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Girl Meets Boy: Because There Are Two Sides to Every Story Hardcover – December 28, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 204 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (December 28, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1452102643
  • ISBN-13: 978-1452102641
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #883,273 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Exclusive Author One-on-One: Kelly Milner Halls and Chris Crutcher

Kelly Milner Halls is the author of nonfiction books and articles for young readers on a variety of quirky topics, including In Search of Sasquatch. Chris Crutcher is the award-winning author of several young adult novels, including Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes and Whale Talk. They recently had a conversation about collaborating on a pair of linked stories for Kelly Milner Halls' Girl Meets Boy, a he-said/she-said anthology of collaborative short stories.

Kelly Milner Halls on Girl Meets Boy: Creating Girl Meets Boy, a he-said, she-said anthology for Chronicle books was a new challenge for me because I am best known for creating high interest nonfiction. But picking the writers I wanted for my YA project was a no brainer. I wanted the writers about whom I’d written and I wanted the best. My friend Chris Crutcher is the best of the best, and he was my partner in our interactive story pairing. So I caught up with him to ask a few questions about writing for Girl Meets Boy, as well as a few questions about his upcoming Fall 2012 release, Period 8.

Kelly Milner Halls: How did you feel about contributing to Girl Meets Boy --the concept of two authors exploring the same plot points from two different points of view?

Chris Crutcher: It's a very interesting idea, and novel. Perspective is always an author's friend, and the idea that perspective alone can create two different stories from one point of view is intriguing.

Milner Halls: You created the lead story for the pair of stories we wrote together. Were John Smith and Wanda Wickham characters you created just for Girl Meets Boy or were they rooted in other creative projects?

Crutcher: They were created for Girl Meets Boy. I'm sure I've used pieces of their personalties elsewhere, but they were specific to this anthology.

Milner Halls: Have you ever considered writing a book from alternating points of view as Joyce Carol Oates did in Big Mouth & Ugly Girl?

Crutcher: I haven't read that particular book. Angry Management contains a novella that tells the story from three different perspectives. It's not all that hard to do.

Milner Halls: Girl Meets Boy is often controversial in the topics it examines including sexual abuse, homosexuality, transgenderism and inter-racial relationships. Is there emotional value in fictionalizing realistic life issues?

Crutcher: I'm sure there is, but the emotional value of any story comes from the reader.

Milner Halls: Which is more difficult, writing a full-length novel or writing a short story for an anthology like Girl Meets Boy?

Crutcher: It's probably a toss-up. Short story is easier from a plot point of view because usually it's about a single thing and there's not room for great complexity like there is in a novel. But short story requires word economy and straightforwardness to a degree that a novel might not. Writing Short Story is a great way to train for writing longer material.

Milner Halls: What can you tell us about your new novel, Period 8?

Crutcher: I can tell you to read it.

Milner Halls: Period 8 is highly suspenseful, in the tradition of Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes. Was it fun to write such a gripping page turner?

Crutcher: It's more in the tradition of The Deep End. Writing is seldom "fun" for me. It's interesting and intriguing and challenging. When I write taut suspense I rely a lot on good editing. My editor at HarperCollins (Greenwillow) is excellent at knowing when I drift, and she's quick to let me know.

Milner Halls: Your friend Charlie Price is now a critically acclaimed, Edgar Award winning mystery writer. Did he have any influence on the development of Period 8?

Crutcher: Only in that he read an early on and we talked about the structure of mystery and suspense. Charlie is a master of structure.

Milner Halls: It's premature to ask, especially considering Period 8 is a Fall 2012 release, but are you working on anything else?

Crutcher: I'm working on my next novel (though it's on hold until I put the finishing touches on Period 8).

Milner Halls: Is it possible you'll contribute to another anthology for me in the future?

Crutcher: I'm not big on writing for anthologies, partly because I have a harder time writing when someone else comes up with the focus of the stories, but I certainly wouldn't rule it out if you comes up with another great idea. A lot of my willingness to write for anthologies comes from timing. If I'm working on something and I'm behind, which I almost always am, there is little chance. But if I do have time and the subject is interesting to me, I can be talked into it.


From Booklist

In six pairs, prominent YA authors (including Rita Williams-Garcia, Chris Crutcher, and Ellen Wittlinger) each write one half of a story of a relationship between a boy and a girl. Sometimes it’s a passionate one and sometimes it’s sweet and tentative; sometimes there’s a role reversal and sometimes it’s a confusing beginning to something bigger. The author pairs are well chosen, often sharing a cultural background or a long-standing relationship, which gives their fictional couples an added authenticity. These stories illustrate the way a relationship is only one part of a person, just as each person is only one part of a relationship. Because the reader stays with each couple through two stories rather than just one, this book reads more like a series of micro-novellas than a collection of short stories. Additionally, since one of the main themes of all of the stories, varied as they are, is the universal connection and disconnect that contemporaneously exist within any relationship, this volume should find a wide readership. Grades 9-12. --Heather Booth

More About the Author

Rebecca Fjelland Davis writes and rides her bike in Southern Minnesota. She also spends time with her Newfoundland dog Freya, and as much time as possible with her grown children who live too far away. She also spends time teaching, grading papers, and forcing students to try new books and new places (like Italy or an art museum). She is two-time winner of the women's division of the National 24-Hour Challenge bike race in Michigan, rides her bike a few thousand miles a year, and tries to avoid being hit by cars (it happened once). Becky lives in an old farmhouse and teaches English and Humanities at South Central College in North Mankato.

