Published by Candlewick Press on April 13, 2010
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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Jenna may hail from the ’burbs of New Jersey, but Green Teen activism is her life. So when her mom suggests they spend the summer at Grandma’s Florida condo, Jenna pleads instead to visit her hippie godmother, Susie, up in rural Canada. Jenna is psyched at the chance to commune with this nature she’s heard about — and the cute, plaidwearing boys she’s certain must roam there. But after a few run-ins with local wildlife (from a larger-than-life moose to Susie’s sullen Goth stepdaughter to a hot but hostile boy named Reeve), Jenna gets the idea that her long-held ideals, like vegetarianism and conservation, don’t play so well with this population of real outdoorsmen. A dusty survival guide offers Jenna amusing tips on navigating the wilderness — but can she learn to navigate the turns of her heart?(
Ooooo! An outdoorsy contemporary, with a Jersey girl in the summery Canadian wilderness!? I was all for it. And honestly, the title was quite intriguing and made me laugh. I also thought the “Green Teen” spin was kind of a unique story element. All in all, I really enjoyed Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots. It was cute, light, and full of nature.
Jenna is an activist for preserving the environment. I liked reading about a heroine that had such strong values at such a young age. She is driven, and has goals for her future. I identified with her because I also had my future planned out as a teenager. And like her, my goals changed or were added to. I also liked that she was clean cut and had a desire to stay healthy by eating properly and staying away from drugs. AND she chose to go live in the wilderness over spending a summer poolside in Florida! She’s just a refreshing character, and stands out from the bulk of YA contemporary heroines.
So, she heads off to Canada to stay with her godmother, Susie, and help her spruce up a quaint little B&B in the woods. I really like her godmother! She kind of reminds me of Meryl Streep’s character in Mama Mia! She’s laid back, doesn’t stress to much, lets thing roll off her, and is a lot of fun to talk to. I also like Susie’s husband. He’s a bit quiet and removed, but he has a good heart. Then there’s Fiona, Susie’s stepdaughter, who is pretty much a brat. Every book has to have opposition, and Fiona plays that role on her own. I liked watching her change as Jenna’s perkiness and conscience wore off on her. And THEN we have the three, cute wilderness boys. They spend their summer hanging out with Jenna and making a documentary of sorts about all the fun you can have in that area. Their goal is to put it on a website and attract tourists to the B&B, rather than the high-end spa up the mountain. They spend lots of time swimming, hiking, kayaking, rock climbing, etc. I loved reading about all the fun they have doing things I’m too chicken to do!
To sum things up, this book is really cute! I enjoyed seeing Jenna change into a more realistic, mature girl. I think everyone has a pivotal moment in their life when they really decide what they believe in. This summer did just that for Jenna. Plus, she made some memories, made some friends, strengthened her family bonds, and even found herself in the middle of some romance. Was the book memorable? Probably not. But I enjoyed my time reading it, and would recommend it as a fun contemporary romance.