Title: My Life With the Walter Boys
Author: Ali Novak
Pub. Date: March 1, 2014
Genre: Young Adult
Rec. Age Level: 12+
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When Jackie Howard's entire family dies in a tragic car accident, she's forced to leave her entire life in New York behind and move in with her new guardian, a woman she's never met. Katherine Walter was her mom's best friend in college, but that's all Jackie knows about her. It isn't until she's on a plane bound for her new life that she finds out Katherine is mother to over a dozen kids, all boys save for one tomboy daughter. As Jackie tries to acclimate to her new surroundings and life without her family, she forms relationships with a few of the new boys in her life, some of which are friendly and some that are a bit more complicated. When two of the brothers start to show more than brotherly interest in Jackie, tensions in the house and between the siblings rise. How can Jackie choose between these two very different brothers when she has feelings for both?
I really thought I'd love My Life With the Walter Boys. There's romance, there's a crazy boy-filled premise, some drama, some humor, but, in the end, I couldn't really connect with any of the characters and I found the love interests really off putting. There were things I liked about this book, like some of the friendships between Jackie and the brothers, but I just didn't love this one.
Both of the love interests are incredibly selfish and, in my opinion, don't treat Jackie particularly well. I was actually unfazed by this at the beginning - after all, there was plenty of time for redemption - but I didn't get the redemption I craved. There were reasons given for their behavior, but it just wasn't convincing enough for me. I think this might have been because none of the characters felt fully developed to me... I hate to say it, but I think it might have been because there were so many Walter boys. Too many maybe. I know, it's almost blasphemous to say there were too many cute guys in this book, but it's true. I think Novak would have been better off having a few less Walter boys in the book and making them all really compelling characters. Each had an unique interest or schtick, but there was no depth, no connection. In this situation, I would have preferred quality to quantity.
My Life With the Walter Boys is a quick, fun read and I don't regret reading it, but I wanted more from the boys in this book... and for Jackie!