Publication Date: August 7, 2012
Pages: 247 pages
Source: Received from publisher for review
Where have all the boys gone?What happens when all the boys are gone? From your school, that is. When the most popular guys in school transfer to greener pastures, the Boy Recession hits. Guys who are usually ignored gain the girls' interest and new found popularity. The girls are scrambling to get a guy before they're all taken. Sweet Kelly likes slacker Hunter, who suddenly becomes the biggest catch in school. But now that he has all the girls' attention, Kelly realizes that she may be too late, because in a recession, it's every girl for herself.
Down-to-earth Kelly is always the friend and never the girlfriend. But as her junior year of high school starts, Kelly is determined to finally reveal her true feelings for her long-time crush and good friend Hunter - that is, until the Boy Recession hits.
Over the past summer, an overwhelming number of male students have left Kelly and Hunter's small high school class. Some were sent to private school and others moved away. Whatever the case, the sudden population shift has left the already small Julius P. Heil High in desperate shape. The football coach is recruiting chess champs for his team, the principal's importing male exchange students to balance out school dances,and Hunter is about to become an unexpected heartthrob. Content with his role as the guitar-strumming, class-skipping slacker, Hunter is unprepared to be the center of attention. Desperate coaches are recruiting him for sports teams, and the drama teacher casts him in the lead role of the school musical. Even the Spandexers, powerful popular girls in tight pants, are noticing Hunter in a new light - with a little work, he could have potential. He might even be boyfriend material...
In order to stand out from the crowd and win Hunter's heart, Kelly needs a "stimulus package" in the form of cougar lessons from a senior girl who dates hot freshman boys and advice on the male mind from her Cosmo-addicted best friend, Aviva. As if dating wasn't hard enough without a four-to-one ratio!
The Boy Recession was a super cute, though very light, story. Kelly is the fairly typical character found in a lot of young adult books. She's just popular enough to fit in, kind of shy, very sweet, and feels like she isn't noticed. I did like her, but didn't feel overly invested in her story. Hunter, on the other hand, was pretty great. He's a bit of a slacker (Be still my teenage heart!), does just enough to get by, is very cute but doesn't seem to realize that, and is a really nice guy. I loved his story, maybe because he has more to work through than Kelly. He was funny and just made me smile. Their friends were fun and I did enjoy their part in the story. The one who stood out the most was Eugene. He's a bit of an exaggerated character. He's a teen entrepreneur who apparently makes his money from supplying beer and other difficult to come by items to his schoolmates. There were some aspects to his part of the story that felt a bit unrealistic, but it did help move the story along.
The Boy Recession was a good story, for me, that could have been really good or even great if it had dug deeper. I felt some aspects of the story were an overview. Almost an entire year passes, and I felt like so much more could have been discussed. Kelly and Hunter's families are mentioned, but other than a few scenes between Hunter and and his father and one (I think) with his mom, they are absent. Kelly remains largely the same throughout the book, but Hunter makes huge changes. I felt that this was never really examined. I would have liked to have gotten a real sense of his motivations. Maybe The Boy Recession was never meant to be a particularly deep story.
All of this is not to say that I didn't enjoy The Boy Recession, because I absolutely did. Meaney's writing was enjoyable. Her characters were witty, and the dialogue was excellent. If you want a fun, mostly light-hearted story that will put a smile on your face, The Boy Recession just may be the book for you!
" 'Are you the bartender?' Aviva asks him.
'I delivered all this crap,' Derek says. 'I work for Eugene now. He paid me in beers. You can have one of mine, if you want.'
Derek holds out the can he's drinking from, and Aviva reads the label.
'Milwaukee's Second Best?'
'Is that a real brand?' I ask him.
'MSB? Hell, yeah, it is,' Derek says. 'Official beer of slackers.' " (pg 82)
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