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THE BOY PROJECT: Notes and Observations of Kara McAllister. By Kami Kinard. Scholastic Press. 256 pages. $12.99.
Everybody hates science projects. Usually, you wait until the last minute, and that turns out for a pretty terrible weekend. Sometimes, even the parents have to help. Yet in “The Boy Project,” Kara works on her project by herself and in secret.
The main character is Kara McAllister. She is a seventh-grader who does not have the one thing all girls in her grade have: a boyfriend. She really wants one. What should she do? Oh, right, science. The scientific method is a process of a few simple steps, which is just right for her situation.
In science, Kara is asked to do a project for the science fair and an idea pops into her head. She’ll do a project on the relationships of middle schoolers, However, while undercover, she’ll really be looking at which guy is right for herself.
Another character is Colleen, the seventh grade’s “popular girl.” When Kara tries to collect data on the boys in her grade, Colleen, or “Maybelline” as Kara calls her, attempts to find out what’s going on and how to humiliate Kara. Colleen embarrasses Kara several times, which is funny, but you feel bad for Kara.
The plot is well-written, which keeps the reader interested throughout the book. Some of the dialogue and actions are unrealistic, but provided good laughs.
For the most part, the plot is like a hedge that’s most accurately trimmed around the corners. She’s a humorous writer, finding funny things that regular people might not see. The story structure is captured in a satisfying way, and her pacing is precise. Overall, the book is written quite well.
This is Kami Kinard’s first book that she’s published. It’s very similar to “The Dork Diaries,” which is a humorous book written by Rachel Renee Russell. I would say the age for “The Boy Project” varies, but I would recommend it for 10-13.
It’s the perfect realistic fiction for middle school girls, and it’s a great read.
Kara captures the image of a middle-school student and lets the reader know that it’s OK to be yourself and that life can have holes along the way. Especially in middle school.
Carson Peaden is a seventh-grade creative writing student at the School of the Arts.
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