Published: January 2012
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
For anyone who's ever felt that boys were a different species....
Thirteen and wildly creative, Kara McAllister just had her best idea yet. She's going to take notes on all of the boys in her grade (and a few elsewhere) in order to answer a seemingly simple question: How can she get a boyfriend?
But Kara's project turns out to be a lot more complicated than she imagined. Soon there are secrets, lies, and an embarrassing incident in the boy's bathroom. Plus, Kara has to deal with mean girls, her slightly spacey BFF, and some surprising uses for duct tape. Still, if Kara's research leads her to the right boy, everything may just be worth it...
Full of charts and graphs, heart and humor, this hilarious debut will resonate with tweens everywhere.
Kara is the only one of the girls in her grade who has never had a boyfriend, so she decides to take steps to change that. Kara starts taking notes on the boys in her class and sometimes even the cute guy at the mall. She also starts taking notes on the girls in her class, including "Maybelline" and "The Vine," who always seem to have guys interested in them. Kara's project doesn't quite go as she anticipated, and she ends up getting herself into some embarrassing situations because of it. But along the way, she learns a lot and makes some important realizations.
I found The Boy Project to be hilarious. Several times I would read something funny out loud to my teenage daughter, who then grabbed the book to read as soon as I was done with it. It was truly like taking a trip back to junior high school. I think we all knew a "Maybelline" (the girl who always wore way too much makeup) and "The Vine" (the one who was always hanging all over the guys). Kami Kinard has written characters that are easy to relate to and has really captured the awkwardness of middle school/junior high. The charts and graphs were cute and funny and really enhanced the book. Usually the use of multiple exclamation marks bothers me, but it works here. This is an excellent book. I would recommend it for tweens, teens and adults who enjoy MG fiction (and maybe want to reminisce a little).
This copy was reviewed as part of a traveling tour.
Guest post by Kami Kinard
Where’s the Fact in Fiction?
Everyone who’s read an interview with me already knows that I got the idea for writing THE BOY PROJECT while reading my own middle school diaries. But THE BOY PROJECT is a work of fiction. Nothing in the book happens exactly the way things happened in my own middle school life. Still, authors draw on their own experiences, and there are several scenes in the book that were based on my actual tween experiences. These scenes, however, have been fictionalized. I like to call this “ramping it up.” Because in most cases, fiction needs to be bigger, better, and more interesting than what really happens to us!
I thought it’d be fun to create a fact and fiction list to show how reality morphed into fiction.
FICTION: Kara is in 7th grade and has never had a boyfriend, but everyone else has.
FACT: I had never had a boyfriend in the 7th grade, (or the 8th, or the 9th) but there were lots of other girls who hadn’t either, so I was not alone. I had to make Kara seem like she was the only one in that category to make her situation seem more desperate.
FICTION: In the drawing of Kara’s family, her dad is wearing bargain shoes made of bright green suede and a bow-tie. Kara’s comment implies that he wears a bow tie all of the time.
FACT: I never saw my dad in a bow tie, unless he was wearing a tuxedo. But he definitely had a pair of bright green suede shoes. My brother and sister got a big kick out of seeing that in the book, because we all remember those shoes. (There are some things you don’t need to ramp up because they’re already pretty funny!)
FICTION: During history class, the boy sitting behind Dianna Leroy puts tiny pieces of paper in her curly hair, so that the back of her head looks as white as snow. This later creates a distraction just when Kara needs it.
FACT: I had very curly hair and this happened to me, but instead of creating a distraction when I needed it, it turned a lot of unwanted attention my way. I recently signed a book for the niece of the boy who put those little pieces of paper in my hair… I asked her to tell him thanks for the scene!
FICTION: Mrs. Hill asks the students to write a descriptive paragraph about someone in the room and then she takes them up and reads them aloud in front of everyone. The problem is, the students didn’t know their work was going to be read aloud! This is how Kara finds out that her crush likes her back!
FACT: My English teacher did this to us. There was a boy in the room who liked one of my friends and he wrote a paragraph about her sexy voice. He also described her hair, so everyone knew who he was talking about. But my friend was very shy, and she wanted to crawl under the desk when she heard this read aloud. The boy was pretty embarrassed too. They did not end up together!
So, I’ve just run through some of the tiny scenes from my book that were grounded in reality. Most of the scenes in THE BOY PROJECT, however, were completely made up. Yet there is one big thing in the novel that was not made up at all: Kara’s feelings. When I was in middle school, I felt the way Kara does about friends and wanting a boyfriend. A lot of middle school girls who have read the book tell me that they identify with Kara and they feel like she understands them. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to hear this, because I know that for these girls, I kept the feelings real.
About the author:
Before she’d finished seventh grade, Kami Kinard had written several books. Most people call these books diaries. Without the details garnered from these early works, The Boy Project might not have been born! A former high school teacher, Kami currently writes from balmy, buggy, and beautiful Beaufort SC where she lives with her husband and two children.
You can find Kami on KamiKinard.com, Nerdy Chicks Rule, Twitter, and Facebook.
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Giveaway is U.S. ONLY. This giveaway will run until midnight EST on February 25. Must be 13 or older to enter. Winner will be chosen using Random.org. Winner will be emailed and this blog post will be updated to include the name of the winner. Winner has 3 days to contact me or a new winner will be selected.
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Winner: Paige B.
Winner: Paige B.