The Boy Project: Notes and Observations of Kara McAllister

Kami Kinard. Scholastic Press, $12.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-545-34515-6
Kinard’s first novel reads a bit like Field Notes of a Romantically Frustrated Kid. Her sympathetic, entertaining heroine, Kara McAllister, dismayed at not having been kissed by age 13, is determined to use the scientific method to get a boyfriend: “I’ll be the eighth-grade version of Jane Goodall, except I’ll be observing boys instead of chimps. Not that there’s a huge difference.” Her goal is twofold: win the science fair with this project and achieve her other objective—unlimited texting, promised by her parents in return for an A in science. Unobtrusive observations, note taking, charts, graphs, and questionnaires (incorporated throughout) are all part of her plan, which has humorous and unexpected side effects as her views of, and feelings for, her subjects shift during the course of her research. Kinard creates a highly credible middle-school universe of popular girls, dorky boys, unpredictable teachers, and volatile loyalties; she hits all the right notes as Kara learns that first opinions are rarely accurate and that the scientific method does not always apply to human beings. Ages 9–12. Agent: Stimola Literary Studio. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 12/05/2011
Release date: 01/01/2012
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