June 29, 2012 by Heidi
Title: Being Friends With Boys [Amazon|Goodreads]
Author: Terra Elan McVoy [Website|Twitter|Facebook]
Standing: Stand alone.
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Published: May 1st, 2012 by Simon Pulse
Format: Hardcover; 368 Pages
Source: Final copy from publisher via Lit Logistics.
Challenge: Completely Contemp Challenge
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 approached Being Friends With Boys with a bit of trepidation. See, those of you who read my blog regularly know by now that contemporary isn’t what I call ‘my thing’, on top of which I’ve been in a complete YA reading slump as of late. Being Friends With Boys sounded more or less like the perfect YA contemp for me, and I was so afraid that it wouldn’t live up to that expectation. Well friends, I’m happy to say, it surpassed it! Being Friends With Boys wasn’t cutesy or fluffy or angsty, it was a pretty true reflection of what being friends with boys is like in high school and beyond. Turns out, it was a great match for me, and I clicked with this book the way I see a lot of other readers clicking with things like Anna and the French Kiss (which I liked, but had issues with).
I’ll be honest, I think the blurb makes this one sound more angsty than it really is, but it certainly got one thing on the nose: being friends with boys is complicated. I’ve always found it easier to make guy friends than girl friends, and generally enjoy hanging out with them more as well. Guys don’t care how much you primp, they like to hang out and listen to music or watch movies, they don’t hold onto grudges or let arguments fester, they’re pretty great! I expected Charlotte and her story to be a mirror reflection of me and some of my own experiences with being friends with boys, but it wasn’t at all! I actually loved how different Charlotte and I were, as were our experiences with guys, making Being Friends With Boys both relatable and fresh.
What the blurb doesn’t tell you, and what I somehow missed from the reviews I’d read before picking this one up, is that Being Friends With Boys has a lot to do with being in a band. Charlotte manages and writes lyrics for Sad Jackal, but when her close friend Trip leaves the band and they take on new members, Charlotte finds her rolls (and all of her relationships) changing. I loved the presence of music in this book, and feel it even managed to steer clear of the overly cheesy category which is so easy to fall into any time lyrics and music are written about in prose.
I liked Charlotte a lot, she’s not 100% sure of herself, but she’s still pretty confident, and becomes more so throughout Being Friends With Boys as she decides who she is, what she wants, and what’s most important. She’s rational, upfront, and mature. That said, I liked the boys as well! Charlotte and Oliver have been close since elementary school, they can read each other better than anyone and always snap back. Trip helps Charlotte to grow as a person, Abe and Eli totally have her back, Fabian is instantly a person she can lean on, and Benji has some surprising depths. Besides which (and here’s something else they don’t tell you), Being Friends With Boys has a surprising amount of insight about being friends with girls as well! Charlotte is dealing with the loss of her former best friend, her sister moving to college, and acclimating to life alone with her two step-sisters. She also has to deal with her relationships with her father, mother, and step-mother, and I really appreciated that these important adults weren’t completely absent from this one. All of the relationships in Being Friends With Boys rang true to me, and I’m so happy that they varied so greatly.
I loved that I didn’t know where the story of Being Friends With Boys was going, but it still somehow ended up in the perfect place. I appreciate that it wasn’t overly sappy or cheesy, and reflected pretty well on those of us who prefer the company of the opposite sex. I think my biggest confusion with this one lays with the cover. I really like it, it’s cute, and it matches Terra Elan McVoy’s previous covers, but it has zero to do with the story. I think coffee is mentioned maybe once? I’d like to see something more relevant to the actual story, like a beat up notebook, a burned CD (with the title written on it in sharpie like the mix name because I am a GENIUS here), or a microphone.
Don’t forget to check out my tour stop for Being Friends With Boys where Terra Elan McVoy tells us how being friends with boys is different than being friends with girls, and enter for your chance to win a copy!
Likelihood that I’ll be back for more: I really enjoyed Being Friends With Boys, but I’m honestly not very familiar with Terra Elan McVoy’s previous books. Any suggestions? If they’re along similar lines, I’m in!
Recommended for: Anyone who enjoys the friendship of the opposite sex, particularly contemporary fans who are into music and bands.
Real life repercussions of reading this book:
I’m so grateful for all of the wonderful guy friends I’ve had in my life, even the relationships that ended in complete train wrecks. So thanks to all of you, and if any of you are actually reading this, then you know who you are.