Reviews for Being Friends With Boys


Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Fall
Charlotte is used to hanging out with the guys in her band, but when the group has a falling out, she feels lost. She spends time with new people, but these friendships prove even more complex than her old ones, especially once Charlotte begins hanging out with girls. This is a thoughtful story about the changing and complicated nature of teenage relationships.

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Kirkus Reviews 2012 March #1
Too many false notes sound in this tale of music, friendship and relationships. "Trip's out of the band." Those simple words make Charlotte's life very complicated. The manager of the band Sad Jackal as well as their lyricist, Charlotte is the invisible girl among the boys in her life. These include her oldest friend and fellow band member Oliver, new band member (and Charlotte's short-lived crush) Fabian, and the growing-distant Trip--not to mention potential new boyfriend Benji. Charlotte's appeal will be hard for readers to see, too, since her personality is so flat and undefined. It's only when she's pulled into singing with Sad Jackal that she shows some life. After performing at the school Halloween dance, Charlotte stretches her wings by singing with another band and leaving Sad Jackal after an argument with Oliver. Yet Charlotte continues to exist because of the males in her life, whether it's freaking out over the rumor that she's dating Oliver or fighting with her dad over her bad report card. While Charlotte's musical growth is inspiring, the numerous plot elements and one-note personalities make McVoy's fourth novel less a symphony and more of a garage-band song. (Fiction. 14 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 June

Gr 9 Up--Charlotte experiences the pleasures and perils of having friends who are boys in this enjoyable novel. An indifferent student, she thrives as manager of a band called Sad Jackal and also discovers her own talent for singing. But the major theme is the teen's feelings for several guys, both bandmates and classmates--are they romantic interests or just friends? Oliver, star of the group, may be taking credit for the songs Charlotte writes. Fabian, a newcomer, ignites a spark but may not be the one. Benji is the bad-boy study partner turned awkward date. Then there's Trip, her closest boy-who's-just-a-friend who left the band and is now pulling away from Charlotte, too. She must also deal with her annoying stepsisters, a former best friend who has abandoned her, an older sister who is away at college, and a mother who left the family to pursue her own interests. Sometimes, there is too much going on, and there are too many characters, which will confuse some readers. Also, while Charlotte reminisces about the "golden summer" and her deep friendships, the story starts after many of the rifts have occurred. This makes it difficult to see why she is so attached to the band members. With her family history thrown in, it sometimes feels as if the novel begins very late in Charlotte's story. However, readers will be fascinated by the quirky protagonist's growth as a singer and as a person. The ending-and Charlotte's realization that one boy is more than a friend-is a delightful surprise.--Miranda Doyle, San Francisco Public Library

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VOYA Reviews 2012 June
Charlotte is one of the guys, managing and co-writing songs for a band and enjoying her role on the sidelines. But a new school year changes everything, as she finds herself singing with the band and suddenly just being friends with boys may not be enough. Told in Charlotte's first-person voice, McVoy's novel captures all of the angst of suburban high school drama with little depth. As a character, Charlotte is passive and bland; through the veil of her voice, it is difficult to see why anyone would be interested in her, let alone the two bands, two boys, and assorted new friends with whom she suddenly finds herself. The many secondary characters in this novel are little more than stock teen caricatures, with Benji, the stoner ne'er-do-well who wants to be more than friends the only one who is remotely interesting. A subplot about Charlotte's estranged mother goes nowhere as McVoy misses the opportunity for Charlotte and her father to discuss their feelings by summarizing their exchange in a couple of sentences. Fewer scenes detailing Charlotte's shopping trips and makeovers for every date and performance, and more exploration of the real emotions with which Charlotte is struggling would have helped make this an insightful look at a young woman's struggle to find her voice, rather than the flat, lackluster story it is. Readers who enjoy novels in the vein of Sarah Dessen may be willing to give this one a try but the lack of depth may disappoint.--Vikki C. Terrile 2Q 4P J Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.

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