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My Life with the Walter Boys by Ali Novak

17 Jun

My Life with the Walter Boys

80479-256-957198It’s the things of a girl’s wild fantasy, but for Jackie, it’s pretty much a nightmare. Her parents and sister were killed in a car accident and her uncle doesn’t really want to raise a child, so her mother’s best friend, Katherine, takes guardianship of sixteen-year-old Jackie. With all of the pangs of loss as she leaves behind the only home and school she’s ever known, she heads into enemy territory—a ranch in the reaches of Colorado with eleven boys and one rascally tomboy. The Walter boys are practically infamous in their town, mainly for their gorgeous good looks. Here they are, in order:

Will, the eldest, is off at college and engaged.

Danny, a senior and Cole’s twin, is quiet and reserved and likes drama.

Cole, a senior and Danny’s twin, is good at auto repair and a chick magnet.

Isaac, a junior, likes girls. He’s Katherine’s nephew.

Alex, a sophomore, plays lots of video games.

Lee, a sophomore, is a skater, and he’s also Katherine’s nephew/Isaac’s brother.

Nathan, a freshman, loves music.

Jack and Jordan, 7th grade twins, are never caught without their video camera.

Parker, fourth grade, is the tomboy who loves football.

Zack and Benny, kindergarten, are little terrors.

And then there’s Jackie, a fashion mogul’s daughter and straight A student, now a part of this wild family, yet the boys see her as an interloper. Can she fit into this new life with the Walter boys? Or will the boys’ feuds and pranks push her away?

Note: Mostly PG-rated, though there is some mention of sexuality/nudity and alcohol.

Most of you have probably never heard of Wattpad (and I hadn’t either, until I picked up this book). It’s basically a social writing/reading site where you can work in installments to write your own book. A mixture of the fan-fiction way of writing and self-publishing, where fans can read your story as you write it. This book was first published on Wattpad, gained a following, was picked up by a publishing agent, re-edited and published this past spring. The sequel to My Life with the Walter Boys is also on Wattpad but being re-edited to mesh with the book version as well as the Wattpad version. Unfortunately, only the first chapter is available to read in the sequel (as of my writing this), and no news as to when more will be posted.

While I found this book addictive and feverishly want to read the second, I will allow that the premise (that a teenage girl’s family is killed, and her other family isn’t suited for a child, so she must go live with her mom’s best friend who happens to basically have a million cute boys) is somewhat juvenile (which is not necessarily a mark against it as the author was 15 when she first came up with the story, and she took a juvenile idea and made it into a believably good book. Props there!). So, while she did a fairly good job making the boys and the drama of embracing a new girl very real, the one area where I had criticisms (other than the original believability of the premise) is that of Jackie herself. Jackie just…isn’t originally very likeable. We don’t get most of her history, we don’t understand much about her past life, and we don’t necessarily trust her as a narrator. It seems like she’s just sprung up out of nowhere and we’re supposed to care and sympathize with her losing her family. I think fleshing out Jackie before she’s shipped off to the Walters would do wonders for the credibility and establishing Jackie as a likeable heroine. Plus, I don’t ever remember finding out why Jackie was named Jackie. I mean, it would’ve been nice to know if she was named Jaclyn or Jacqueline or something, since the picture of Jackie I get is the one from Roseanne. Ick.

 

 

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