The Boy Project: Notes and Observations of Kara McAllister

The Boy Project: Notes and Observations of Kara McAllister

4.6 55
by Kami Kinard
     
 

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For anyone who's ever felt that boys were a different species....

Wildly creative seventh grader Kara McAllister just had her best idea yet. She's going to take notes on all of the boys in her grade (and a few elsewhere) in order to answer a seemingly simple question: How can she get a boyfriend?

But Kara's project turns out to be a lot more complicated

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Overview


For anyone who's ever felt that boys were a different species....

Wildly creative seventh grader Kara McAllister just had her best idea yet. She's going to take notes on all of the boys in her grade (and a few elsewhere) in order to answer a seemingly simple question: How can she get a boyfriend?

But Kara's project turns out to be a lot more complicated than she imagined. Soon there are secrets, lies, and an embarrassing incident in the boy's bathroom. Plus, Kara has to deal with mean girls, her slightly spacey BFF, and some surprising uses for duct tape. Still, if Kara's research leads her to the right boy, everything may just be worth it. . . .

Full of charts and graphs, heart and humor, this hilarious debut will resonate with tweens everywhere.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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.)
From the Publisher

Looking for a boyfriend takes on a whole new meaning when 14-year-old Kara starts her research project.

Kara, a self-proclaimed geek, decides to find a boyfriend using the scientific method.  This initially involves covert observation of her subject: boys. She keeps detailed index cards, and the novel is decorated with her charts, graphs and lists. The project eventually becomes a science-fair project that also utilizes Facebook for a love survey. When her best friend Tabbi gets a boyfriend first, unfortunately with Kara\u2019s crush, it takes Kara some time to remember that she needs her best friend more than a she needs a boyfriend. This middle-school drama is hip to the moment, with break-up texting, kissing and popularity tug of wars. The boy obsession becomes tiresome, but Kara\u2019s irrepressible spirit, clever wit and introspection save this story from vapidity Kara\u2019s hilarious observations, as when she compares feigning happiness to the difficulty of fastening the, like, 15 hooks of her 87-year-old grandma\u2019s bra, keep it buoyant. As she becomes increasingly discerning, Kara realizes that being true to oneself is the coolest asset.

Kara\u2019s boy-crazy experiment lends refreshing perspective on teen relationships, and the results point to self-enlightenment. (Fiction. 10-13)

-Kirkus Reviews - October 15, 2011

Kinard\u2019s 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: \u201cI\u2019ll be the eighth-grade version of Jane Goodall, except I\u2019ll be observing boys instead of chimps. Not that there\u2019s a huge difference.\u201d 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.)

-Publisher's Weekly, December 5, 2011

Children's Literature - Leigh Geiger
Boy-crazy "tween" girls will have no trouble identifying with thirteen-year-old Kara who is sure she is the only girl in her middle school who does not have a boyfriend. Kara is creative and artistic which is a big plus, but she feels that her penchant for math and the scientific method classifies her as a dork. However, she is still a "regular" kid who daydreams during class and checks out all of the cool boys. Surely she can snag one of them. Kara begins a clever and humorous scientific analysis of eligible boys in her schools through "unobtrusive observation." She develops an objective format for noting her findings and then develops graphs and charts to analyze her data including a successful girl's "growth in number of boyfriends" and the strength of attraction to her possible matches. She also conducts online research which leads to a series of weekly hints for finding her "soul mate" from the self-proclaimed expert, Bebe Truelove. We follow Kara through the halls of middle school with a cast of very believable characters—dorky clueless boys, popular but nasty girls, lunchroom cliques with constantly changing loyalties, and friendly but strict teachers. Through a series of poignant but often humorous adventures, Kara eventually learns that the scientific method might not be the best choice for studying people. She does not need Bebe Truelove's advice or even the help of her older, wiser and popular sister. In a very satisfying conclusion, Kara learns to be herself and to trust in her own judgment and abilities. Tween girls, particularly reluctant readers, will be sure to enjoy Kinard's many depictions of observation note cards, charts and graphs, and other artifacts that Kara creates as she conducts her experiments. The chronological format, which follows Kara through each class period using prominent labels to put each event in context, will also appeal to younger and reluctant readers. Reviewer: Leigh Geiger, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 5�8—Kara McAllister is the only girl in her eighth-grade class who has never had a boyfriend. She decides to address her issue by designing a science experiment. If only it were that easy. A love triangle, vengeful teachers, and middle school social hierarchy all become independent variables in this project gone awry. In the end, though, Kara is able to reach a satisfying answer to her original question, "How can I find a boyfriend?" Note cards detailing surreptitious observations of her male classmates serve to guide readers through Kara's social experiment. Her convincing voice gives an authentic account of this awkward age.—Colleen S. Banick, Tomlinson Middle School, Fairfield, CT
Kirkus Reviews
Looking for a boyfriend takes on a whole new meaning when 14-year-old Kara starts her research project. Kara, a self-proclaimed geek, decides to find a boyfriend using the scientific method. This initially involves covert observation of her subject: boys. She keeps detailed index cards, and the novel is decorated with her charts, graphs and lists. The project eventually becomes a science-fair project that also utilizes Facebook for a love survey. When her best friend Tabbi gets a boyfriend first, unfortunately with Kara's crush, it takes Kara some time to remember that she needs her best friend more than a she needs a boyfriend. This middle-school drama is hip to the moment, with break-up texting, kissing and popularity tug of wars. The boy obsession becomes tiresome, but Kara's irrepressible spirit, clever wit and introspection save this story from vapidity. Kara's hilarious observations, as when she compares feigning happiness to the difficulty of fastening the, like, 15 hooks of her 87-year-old grandma's bra, keep it buoyant. As she becomes increasingly discerning, Kara realizes that being true to oneself is the coolest asset. Kara's boy-crazy experiment lends refreshing perspective on teen relationships, and the results point to self-enlightenment. (Fiction. 10-13)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780545345156
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
01/01/2012
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
298,469
Product dimensions:
5.76(w) x 8.52(h) x 0.91(d)
Lexile:
810L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author


Kami Kinard enjoys writing about the boyfriend quest more than she enjoyed experiencing it. A teaching artist on the SC Arts Commission’s Roster of Approved Artists, she writes from Beaufort, South Carolina where she lives with her husband and two children. Please visit her online at: www.kamikinard.com.

Read an Excerpt


    I, Kara McAllister, will change my image before the end of the school year. By “change my image” I mean “get a boyfriend.” And I know exactly how I’m going to do it. I’ll apply both my brains and the scientific method to the project. Hey, if the scientific method helped real scientists figure out the structure of an atom, surely it can help me figure out how to find a boyfriend!
    This pack of index cards will be perfect for inconspicuously taking notes on my subjects (boys) in their natural setting (school). The scientific term for this is “unobtrusive observation.” What method of research could possibly be easier? All you have to do is be a little sly while looking around.
    I’ll be the seventh grade version of Jane Goodall, except I’ll be observing boys, instead of chimps. Not that there’s a huge difference.

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