being Friends with Boys
Author: Terra Elan McVoy
Pulisher: Simon Pulse
Release date: May 1st 2012
Genre: Contemporary YA
Source: GalleyGrab - thank you to Simon & Schuster GalleyGrab for providing a free eGalley of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Find out more: Amazon | Goodreads
Charlotte and Oliver have been friends forever. She knows that he, Abe, and Trip consider her to be one of the guys, and she likes it that way. She likes being the friend who keeps them all together. Likes offering a girl's perspective on their love lives. Likes being the behind-the-scenes wordsmith who writes all the lyrics for the boys' band. Char has a house full of stepsisters and a past full of backstabbing (female) ex-best friends, so for her, being friends with boys is refreshingly drama-free...until it isn't any more.
When a new boy enters the scene and makes Char feel like, well, a total girl...and two of her other friends have a falling out that may or may not be related to one of them deciding he possibly wants to be more than friends with Char...being friends with all these boys suddenly becomes a lot more complicated.
I'm on my way up the stairs to my locker Monday morning when Abe comes down the other direction.My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Why did I wait so long to read a Terra Elan McVoy book? I'd heard great things about her writing, but for some reason I never got around to buying one of her books. So I was excited to see Being Friends With Boys on GalleyGrab, and made use of the opportunity to finally read a Terra Elan McVoy book. And I ended up loving it!
I love the topic of boy-girl-friendships - why aren't there more of them in YA? The topic is interesting, and the relationships are handled really well in Being Friends With Boys - I liked seeing how Charlotte being friends with boys influences way other girls treat her, and her assessment of the way boys think is lots of fun to read about.
I also loved the musical aspect - I didn't know it was going to be such an important part of the novel from reading the description, but I like that it did. I loved reading about the dynamics in the band, and Char's songs sound amazing - I wish Sad Jackal was a real band! I like how the plot is music-focused, but doesn't require much knowledge about any particular music scene, the way many music-focused books I've read do. There aren't many references to other bands or music that some people won't get; it's mainly about their original music, and I appreciated that.
The writing is good, it flows nicely and reads very quickly. There's something about Terra Elan McVoy's style that just makes it easy to get lost in the words - I generally don't like reading ebooks all that much, so when I do, I'm usually checking how many more pages I still have to go every few minutes. Being Friends With Boys is the first book that sucked me in so much I didn't feel the need to check at all, and I managed to be completely absorbed in the story despite the format.
I love Charlotte. Again, I can't put my finger on what makes her special, but she definitely is special. She's easy to relate to, so likeable, and even though we're not all that similar, I just clicked with her. I loved reading about her life - even when there's not much going on, I wanted to be there alongside Charlotte in her everyday life. Her voice is great, so real.
The secondary characters are okay. I feel like maybe there were a little too many - at times, it's hard to keep track of who's who, and not all of them have fully-developed personalities. But, somehow, I didn't even mind - the characters that are fully-developed make up for it! I loved Trip, Oliver, Fabian and Benji - each of them is adorable in his own way, and Char's relationship with each one is unique and complex. Reading about all the different relationships is probably what I liked most about Being Friends With Boys - it's nice to see such a wide variety of what friendship can look like.
The family storyline is pretty good - the set-up is unique and interesting to read about, but I would have liked to know more about the situation, the relationships between each of the family members, their past, and how all of that affects Charlotte.
I think the ending is a little too abrupt. Actually, I really like the ending, but I wanted there to be more. The romance doesn't start until the end of the story, which works with the story, but still - it's adorable, and I wanted to know more about how the relationship goes! I don't want to say too much about the romance aspect, since I liked not knowing who ends up being more than a friend to Charlotte, but it's so, so cute, and I wish we could have seen even more of that relationship. I also would have liked to know more about Charlotte's future, and whether she decides to go to college or not.
I feel like I'm not doing a good job at all of explaining what makes Being Friends With Boys so great. The novel isn't flawless, but it just works - I can't put my finger on what it is, but everything about this book is just the way I like it. With beautiful writing, and diverse, complex characters and relationships, Being Friends With Boys is a captivating story of all types of love and friendship, finding yourself, and, well, being friends with boys! I loved it, and I'm going to need to buy Terra Elan McVoy's earlier books!
If you've read this book, what did you think?