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Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking BootsReview - Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots
by Abby McDonald
Candlewick, 2010
Review by Amy Ridley
Jan 4th 2011 (Volume 15, Issue 1)

Jenna is a Green Teen and never passes up the chance to let anyone and everyone know what they should be doing to save the environment. She’s also not afraid to let people know what their actions are doing to the environment. She spends afternoons after school writing to her Congressman with her best friend Olivia. Both girls have big summer plans to save the world from global warming until Jenna’s parents tell her that she’ll be spending the summer in Orlando with her grandmother and mother while her dad goes to Sweden for work. She senses that something more is going on between her parents but refuses to acknowledge it. In order to ignore what’s going on with her family, she arranges to spend the summer in Canada with her godmother.

She soon finds herself in a small town in Canada surrounded by the most beautiful scenery she has ever seen. The local group of teens do not seem excited to have a new visitor. Her godmother Susie has a step-daughter, Fiona, who is Jenna’s age. She is anything but pleasant and has made it her mission in life to make Jenna and Susie miserable. The group of boys in town are not much more friendly. They make fun of Jenna every chance they get. They do not understand her dedication to the Green Teens and let her know how stupid they think it is.

Jenna’s summer is not turning out the way she anticipated. Her mother keeps calling, wanting to talk to her about what to expect when she comes home. Olivia has gone to a green camp with her new boyfriend and doesn’t have much time to listen to Jenna’s issues. She feels lonely and spends a lot of her time alone writing letters to her community leaders. She can’t believe that nobody in Canada cares about saving the Earth the way she does. Every suggestion she makes is shot down for being too expensive or not practical for the struggling community.

Susie is renovating her house to be a B & B and Jenna decides to help her promote it by creating a website that highlights the area’s hiking and rafting and outdoor activities. She ends up with the boys a lot who make her the feature of the ad campaign. This involves making her rock climb among other physical activities that do not come naturally to her. She finds herself so caught up in what she’s doing that she hasn’t had time to work on her green initiative.

Jenna begins to question how much of a difference she’s actually making with her radical ideas. She starts to look at why she spends so much time working for the cause. Is she really that passionate about it or does she just need something to be passionate about? Could her new passion be one of the boys that have made it a point to make her miserable?

The author does a great job making Jenna likable even though her green initiative can be annoying. Jenna is dedicated to the cause but she starts to realize that there are lots of worthy causes that she could be dedicated too. The book shows that a change of scenery can affect a person’s priorities. Jenna and Olivia both find themselves in different places and have much different reactions to their surroundings.

This book is appropriate for ages 12 and up.

 

© 2010 Amy Ridley

 

 

 

Amy Ridley received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Boston University


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