Feiwel & Friends (an imprint of Macmillan), 272 pages
Expected US Release Date: March 24, 2015
Format/Source: ARC via Around the World Tours - thank you!
Knitting is a man’s game.
After an incident regarding a crossing guard and a bottle of Martini & Rossi (and his bonehead friends), 17-year-old worrier Ben Fletcher must develop his sense of social alignment, take up a hobby, and do some community service to avoid any further probation.
He takes a knitting class (it was that or his father’s mechanic class) under the impression that it's taught by the hot teacher all the boys like. Turns out, it’s not. Perfect.
Regardless, he sticks with it and comes to find that he’s a natural knitter, maybe even great. It even helps ease his anxiety and worrying. The only challenge now is to keep it hidden from his friends, his crush, and his soccer-obsessed father. What a tangled web Ben has weaved . . . or knitted.
Maybe just having someone listen is all you need.
I loved the backstory as to how Ben Fletcher got into knitting, how it was a bit of a fluke but so brilliant, too. I adore that the book is written as a diary/journal style, because it’s such a fun way to get Ben’s thoughts on all the zany situations he finds himself in.
The characters are definitely the best part about this whole book. Ben and all his goofy, not-quite-amazing friends. His teachers and instructors. His parents, even, who are so hilariously different from all typical YA parents. My least favourite was probably Megan, and I’m not saying I didn’t like her—she just didn’t shine as much as the rest of them. Ben’s friends definitely almost stole the show. Their ideas were so off-the-wall and crazy, but still filled with a bit of good heart and humor the entire time. And I loved how in the end, they’re still Ben’s friend, no matter what.
There’s so much hidden heart to this book, too. Sure, I can sing from the rooftops how funny and hilarious it is (it’s a dude who’s the best knitter in the UK! Come on!), but there’s a lot of real warmth and love to a lot of it, too. The romances are fun, the relationships are real, and Ben’s self-discovery and narration is absolutely brilliant. There’s real concern for his family, for his friends, for everyone around him. I love how he finds a group that really understands him, no matter their age or status in life.
I think one of the more subtle but better parts of this story is the knitting, too, and how much it reveals about Ben. How it gives you insight into who he is that he likes the repetitive and uniform nature of knitting. How it gives you a little peek into his head when he lets it go clear while he’s knitting. I love the people it connects him to, and I love how it causes a lot of his problems. It’s definitely an interesting variable to his life, and I loved exploring it.
Boys Don’t Knit is a book that will make you laugh out loud and fill your heart with humor and love. You’ll love Ben, and root for him no matter if it’s his life, his sanity, or him knitting at the UK champs.