Hot Key Books
Synopsis (from Amazon) - Ben Fletcher must get to grips with his more 'feminine' side following an unfortunate incident with a lollipop lady and a stolen bottle of Martini Rosso from Waitrose. All a big misunderstanding of course. To avoid the Young Offenders unit, Ben is ordered to give something back to the community and develop his sense of social alignment. Take up a hobby and keep on the straight and narrow. The hot teacher he likes runs a knitting group so Ben, reluctantly at first, gets 'stuck in'. Not easy when your dad is a sports fan and thinks Jeremy Clarkson is God. To his surprise, Ben finds that he likes knitting and that he has a mean competitive streak. If he can just keep it all a secret from his mates...and notice that the girl of his dreams, girl-next-door Megan Hooper has a bit of a thing for him…
My Review - The thing that first attracted me to this book was the title. I love the idea of the feminine and the masculine coming together so I instantly liked the idea of a male protagonist knitting, it seemed like such a good subject for a YA book, (not to mention the beautiful, eye catching cover). I feel like this is the sort of book I wished my younger brother would read, (no chance, he rarely reads). I just feel that teenage boys need to understand that not every young man is traditionally ‘masculine.’ I mean, why do we live in a world where an effeminate man is ridiculed? I know schools can be a cruel place for boys but this is simply because they are not educated well enough, if at all, about gender roles and how they can be bent and aren’t black and white. This books shows these prejudices, and informs young men that is okay to be effeminate, that they can knit if they want to. I have to admit I wanted to hug Ben and be his friend. He had his own preconceptions at the beginning of of the book and I really liked his character development, they way Ben’s views gradually changed.
Something else that stood out for me was Ben’s parents. This is one the few YA novels I have read that has really fleshed out the parents. They weren’t there simply be the protagonist’s parents and nothing else, they actually served a purpose to the story. Ben’s Dad provided a major source of conflict and I thought their relationship was really interesting (even if it was based upon web of lies spun by Ben). When his Dad found out about Ben knitting, yes he was upset, but I think this was more to do with Ben lying to him about it, which I think is fair. I nearly cried when he showed up at the knitting competition to support his son, it was beautiful. His, however, was not as prominent in the story which I think is a shame because I think she sounded awesome, I mean how many of us have magicians for a mother?
What I also appreciated about this book was they way Easton was able to accurately, (at least from what I remember), portray teenage boys; the way they act and speak. I read a fair amount of YA and never have I read such effortless teenage dialogue. I also thought the way Ben’s friends went with him to the competition and stood up for him was inspiring.
Overall I loved this book, I liked the writing style, Ben’s voice was so distinctive and likeable.I think that every teenager should read this, and learn from it because it really is such an important book.