All right! All right! The Iron Guy must shamefacedly admit that I STILL have not kept my 2014 Resolution of reading all the books in the Boys vs Girls series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. So if you want to flog me, go ahead and get the wet noodles. In the meantime, let me tell you about the ones I have read recently. These are great and each one gets better. If you want to see what I've said about the other books, look here and here and here. And if you haven't read any of these before, here's the lowdown on the story:
The books take place in the town of Buckman, West Virginia and involves two families, the Hartfords and Malloys. The Hartfords have four boys: 11-year-old twins Jake and Josh, nine-year-old Wally and seven-year-old Peter. Their best friends are their neighbors, the Benson boys. But then, Mr. Benson, a coach, takes a job in Georgia and the Malloy family rents his house for a year. The Hartford boys really miss their friends but look forward to having new boys move in. Imagine their reactions, then, when they learn that their new neighbors will be girls!! They decide to pull so many tricks on these new girls that their lives will be miserable and they'll move away--but they don't count on the smartness and resilience of the three girls, who are eleven-year-old Eddie (Edith Ann), eight-year-old Caroline and nine-year-old Beth. Sometimes the tricks against the girls work but then the girls pull pranks of their own! And sometimes things happen that no one expects! That's when things get really funny!
OK, got that? Then we'll start with:
A Spy Among the Girls--The unthinkable has happened! After holding hands in that play, Josh and Beth actually--like each other! Josh says he's only pretending so that he can spy on the girls but then why does he and Beth go out of their way to be with each other? All the time? And then Eddie decides to do a science fair project to prove that boys are more gullible than girls. ("Gullible" means that you'll believe stupid things easily) And if all that weren't bad enough, Caroline decides, after watching Beth, that she wants to feel romance and tries to make Wally fall in love with her. No way!
The Boys Return--Hooray! The Hartford boys get great news! The Bensons are coming back to Buckman for a week during spring break. And all the Benson boys will stay at the Hartfords' house! What could be more fun? Well, how about a plan from the Benson boys to make the Malloy girls think their house is haunted? Will the girls fall for it? Maybe. But what's that noise Caroline hears late one night?
The Girls Take Over--Now it's April. The boys and girls make a bet--all of them will throw bottles with messages in them into the Buckman river. The bottle that travels the farthest by the end of the month will win. If a boy wins, the girls have to be his slaves and vice versa if a girl wins. Good idea, right? Wait--what if the boys try to cheat in order not to be slaves? And what if the girls try to cheat? Somebody had better do something quickly! And--Jake and Eddie both try out for pitcher on the school baseball team. Jake is known to be really good but the boys have watched Eddie practice and guess what? She's as good as he is! While all this goes on, Wally and Caroline both get into school's spelling bee. One will do well and the other one ends up in a disaster. Which one? Gotta read to find out!
Boys in Control--What an embarrassing development! The Hartford and Benson boys had taken some goofy pictures of each other for fun before the Bensons moved away--things like spaghetti your nose and wearing bunny pajamas two sizes too small. Guess who finds them in the basement--that's right, the Malloy girls! What could happen if those pictures got out! Caroline, however, strikes up a deal with Wally to get them back--but whenever Caroline gets an idea, there's usually unexpected (and funny!) trouble ahead.
As I said, each book gets better than the one before. Sometimes I even started to laugh even before all the tricks got under way because I KNEW their goofball ideas would turn out differently than what they planned. These books are so much fun that I look forward to whatever quiet minutes I find to read more. And the books are just the right length, about 120--140 pages, That way they're short enough to be fun yet long enough to let really get into the story. And you will really enjoy getting into these books, hanging out with the guys and girls, running back and forth between the Hartford and Malloy houses, crossing that swinging bridge or cheering for the Buckman Badgers baseball team. I'm going to miss that town and those kids when I finish these books.