Author: T. S. Easton
Publication: Feiwel & Friends (March 24, 2015)
Description: After an incident regarding a crossing guard and a bottle of Martini & Rossi (and his 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) with 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 discover he’s a natural knitter, maybe even great. It also 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.
My Thoughts: This was a funny, quirky story about seventeen-year-old Ben Fletcher who could win an Academy Award for worrying. Ben is fussy and funny and marches to the beat of his own drummer. After an bicycle accident involving a crossing guard and a Porsche Cayenne Ben finds himself on probation. He needs to keep a diary which we are privileged to read. He also has to find an extra-curricular activity to keep him out of trouble. Rather than taking the auto mechanics class taught by his dad, he signs up for knitting which he thinks is going to be taught by a cute teacher from his school
Ben's luck being what it is, he finds that they mixed up the teachers and the teacher of his knitting class is actually the mother of the girl Ben has a crush on. Ben is the only male in the class but he quickly learns to knit and finds that he really enjoys it. Of course, he decides to keep his knitting a secret from everyone, especially his father. But secrets have a way of getting out. Winning a place in the All-UK Knitting Championship (Junior Division) blows his cover big time.
I liked Ben very much as I was reading. He was a worrier and had a poor self-image. He was bullied at school and his friends were more likely to get him into trouble than they were to listen to Ben's good advice. But along the way, Ben makes friends, including the crossing guard that precipitates his fall into the criminal life, and the probation officer who is guiding his probation, and the assorted knitters he meets. He also learns that he has strengths and gains more confidence. Best of all, he gets the girl.
Fans of contemporary young adult fiction with more than just a touch of humor will enjoy Ben's story. The British slang confused me a little in the beginning but Ben and his story swept me away.
I hate Lloyd Manning. I won't say that all my problems would be solved if he had the top of his head taken off and the insides scooped out and eaten by badgers, but one of my problems would be solved and I'm sure the badgers would appreciate the protein, however scant.I got this ARC from Macmillan. You can buy your copy here.