Thursday, March 31, 2011

McDonald, Abby. Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots

McDonald, Abby Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots
Candlewick Press 2010 293p 16.99
978-0-7636-4382-9 hs Environmentalism - fiction VG

Jenna, an environmentalist, spends the summer in the Canadian Rockies. Friendship is tested, love blossoms, and new skills are learned. A good summer read with well developed characters that will endear themselves to the reader. Grades 9-12. Jenna is a suburban environmentalist who campaigns to save the earth as a member of Green Teen. Little does she know what is in store for her when she spends the summer with her godmother in the Canadian Rockies. Her values are tested and friendships are made and lost. Her appreciation for the outdoors blossoms when faced with kayaking, rock climbing, fly fishing and mountain biking, things she has never done. Her godmother’s stepdaughter is a sullen/Goth type who tests Jenna’s patience. The boys in the community are surly to start with, however love blossoms between Jenna and Reese and Jenna comes to know that Ethan is gay. Secrets erupt in the final four chapters largely due to a friend of Jenna’s who wrecks the idyllic summer by arriving unannounced. Jenna learns the value of hard work, learning new skills, and seeing that extreme environmentalism may not be what she actually supports. Characters are well-drawn and will resonate with teen readers. The theme of saving the earth from human predators pervades the first and last part of the book. However during the course of the summer, Jenna realizes that compromise is needed and a middle ground must be found that will allow communities to prosper economically while respecting the earth. For grades 9-12. Realistic Fiction McNicol,Lois

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