Sunday, August 5, 2012

ARC Review: "The Boy Recession" by Flynn Meaney


Goodreads Summary:

Where have all the boys gone?

Down-to-earth Kelly is always the friend and never the girlfriend. But as her junior year of high school starts, Kelly is determined to finally reveal her true feelings for her long-time crush and good friend Hunter - that is, until the Boy Recession hits.

Over the past summer, an overwhelming number of male students have left Kelly and Hunter's small high school class. Some were sent to private school and others moved away. Whatever the case, the sudden population shift has left the already small Julius P. Heil High in desperate shape. The football coach is recruiting chess champs for his team, the principal's importing male exchange students to balance out school dances,and Hunter is about to become an unexpected heartthrob.

Content with his role as the guitar-strumming, class-skipping slacker, Hunter is unprepared to be the center of attention. Desperate coaches are recruiting him for sports teams, and the drama teacher casts him in the lead role of the school musical. Even the Spandexers, powerful popular girls in tight pants, are noticing Hunter in a new light - with a little work, he could have potential. He might even be boyfriend material...

In order to stand out from the crowd and win Hunter's heart, Kelly needs a "stimulus package" in the form of cougar lessons from a senior girl who dates hot freshman boys and advice on the male mind from her Cosmo-addicted best friend, Aviva. As if dating wasn't hard enough without a four-to-one ratio!

***


A while ago, I wrote about a review I was dreading, because I didn't want to bash an already under-publicized book. Ultimately, I decided that I am an honest reviewer, and that I'm not going to hold back on my opinions.

Lucky for this book, I ended up not hating it. In fact, I kind of liked it.

I'll start with the criticism, since that's the first thing that came to mind. The concept of a "boy recession" was probably meant to be original and clever, but I found it silly. It's kind of surprising, since Flynn Meaney's first book (Bloodthirsty--no, I didn't read it) actually had an awesome idea behind it ("Some vampires are good. Some are evil. Some are faking it to get girls.")

In a lot of ways, this book felt juvenile. The characters seemed more like stereotypes than actual people. And if you're one of those people who hates when all "other women" are written as neurotic windbags, this is probably not the book for you.

But The Boy Recession did get better as it went along. While the style was nothing to write home about (it sometimes seemed like the author was trying too hard to sound like a teenager), there is no doubt that Hunter and Kelly's voices were distinct. And many of the side characters who first appeared as stereotypes actually did display some idiosyncrasies. Darcy, Eugene, and Aviva turned out to be really fun characters for example, though some of the others never did break out of "neurotic whore" mode.

And, well, the story and the romance were really sweet. Both Hunter and Kelly grew on me, and I "awwed" at the end. Oh, and there were some really hilarious moments.

So while The Boy Recession is not good for those who like thoughtful, serious reads, it's perfect for those days when you're looking for a sweet, funny, light-hearted contemporary.

***

The Boy Recession comes out on August 7th. My sister's roommate lent me the ARC.

Also, for those who are interested, Goodreads is hosting a giveaway here.

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