The Boy Project – Read-n-Feed

For the resurrection of my Read-n-Feed posts, I’m actually cheating just a bit. I am kicking it off with an author from YALLFest, but since Kami’s a friend, I actually read The Boy Project when it came out early this year. But I think spreading the word about a friend’s awesome book is the best way to restart Read-n-Feed.

I met Kami a few years ago at a SCBWI conference in Charlotte, NC. Since we’re both from the Lowcountry region of SC, we quickly became conference buddies. Kami was further along in her journey to publication, and via her entertaining dry sense of humor, she generously shared advice and even a few war stories. She’s continued to demonstrate this generous spirit by sending me ideas to spread the word about Saying Goodbye, and even interviewing me on her blog (possibly the coolest idea ever for a blog: Nerdy Chicks Rule). I'm thrilled to have a chance to return the favor.
Author: Kami Kinard
Category: Middle Grade
Genre(s): Contemporary
Publisher: Scholastic Press (2012)
Pages: 253
Amazon Description: 
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.
The writing lesson I learned from The Boy Project can be summed up in one word: FUN! Kara is a witty character that makes it fun to spend time in her head. The premise of melding her science fair project with her search for a boyfriend is fun. The situations that result are extremely funny. Even the way the story is presented is fun – a journal with extras like charts and graphs and doodles and index cards. Reading this book was fun, and it seemed like writing it was . . . an absolute blast! (You thought I was going to say fun, didn’t you?)
Now we all know writing is hard work. I think the quote goes something like, “Writing is easy. You just open a vein and bleed.” And sometimes it definitely feels that way. But it should never feel that way to the reader. Kami does an excellent job of making it look effortless, like she was just sitting at her computer cracking herself up all day long. But I know Kami takes her craft very seriously, she even teaches writing, so a lot of technique went into making everything so entertaining. 
Kara’s lively voice and the predicaments she finds herself in could have stood on their own for a very amusing tale, but Kami takes things even further by adding extras in the journal. From the emails from BeBeTrueLove about finding a soul mate to a faux death certificate to bar graphs made of smiley faces, each extra item was another opportunity for a chuckle.
And we can look forward to more misadventures while studying boys because Kami just announced that Scholastic will be publishing The Boy Project Too in 2014 - hooray!
While writing, it’s important to think outside the box and really push the bounds of your creativity. If it looks like you’re having fun, then your readers will have fun, too.
To celebrate the resurrection of Read-n-Feed and Kami’s awesome book, I’m giving away a The Boy Project prize pack, which includes a signed copy of the book and a TBP swag bag with things like a bookmark, a bracelet, and tattoos. 
Since Kara experiences many embarrassing moments in her quest to understand the male species, you can enter the giveaway by leaving a comment sharing an embarrassing boy-related moment. 
Kami was kind enough to share one of her embasrrassing moments to get everyone started: "One time a boy from my church asked me to go to a dance at his school. I didn't like him enough to go, so I turned him down. Then I immediately fell down the front steps of the church, wearing a dress, of course. The poor guy rushed down the stairs and helped me up. I was dying of embarrassment, but after witnessing that graceful move he was probably pretty thankful not to have me for a dance partner!"
And to be fair, I’ll share one of mine, too: I had a crush on my lab partner in Chemistry (oh my God, how cliché!), and I was so busy trying to work up the nerve to flirt with him that I wasn’t paying attention and knocked a beaker of boiling water towards him. Luckily he jumped out of the way, but since I lunged for it, I ended up burning my face on the side of the Bunsen burner. It wasn’t serious, just humiliating. 
So if you’re willing, leave a comment sharing a moment that made you blush in front of a boy. There are also other social media related ways to enter – just add your entries to the Rafflecopter form, and I'll use it to pick a random winner.
The giveaway is now over - congratulations to Janelle for winning!
I’m willing to ship internationally, so this is open to everyone. The giveaway will be open for a week, and I’ll announce the winner next Thursday, December 6th. Good luck!


Lexa Cain's picture

The book sounds so ADORABLE! I love everything from the title to the premise to your descriptions of some of the book's highlights. Kara sounds like a wonderful character. Good luck to Kami for a huge success.
Great post!

Janelle's picture

So great to see Kami's second book in this series coming out!

Here's my embarrassing boy moment:
In junior high I had a part-time job and met a teen boy there. We started to hang out as friends and that's all I considered him. One day he said "Hey, I have an extra ticket to (very expensive concert of a band I wan't familiar with). Do you want to come with me?"

I said "No, I don't think I really like that band." And I suggested he take one of our mutual friends - another girl.

About two hours later one of our friends pulled me aside and said "you idiot - he bought those ticket for you so he could ask you out!"

Oops! And I'd sent him packing. What can I say, I was a clue-less Jr. high girl. We soon started dating and he was a great guy. Alas, I missed the concert because I was too embarrassed to go back and tell him I actually did now want to go. :)

Cindy Clemens's picture

Great blog post!

One of my embarrassing moments came on a school bus in 7th grade. We were returning to school after a field trip to a farm. I was sitting in the back of the bus and had something in my eye and thought I could "blink it out." But the boys sitting across the aisle thought I was winking at their friend Troy. They kidded both of us for the entire ride back to school.

Jon Egan's picture

I have so many embarrassing moments in my life, but thankfully none involved blushing in front of a boy...Cute blog post Jocelyn :)

Medeia Sharif's picture

Thanks for the giveaway. This sounds like a great book, both for me and for my students in their classroom library.

I'm trying to think of a blush-worthy moment but don't know how to phrase them in a brief or witty manner.

Jocelyn Rish's picture

Lena - Adorable is a great word to describe it.

Janelle - Great story! At least you didn't completely miss your chance to date him :-)

Cindy - Ha, I think maybe I'll try "blinking it out" next time I meet a cute guy.

Jon - Uh oh, didn't mean to make my contest sexist! Blush-worthy moments in front of girls are acceptable, too. :-)

Medeia - I think your students will like it. Not only is it fun, it teaches about the scientific method, too.

Linda Andersen's picture

I enjoyed the post. Kami's book is so fun. An embarrassing moment with a boy present that during high school--I fell down the stairs at school and a boy was at the foot of the stairs to help me up. Later that same day, I repeated the scene and the same boy was at the bottom of the stairs to help me again. Unbelievable.

LJ Edwards's picture

Kami, Congrats on book 2!!

My embarrassing incident was probably more humiliating for the guy than for me. After a date, I had started opening the screen door to my house when he closed his eyes and leaned in to kiss me. Instead he got a screen door in his face. He looked pretty hilarious with his lips pressed against the screen like a fish. The only good thing about it was that I hadn't wanted to go out with him again. I didn't mean to convey my message that way, though.

Jocelyn Rish's picture

Linda - Yikes, falling down the stairs twice in one day is awful enough, but to have it be the same boy each time? *cringes*  Although, if your life was a YA romance or movie, the story would end with you marrying that chivalrous lad. :-)
LJ - Ouch! Nothing like a screen door to the face to say, "Thanks, but no thanks!"

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