Review: Being Friends With Boys by Terra Elan McVoy

19

June 29, 2012 by Heidi

book cover of Being Friends With Boys by Tera Elan McVoyTitle: 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.

Get a second opinion:
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19 comments »

  1. I feel like this is something I NEED to read as it is MY LIFE!! I am always confused when people are appalled that I have very close guy friends who I am strictly you know, FRIENDS with. “It’s not possible,” they say. I have to admit that yeah, a lot of the time complications arise but sometimes it is really OKAY to not be overly um…*friendly* (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) with someone JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE A DIFFERENT SEX THAN YOU!!! I am not a lover of contemps as you know but I am thinking this is one I need to read!

    • Heidi says:

      This does not surprise me at all, because most of the girls I find myself really getting along with are also the being friends with boys type! I know you’re not huge on contemp, but I really think you might click with this one like I did!

  2. I really haven’t been able to decide whether or not to pick this up – you’ve definitely swayed me! I really want to read it now. Glad you connected with it so much! Bummer about the cover being so random, I hate that.

    • Heidi says:

      Yay! I’m glad I could sway you Allison, I really hope that you end up linking it, I enjoyed reading it so much. But yeah, really random cover…cute, but not applicable at all!

  3. Brandy says:

    I only read the first paragraph of your review. (I’ll come back in read the rest after I read the book.) I was on the fence about this one being a person who was friends with mostly boys in high school, but your first paragraph sold me. Contemporary YA isn’t my thing either and I too liked but had issues with Anna. Hopefully I will like this one as much as you do. Many contemp YAs just don’t work for me.

    • Heidi says:

      I hope it works for you as well, Brandy! I think because it was more relatable to me, I really liked it more than I have a lot of contemporary YA. =)

  4. Ooh, I’m excited for this because I liked but had issues with Anna and the French Kiss as well. (Apologies to everyone who looooves Anna et le petit Etienne.) And your burned CD cover idea is way better than the coffee of love. :)

    • Heidi says:

      Thanks, Maggie! Hehe, I’m so glad all of these other non-Anna lovers are coming out of the woodwork. I liked it okay, but I can’t get why everyone goes gaga over Etienne…seemed like a bit of a prat to me. 😛

      I hope that you end up liking this one!

  5. Jasmine Rose says:

    I’m so glad to hear you liked this one! I’ve been interested to read it because most of my friends in school were boys. I had my girl friends, of course, but for the most part I just hung out with guys. For all my grade school years I sat at the Boys Table at lunch 😛 In fact, I got mad when other girls sat there just because they had stupid crushes because it was “my thing” 😛
    ANYway…I’m glad to hear you liked it and I’m looking forward to reading it myself 😀

    • Heidi says:

      Yay! I hope that you end up liking it, Jasmine. I’m totally with you there. I’d sometimes get pretty superior with chicks who just had crushes on my guy friends too. Like, I realize you want to go out with them, but they’re still going to hang out with me and talk about you after. 😛

  6. You know the best thing about your review? The fact that you mention the cover and how it does not match at all. Seriously, that really bugs me. Like, what the hell does coffee have to do with Sad Jackal or Charlotte? I love the idea of the mixed cd with sharpie. THAT is a cool idea.

    Also? I liked all the various relationships and the presence of adults in Being Friends With Boys as well.

    • Heidi says:

      Haha, thanks, April! I’m glad I’m not the only one who was bothered by that. And YES, I loved that this book had such a wide variety of relationships. It made it seem real, and made me like Charlotte for not spending the whole book mooning over some guy.

  7. Thank you so much for the incredible review, and for giving BEING FRIENDS WITH BOYS a chance. I’m thrilled that you got so much out of it. Thanks for the blog tour stop too!!

    • Heidi says:

      Thank YOU so much! I was so happy to read this one and click with it so well, it’s easily one of my favorite contemporary YA reads. It was great to have you!

  8. […] the Day I Died by Candace Fleming With Bated Breath: July New Releases Top Reads of 2012 Thus Far Being Friends With Boys by Terra Elan McVoy Author Guest Post with Terra Elan McVoy Salute Your Shorts: The Assassin and the Desert by Sarah J. […]

  9. […] bookmarks featuring her latest, Being Friends With Boys, which I thoroughly enjoyed and reviewed here.  Haven’t read the book yet?  Well, if you enjoy music themed contemporary YA like Audrey, […]

  10. […] Want a second opinion? Check out YABibliophile’s review and Heidi’s review at Bunbury in the Stacks. […]

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