Size Doesn’t Matter (114): Being Friends with Boys; The Hammer of Thor

Size Doesn’t Matter (114): Being Friends with Boys; The Hammer of ThorBeing Friends with Boys by Terra Elan McVoy
Published by Simon Pulse on May 1, 2012
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 361
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

harlotte and Oliver have been friends forever. She knows that he, Abe, and Trip consider her to be one of the guys, and she likes it that way. She likes being the friend who keeps them all together. Likes offering a girl's perspective on their love lives. Likes being the behind-the-scenes wordsmith who writes all the lyrics for the boys' band. Char has a house full of stepsisters and a past full of backstabbing (female) ex-best friends, so for her, being friends with boys is refreshingly drama-free...until it isn't any more.

When a new boy enters the scene and makes Char feel like, well, a total girl...and two of her other friends have a falling out that may or may not be related to one of them deciding he possibly wants to be more than friends with Char...being friends with all these boys suddenly becomes a lot more complicated.

Terra Elan McVoy’s a local author. I’ve never read any of her books before this one, but I own a couple because I try to buy a book or two when I visit Little Shop of Stories, my favorite local shop, and they generally have signed copies of her books in stock. Plus, several of them sounded like cute contemporaries right up my alley. This purchase was an excellent one. Being Friends with Boys does a great job depicting high school friendship and the complexities of emotions.

Generally, when I’m really impressed with a novel, it’s the ship. You all know this about me. In this case, what I like the most is how realistic it feels. Charlotte has a bunch of different potential love interests. I’m using this term pretty broadly, because only with two was anything ever going to happen, but in terms of what Charlotte considers, there are four. Charlotte spends much of the book confused about what precisely she wants but really enjoying this new attention. I really like that Char has some trouble determining her own feelings when someone has a crush on her too, because omg that’s such a thing and it doesn’t show up in YA much.

On top of Charlotte’s new romantic drama, she has friendship stuff going down. Early on, she and her best friend Trip become estranged. She gets through that by distracting herself with a new role in the band. A formerly two-faced best friend, Lish, comes back and wants to be friends again. Charlotte and her other bestie, Oliver, have issues too. What I like about this is that friendship can be tough and that’s shown so well here, in the form of toxic friendships and healthy ones that need a bit of TLC too.

Char’s interaction with her family’s nice as well, though perhaps a bit abbreviated. I like the way that the family dynamics have changed with her sister off to college; Charlotte begins to bond with her stepsisters and realize that she’d perhaps mis-judged them. Her dad’s a really nice, involved, tolerant parent, and he’s pretty unique in YA fiction.

Being Friends with Boys isn’t the voiciest contemporary, but Char’s engaging. One thing I do really appreciate about her narration is that she often will think things that are totally unfair and rude, but then will correct herself for it. That added authenticity, because I know my kneejerk thoughts are often awful and then I have to reel myself back in.

View Spoiler »

If you’re looking for a contemporary all about friendships, this backlist title might be right up your alley. The music element is also strong, for those into that.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (114): Being Friends with Boys; The Hammer of ThorThe Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan
Narrator: Kieran Culkin
Length: 10 hrs, 34 mins
Series: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #2
Published by Listening Library on October 4, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Mythology, Adventure
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Thor's hammer is missing again. The thunder god has a disturbing habit of misplacing his weapon--the mightiest force in the Nine Worlds. But this time the hammer isn't just lost, it has fallen into enemy hands. If Magnus Chase and his friends can't retrieve the hammer quickly, the mortal worlds will be defenseless against an onslaught of giants. Ragnarok will begin. The Nine Worlds will burn. Unfortunately, the only person who can broker a deal for the hammer's return is the gods' worst enemy, Loki--and the price he wants is very high.

I’d basically given up on Rick Riordan, and I do still have a lot of problems with his stories (mostly that he keeps telling the same tell over and over with an American focus and white, cishet male protagonists front and center). That said, The Hammer of Thor was a pleasant surprise.

The plot follows exactly the same lines that you’d expect. Adventures that tend to the silly and a fair amount of juvenile humor abound. If you enjoy what Riordan does in one book, you’ll enjoy them all probably, because he really doesn’t muck about with the formula. At all.

Magnus bored me on the first go-round, but I’m coming to like him more. It’s rather nice that he’s absolutely not helpful in a fight. He has a magic sword that fights for him without his assistance, aside from sucking up his energy. (It’s a bit weird that his sword, Jack, is always trying to get with hot lady weapons but okay.) Magnus is a healer and a marshmallow.

What pleasantly surprised me about The Hammer of Thor was the introduction of a new character: Alex Fierro. Now, as ever, there’s a lot that’s a bit off about Riordan’s representation. Alex describes himself/herself as “genderfluid and transgender,” which so far as I can tell is not a thing people are at the same time. Bear in mind that I’m no expert, but genderfluid seems to be the correct label. Alex generally feels more female and demands female pronouns, but asks everyone to switch to male pronouns on those days. Clunky as Riordan’s diversity has consistently been, I’m glad that he’s continuing to try, because he does mean well and these books have such a massive reach. I’ll be a much bigger fan of Riordan if my ship of Magnus and Alex turns out not to be a crack ship. It’s encouraging that Magnus had one of those chin drop moments at Alex all gussied up; if either of them isn’t interested, it would seem to be Alex.

I really enjoyed The Hammer of Thor, and I’m hoping Riordan doesn’t dash my hopes. Also, good news: book three’s going to have Annabeth and Percy in it!

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

Save

3 responses to “Size Doesn’t Matter (114): Being Friends with Boys; The Hammer of Thor”

  1. OH man. Now you’ve done it. I wasn’t super interested in Magnus Chase (although I did just add The Hidden Oracle to my TBR) but you had to go and mention Annabeth and Percy. *SIGH* And you like the audiobook narrator, yea?
    Bonnie @ For the Love of Words recently posted…2016 End of Year Book SurveyMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Magnus Chase is proving better than The Hidden Oracle so far, though I haven’t listened to the second one of that series yet, though, so we’ll see. Magnus Chase has had two narrators so far. Neither was amazing, but both were totally fine. Might be a bit jarring back to back, though, so fair warning.

  2. Oooohhh… that’s good to know. I’ll be sure to space them apart then!
    Bonnie @ For the Love of Words recently posted…Life’s Too Short: All Our Wrong Todays, Daughter of a Thousand Years, The Last Adventure of Constance VerityMy Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge