My Life With The Walter Boys (The Walter Boys #1)
by Ali Novak
Published: March 1, 2014
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Jackie Howard does not like surprises. Chaos is the enemy! The best way to get her successful, busy parents to notice her is to be perfect. The perfect look, the perfect grades—the perfect daughter. And then...
Surprise #1: Jackie's family dies in a freak car accident.
Surprise #2: Jackie has to move cross-country to live with the Walters—her new guardians.
Surprise #3: The Walters have twelve sons. (Well, eleven, but Parker acts like a boy anyway)
Jackie is now surrounded by the enemy. Loud, dirty, annoying boys—who have no concept of personal space. Okay, several of the oldest guys are flat-out gorgeous. But still annoying. She's not stuck-up or boring—no matter what they say. But proving it is another matter. How can she fit in and move on when she needs to keep her parents' memory alive by living up to the promise of perfect?
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A (Not) Funny Thing That Happened on My Way to Getting Published
This past summer while I was rewriting My Life with the Walter Boys, I experienced what I now refer to as my writing day from hell. It was a horrible day, but thankfully now I can look back and smile.
When I signed my contract with Sourcebooks, I was only given three months to rewrite the story. That’s not a lot of time to completely rewrite a 100K book, especially one that was originally drafted by a fifteen-year-old. As a result, I practically lived at my local library in June, July, and August.
Somehow those three months sped by like a reckless teen with lead foot. Suddenly my deadline was only a couple of days away, and I had yet to edit the last five chapters of my book. At that point, I no longer understood the definition of sleep. Energy drinks had become my only source of nourishment, and the concept of showering had been long forgotten.
On one of the last mornings before my deadline, I managed to spill my steaming cup of Starbucks everywhere. Not only did the coffee spill all over my laptop, but it also went all over my bare legs. The librarian wasn’t concerned about the nasty burn on my legs—she only cared about the fact that I was breaking one of the library rules: no open beverages at the worktables. I ended up getting kicked out. Yeah, I know. I’m a rebel.
As I left the library, I could feel the panic bubbling up in my chest. Not only had I wasted thirty minutes sitting in the drive-through to get a coffee I wouldn’t drink, but it was going to take me another half an hour to drive home. One hour isn’t a lot of time, but in the moment I was fully convinced that every second I lost brought me a step closer to the end of my (nonexistent) writing career. Yes, I was being a drama queen.
My problems didn’t end there. For the rest of the day, one bad thing happened after another. When I got to my car, I searched through my backpack only to discover that my keys weren’t there; I had locked them in the car! After calling my brother to bring me a spare key, I had to wait for an hour in the hot sun until he arrived. By the time he got there, I was fried with what had to be the worst sunburn of my life.
In the end, I didn’t get much writing done that day. However, I still managed to finish my manuscript on time. Afterwards I slept for a week straight. Fingers crossed that I will never go through another writing day from hell.
Madison Wisconsin's creative writing program. She wrote her first full length novel My Life with the Walter Boys at the age of fifteen. Since posting the story online, it has received more than 24 million reads and will be published by Sourcebooks Fire in March 2014.
When she isn't writing, Ali enjoys watching Food Network shows even though she can't cook, and reading any type of fantasy novel she can get her hands on. She is a Wisconsin native and hopes to make a career out of writing.
My Thoughts: When I first saw this book, I was drawn in by the cover and the title, My Life With The Walter Boys.....The Walter Boys......oh yeah, I thought, this is something I want to check out. I have to say that I was absolutely delighted when I began to read it. Though the reason behind what brings Jackie from the "Heart of New York" to what seems to be the "Middle of Nowhere" Colorado is tragic, the story itself it a gem....or more accurately put, at least in my opinion, are the subjects of the story who are the actual Walter Boys themselves. I absolutely adored them. Eleven Boys and one girl who is a full- tomboy, and Jackie finds herself right in the middle of them. Not only has she arrived in hottie heaven, each of the boys has such a unique personality that makes them special and set apart from the group as a whole. You would think with so many characters it would be hard to keep up, but Ali Novak has done an excellent job in writing this character-driven story, enabling you to feel like you really know each of the boys, some better than others, but all nonetheless. While the story itself is fun and cute, and it does have its serious moments, the boys are totally what make it. I was so impressed by the way Novak portrayed not only each boy, but the banter between them was perfect - it totally sounded just like you would expect guys that age to sound like. The the way the guys talked, the things they did and said, the way they acted - it could not have been more well done.
Jackie herself underwent a whole lot of changes as she learned to be part of the family, and of course you have to have the romance, which was entertaining also - I mean a house full of hotties, what can you expect. You had more than one Walter Boy vying for her attention and I am happy to say that the one I was rooting for ultimately won out. The ending of the book is somewhat open, yet not in a cliffhanger way at all, just leaving things at a point where the story can continue, while bringing the current book to a good closing point. I am really looking forward to reading the next installment in the series and can't wait to see where Ali Novak takes the characters in the sequel. Overall, I found My Life With The Walter Boys to be like a ray of sunshine that was delightful, entertaining, lighthearted and just plain fun. It is something I really enjoyed and would most definitely recommend to YA fans both old and young.