BriefINK: A Baker’s Dozen ~ ‘My Life with the Walter Boys’ by Ali Novak

My Life With the Walter Boys by Ali NovakBriefly: After the tragic deaths of Jackie’s entire family in a car accident, she moves from New York City to Colorado to live with the family of her mother’s best friend from college. It is on the flight there that Jackie is told that she will be living with twelve siblings – all but one male. She only had a sister, and she’s been attending an all-girls school, so Jackie has no experience with boys, much less a house full of them. 

And?: A fish out of water story at its heart, Jackie not only has to learn how to live with a house full of annoying, messy boys but doing so at the same time that she is trying to work through the death of her parents and sister Lucy. She’s been plucked abruptly from city life and plopped down in the middle of a farm, and she is not completely welcome to some. Her fastidious, perfectionist manner may not be a good match for her new life. And to top it off, she does not know what to do with her possible attraction to a couple of the boys. For a mature girl, she has some growing up to do.

So?: To its credit, the story doesn’t solely sit on Jackie’s shoulders. While the family is loving and tight, there are some things happening that cause Jackie to see that everyone has issues and may be hiding the truth beneath either a cocksure attitude, a shy exterior, or, perhaps, a constant quest for excellence.

There were only a couple of things that felt “off.” First, I am not sure if I bought into the treatment of Jackie when she first arrived. I think those kids, regardless of their age, gender or how they were really feeling about her arrival, would have been on their best behavior. I had a hard time believing that so many pranks would have been pulled on her immediately. Also, when she ditches school and drinks a beer. It’s that old trope of the good girl doing something she would never, ever normally do, and it felt forced.

To Read or Not To Read: While there are some deep issues here, they are handled in a manner that keeps the story from dragging itself into melodrama. The problems are not glossed over, by any means, either, so it doesn’t feel like they are there only to move the narrative along. It’s a solid book with well-developed characters.

FYI: I feel that I must mention that I have seen comments that this book was “inspired by” a book called Megan Meade’s Guide to the McGowan Boys by Kate Brian. I have not read this book, so my comments are based on only the book I read. It is now on my TBR list.

My Life with the Walter Boys by Ali Novak was published March 1, 2014 by Sourcebooks Fire. Ink and Page picked this book up from the library after seeing it somewhere on the internets.

Rating: 3.5

Genre: Young Adult Fiction Contemporary Romance Series
Ages: 13 and up
You Might Want to Know: Some underage drinking

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