First I must start by saying I am a huge, huge fan of Terra Elan McVoy. I picked her book Pure up on a whim and fell in love with the story. It wasn’t my usual kind of book or subject matter, but it was so fascinating I couldn’t put it down. Basically, I have been a fan ever since. When I heard she was writing a new book I was ecstatic. And then when I was offered an ARC I was so over the moon. And let me tell you it was exactly what I expect from McVoy. Was it as good as Pure for me, no way, but it still was really enjoyable. And part of that is because I think McVoy hit the ups and downs of having friendships with boys.
Being Friends with Boys is a story about Charlotte, a normal girl that is the manager of a band. The band includes Abe, Trip and Oliver, Char’s three best friends, and she is completely content with that. After all, she has more guy friends than girl friends because girls never seem to be there for her when she needs them. For example, her mother abandoned her when she was younger, her sister is in college leaving her behind, and her former best friend Lish stopped coming around because Charlotte wasn’t cool enough. Charlotte knows that Oliver, Abe and Trip will always be there. She counts on it. But the problem is, things tend to change and change quickly. Soon Char has no idea which end is up — she and Trip are suddenly barely speaking, he’s out of the band and replaced with new guys, and most scary of all she is suddenly singing instead of managing. Quickly thereafter, she is forming a crush and Lish is unexpectedly back in her life. Things are on the upswing and starting to look good. But why can’t she get Trip out of her head and why is he ignoring her? There is no question that her hands are full and as a result of the many transitions her emotions are all over the place.
Honestly, there was stuff I really liked about this book and stuff that I wasn’t crazy about. Charlotte was one of the parts I really liked. There was something about her that was very relatable. There was an ease to her when she was around all the boys in her life and I liked that. She seemed comfortable in her own skin and in her element. And as much as I liked her relationship with all the guys, my favorite by far was the one she shared with Trip and Benji. When Char was around Fabian she was awkward and unsure, around Oliver she was constantly looking out for his feelings and reactions, but when she was around Benji and Trip she never once second guessed herself. Well, that is until she tried to force situations with both of them. Truthfully she was her absolute best when around those two boys and that made me really like her as a character.
On the other side, as much as I enjoyed that Charlotte that was friends with the boys, I loathed the Charlotte that was friends with the girls. The girls that Charlotte was friends with, and I use that term loosely, were the complete opposite of the boys and that bothered me. I guess when you think about it there is obviously going to be two different dynamics with these kinds of friendships, with boys and girls being so different from one another, but these girls were just horrible. They used Charlotte and treated her like dirt and I wasn’t a fan of that. The fact that Charlotte let them when she would have never let Trip or Oliver get away with the same behavior was insulting. She was better then Lish and the girls that were using her for access to the band and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why she would take that from them. The friendship with the boys was much more believable than it was with the girls so that was disappointing.
What wasn’t disappointing was the focus on music in the story. I’m not usually one that goes gaga over music in books, but I have to say there was something about the addition of the band’s music that added to the plot. I don’t know if it was Charlotte coming out from behind the scenes and actually being front and center singing her own lyrics, or the places that Sad Jackal played. The scene’s set — like the Halloween dance that brought me back to high school dances or the bar where Charlotte and Fabian would go with friends and listen to other bands — set a fun and interesting tone. It added an energy to the book that helped feed the emotions Charlotte was feeling. When she was confused she would write and sing out the confusion. When she was hurt she would dance and sing away the pain. It added depth to Charlotte’s character and gave me the ability to look inside her as opposed to the external view her relationships provided. I appreciated that ability.
All in all I really enjoyed this book. It was a fun, entertaining read. It made me look forward to more books by McVoy. If you haven’t read her, check some of her stuff out. If you have, pick this one up and enjoy. I did.