There's a lot to like in this cleverly written book in which the protagonist, Kara McAllister, decides to apply the scientific method to her goal of getting a boyfriend. Kinard's ability to integrate scientific principles into Kara's goal is a stroke of genius. Readers won't even notice how Kinard slips in data tabulation, hypothesis, observations, results and graphs into the book. This is actually a great example of what I advocate in Teaching the Story: Fiction Writing in Grades 4-8; fiction can include science and history if done well!
Besides a very clever plot, I admired how Kinard communicated Kara's voice. Here is an example when Kara is thinking about her math teacher:
Obviously Mr. DeLacey is too old to be my boyfriend. But what if we were meant to be together, you know, eternally? Now that I've visited Bebe Truelove's site, I can't help thinking that Mr. DeLacey would make a great soul mate. One thing he has going for him is that he already knows how to solve for x. X being an unknown answer. You just have to know how to use the information right in front of you to find it. Kind of like finding a soul mate (p. 43).
Not only are scientific principles interwoven into this fun read, but the reader will relate to a young girl's struggle to find a place for herself. I loved this great moment of insight that marks a turning point for Kara:
I know for sure that none of these boy-getting strategies will work for me. First of all, I can't help my looks. There's nothing I can to make myself look like Maybelline. Second, I can't stand running. I'm RELIEVED that Julie [her older sister] doesn't want to run with me anymore! Finally, I am not about to go hugging random boys to get one to notice me. That's just not me. If I started acting like that, I wouldn't be Kara (p. 123).
I didn't realize how much this book had gotten under my skin until after I finished reading it and dreamt about my junior high boyfriends! Although I never applied the scientific principle to obtaining a boyfriend, that desire to be affirmed by a young man runs deep in many young (and not so young) women. I wish I had a book like The Boy Project to help me navigate those waters!
Now you have the chance to win an autographed copy of the book as well as a cute wristband for a young reader in your life. Here is how:
There will be one more post-Christmas giveaway. Stay tuned for Stake Out by Bonnie Doerr.