Book Thoughts: The Boy Recession by Flynn Meaney

The population of Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, is shrinking as families move to cities and towns with greener pastures, and the local high school is hurting: Nearly all of the area’s most eligible guys have moved or transferred schools.

With little competition, the remaining boys find their stocks on the rise, and even the most unlikely candidates have a good chance of making the team and getting the girl. Guitar-strumming slacker Hunter Fahrenbach has made an art of blending into the background, but now desperate coaches are recruiting him and popular girls are noticing his scruffy good looks. With a little help, Hunter might even be boyfriend material…

Down-to-earth Kelly Robbins has simple wish for her junior year: “one normal, nice boy to crush on.” Kelly and Hunter have always been friends, but is there something more to their platonic relationship? And can Kelly overcome the odds? After all, dating is hard enough without a four-to-one ratio.

Just take a look at this book. This cover is quite hysterical and the title catches your eye. When you turn the book to glance at its back cover, the little catch phrase is “It’s all about supply and demand.” I like that a lot. Mix that phrase and that cover with the summary and it sounds like a good book to pick up.

I started the first chapter a little confused. Each chapter page gives you the name of the POV you are reading from because it switches characters, and I had not read the name before diving in. It starts in Hunter’s POV, but I thought I was reading from Kelly’s. My issue dissolved in a few pages, but my mistake made an early realization: both POV voices were leaning towards ‘girly.’ I wasn’t able to distinguish differences between Hunter’s and Kelly’s POVs; they both sounded the same. And I thought both POVs were through a female’s perspective.

As I got through the novel, I noticed some things that I was able to relate to. Kelly and her friends said things and acted like my friends and I do (well, sometimes…). For example, when Hunter performs a song he wrote, Kelly and her friends are analyzing his lyrics. They also analyzed other people’s moves-especially Hunter’s. Meany also adds little things here and there that made me smile: for example, there is a mention of a Step team in Whitefish Bay’s school. In another scene, Hunter notes that he doesn’t care about stripping in front of everyone while changing between sets for the musical. Although these details are miniscule, I was able to connect with the book more.

I enjoyed Kelly and Hunter as protagonists, but a lot of the other characters are polar extremes; making them a tad like the unrealistic foils we have on TV shows, and I wasn’t really a fan of that. Kelly’s two friends Aviva and Darcy are main examples. Aviva is boy-crazy and can get any guy. Darcy is school-crazy and is class president. Their actions and ideas were annoying me by the end of the novel because their traits were centered on those things.

Although the story is focused on girls doing anything to get a guy, a lot of parts advocate female strengths and break stereotypes. There are girls asking guys to prom (which is awesome) and girls with great physical assets that have purity rings. I really liked these points in the book and wish I could see it in real life.

Overall, I thought this novel was alright. The plot line is pretty original (can you just imagine an actual boy recession?) and I enjoyed Hunter and Kelly’s story. One word comes to mind when I think of this book: cute. The Boy Recession is one of those reads that is just plain adorable. If you want a nice little love story, check this book out.

Random Quote: “The basic foundation of seduction is etiquette” (pg 211).

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