Your eyes do not deceive you: I am indeed posting about T.S. Easton and his Boys Don’t Knit series twice in one week! Just a few days ago, I posted about how much I was looking forward to reading the second book in the series, and…now I have! I wanted to give a bit of bookish love to this series, which I think is total gem (…a gem which I fear may not get enough attention!).
In this series, we follow seventeen year old Ben Fletcher: older brother, son of double entendre obsessed parents, and unwitting criminal. In a charming and frazzled narrative, readers go along with Ben as he navigates a tricky time in his life. Under probation for a minor and bizarre crime committed with his ruffian friends, Ben is lost. Lost at school, picked on, shy about and with girls, and unsure of what to do. While picking an activity to do as mandatory part of his punishment, he teeters into the unexpectedly mammoth, popular and (usually) female-filled world of knitting. And his life begins to change in small, big and bigger ways.
Book one, unexpectedly so, is the introduction to Ben, his family, his life in England, and unexpected ascent into knitting. Book two, just as sharp, just as funny, expands Ben’s world and his relationships as he travels to the US for the very first time. Easton does a wonderful job with keeping tone in both novels: amongst his bawdier, less considerate and cruder friends, Ben definitely comes across as the more solid and respectful boy- but still entirely believable as a tangible teen with flaws, obsessions, and blind-spots. As far as narrators go, Ben has a great voice- I was absolutely hooked from the get-go with his narration. Think a combination of a worrier like Mia Thermopolis with the over-thinking tendencies of a young Jessica Darling, the unvarnished honesty of Georgia Nicholson, and the ribald nature of a Swim the Fly character.
Overall, both titles in Boys Don’t Knit were a wonderful and welcome surprise for me. Readers who love contemporary YA, British writers, anxiety-prone but totally loveable protagonists- all mixed in with bonkers humour, heart and a little sauciness- this may be just the right read for you.