Visit her online at www.rebeccafjellanddavis.com or at her blog: www.rebeccafjellanddavis.blogspot.com.

Customer Reviews

I thought that, in general, characters were well developed for being in short stories.
Tiffany A. Harkleroad
I felt like some of the stories didn't connect with each other and I just didn't really enjoy reading this one.
Stacey B.
Instead we get both a boy and a girl character but not in the fashion that you would expect.
Zellie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A. Whitney VINE VOICE on January 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The concept of this collection is interesting: take stories about romantic relationships and tell the story in two parts- one from the girl's perspective and one from the guy's. When I was a teen I over-analyzed everything boys did ("What did he mean by that?", "What does he really think?")but often the truth was elusive. I'm sure it must be the same for guys, too. This book explores a variety of relationships. Some are boyfriend/girlfriend, some aren't, but each of them has the search for love and acceptance as their kernels. There are some sexual situations, but nothing graphic. Highly recommended for teens who are interested in storytelling, psychology or just understanding the opposite sex.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Experienced Editor VINE VOICE on June 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Gender-based misunderstanding: it's as old as the garden of Eden. Boys and girls simply don't think in the same way, especially during adolescence. In this story collection, a dozen successful YA authors team up, two by two, each pair telling the same story from the perspective of a guy and the perspective of a girl. The collection is a success. No sweet, sappy romances here, though; the stories tackle topics that concern teens today, and the characters have a variety of sexual identities (straight, gay, and transgender). Even the stories featuring gay characters focus on communication between a guy and a girl. The situations reflect current reality: two people may bond despite differences of race, culture, or social class. Or the attraction may be superficial, and sometimes couples part without ever really understanding each other.

While the plots are all interesting and intense, the actual writing is uneven. A well-written story by James Howe makes good use of an internet chat transcript as part of the narrative. The best story in the collection, by Rita Williams-Garcia, has a completely convincing voice: a popular high school junior with a crush on the one shy guy who doesn't pursue her. Most disappointing is an account of a girl looking for a friend for her gay brother, which could have been a great story if the author had chosen to show readers how the characters feel instead of just telling. Even the less fluent stories will attract and entertain teen readers, however, because of their believable characters, relevant plots, and sincerity.

Many of the stories are narrated in first person "I," which gives immediacy and helps the reader enter the narrator's situation and attitudes. Taken in pairs, as they're intended to be, the stories will help teens start to understand and appreciate their differences with friends (and FWB) of the opposite sex.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ulalume Jones VINE VOICE on May 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I do like the concept of this book. I find it amusing to read a story about a couple from two different writers, taking a girl and boy side of the story and spinning two different works around the same ideas. My only gripe is that there isn't two much character development. The first story I read was the one about the jock and the tragic girl who cuts herself (though this is only mentioned once, I guess to make her 2D) but both stories don't go very far and we only learn the jock guy is full of himself and the tragic girl will always remain tragic, no hope for either of them! :) Some of the other stories are a bit more interesting, as they go into gay romance online and interracial couples, but the story I cited was the first one I read and maybe it shouldn't have been at the start, because there's better stories as the books goes on.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tracey Carter VINE VOICE on April 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Girl Meets Boy is an interesting collection of twelve short stories that are paired up to show two sides to each of six stories. Each of the six "stories" is split into two with one half being written from the main female lead and the other half being written from the main male lead making it unlike other short story collections currently available. The alternating perspective is similar in style to Will Grayson, Will Grayson but instead of a novel alternative between two characters, Girl Meets Boy provides the reader with twelve different perspectives.

I was unable to find a suggested age or grade range on either the Amazon product page or from the publisher but I would definitely recommend this collection to older teens only (grades ten and up perhaps) as this story collection contains both sex and abusive situations.

Overall I enjoyed reading the book. Was it the best book I've read this year? No, it wasn't. But it was still a good fun read that I'd happily recommend to older teens looking for some quick, modern fiction to read. It's also a great book for any YA readers who enjoy romances or books like What We Keep Is Not Always What Will Stay that explore teen relationships but don't shy away from some of the harsh realities and situations that characters might find themselves in.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tiffany A. Harkleroad TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
There are two sides to every story, but rarely do we get to hear them both. In this collection of short stories, we hear about several teenage relationships, from the perspective of both the male and the female involved. A diverse cast of characters helps prove that even in the teen world, male-female interaction can be quite complex.

I must say, I really loved the concept of this book. Hearing a story from both perspectives was an interesting idea, and I think overall it was very well delivered. Some of the story couplings worked better than others, but overall, conceptually the book is fresh and interesting. It also provides the reader with an opportunity to find new authors.

I thought that, in general, characters were well developed for being in short stories. The book highlights many different types of teenagers by having characters from diverse ethnicities and cultures,
sexual preferences, personalities, and family situations. I greatly appreciated this diversity; I think makes the book relatable to a much broader spectrum of young adult readers. Everyone wants to read about someone like them at that age, when everything makes you insecure.

As with any collection of stories, some will be stronger than others, and this book is no exception. One particular pairing of stories really failed to hold my attention, and the execution of the writing just seemed awkward. But overall, I thought the book well done. While there are some sexual situations in some of the stories, this is hardly new to the world of teenage fiction. And certainly no different than the television shows currently marketed to kids. However, parents who are concerned about this may want to make note that teen sexuality is explored in this book. I think the book will appeal to a broad audience of young adult readers. The short stories make for a quick read, yet still have a lot of depth.
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