07 September 2011

Wolves, Boys, and Other Things That Might Kill Me by Kristen Chandler

KJ Carson lives an outdoor lover’s dream. The only daughter of a fishing and wildlife guide, KJ can hold her own on the water or in the mountains near her hometown outside Yellowstone National Park. But when she meets the shaggy-haired, intensely appealing Virgil, KJ loses all self-possession. And she’s not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing that they’re assigned to work together on a school newspaper article about the famous wolves of Yellowstone. As KJ spends time with Virgil, she also spends more time getting to know a part of her world that she always took for granted . . . and she begins to see herself and her town in a whole new light.

I love that I found this non-werewolf-wolf book.  When I first discovered it, I had some reservations: would a book that wasn't about werewolves and only solely about regular wolves, be really that interesting?  Was the author only going to spew about science and facts?

Turned out, yes and no, but in the best possible ways.

Wolves, Boys, and Other Things That Might Kill Me packed a humorous punch like Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey but luckily lacked the shallow storyline.  K.J. in Kristen Chandler's story wasn't just some misunderstood, unpopular high school girl with a great destiny thrust upon her.  K.J. had a real life.  Real problems.  Her boyfriend wasn't a supernatural, god-like creature, either.

I liked K.J.'s relationship with her dad.
It wasn't a sob story—I could feel real emotion behind it and it really pulled me into the story even more because her dad wasn't this totally awesome, understanding guy.  I liked how Kristen Chandler didn't play up the "he wished he had a son" routine.  But I do hope there's a sequel so Kristen Chandler might elaborate and delve deeper into the father-daughter relationship.

I liked Virgil.  He didn't carry any of the typical baggage and he didn't bend over backwards to accommodate K.J.  I wish I had gotten more depth out of him though.  He didn't seem to have much of a backstory, but then again, that scarcity made K.J.'s story take center stage and let it shine.  Having more emphasis on the main character's story was much more refreshing.

So was the lack of the supernatural.  This story still packed a lot of punch. I loved how Kristen Chandler seemed to capture the small town atmosphere. It was far more expressive and detailed than the usual small town story.  K.J. wasn't just abnormal.  She was weird. 

I loved the hilarious descriptions.  They're funny, yet carry a lot of meaning.

The only problem is that most men don't like having a five-foot-four Pop-Tart row like a sailor while they do their manly fishing, so Dad usually saves me for women's groups, who think I'm the best thing since the sports bra.

Hardcover edition, page 42

I absolutely loved this book.  I hope to goodness there's a sequel.  K.J. was a great character and she had a great story to tell.

Book Info:

  • pages – hardcover, 371
  • published – May 2010
  • publisher – Viking
  • genre – contemporary fiction
  • received via – Borders
  • rating – 5/5