Funny Books for Teens: ‘Boys Don’t Knit,’ about a Boy… Who Knits

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Mar 2, 2016

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Ben Fletcher is going to hell.

Beneath the 17-year-old’s bed is his Box of Shame. It contains a manuscript he’s editing for a friend (titled 50 Shades of Graham in the hope that a semi-blind person looking for 50 Shades of Grey orders it off the Internet by mistake), a huge gob of clay that he has to model into a ziggurat for the teacher he has a crush on, knitting patterns, some knitting, and a couple of racy magazines he hasn’t looked at for a while.

boys don't knit, ts easton, over, books, reviews, story for kidsIf Ben’s father were to find this Box of Shame, the only thing he’d approve of would be the racy magazines. Because Ben’s dad is a man’s man. He loves cars and Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson. He loves football. He’s fine with Ben shoplifting a bottle of alcohol so he can attend a BYOB party. It’s okay, because boys are supposed get up to things like that.

But in Boys Don’t Knit, by T.S. Easton, the shoplifting incident leads to Ben becoming a knitter – something he has to hide from his dad because, you know, boys don’t knit. If they do, they’re probably gay. Or at least effeminate. So Ben must lie like crazy, one piece of deceit leading to another, in order to keep his secret.

Ben isn’t the most confident of 17-year-olds. He’s short and weedy, bullied by boys younger than he is, and convinced no girl he likes could ever like him back. His three friends are weirdos who drifted towards Ben because no one else would have them. He hates everything his dad loves, though he pretends to like them or he wouldn’t be a boy. And if worrying were an Olympic sport, Ben would win gold every time.

On the other hand, if knitting were an Olympic sport, Ben would also probably win gold every time, because he’s a natural at it. He was forced to take up knitting as part of his probation for the shoplifting incident – the incident that led to thousands of pounds worth of damage to a Porsche and a Skoda, not to mention an accident to the town of Hampton’s most fearsome Lollipop Lady (a volunteer traffic warden who carries a large, round stop sign). According to the terms of his probation, Ben must keep a diary (which is how Boys Don’t Knit is presented), must learn something that could become a hobby and keep him out of trouble in future (which is how he winds up in knitting class), and must Give Something Back to Mrs. Frensham, the fearsome Lollipop Lady (as proof that he is truly repentant).

But in trying to hide his knitting prowess so no one thinks he’s more of a loser than they already think he is, Ben finds himself living all sorts of lies. And his genius at knitting somehow turns him into a boy on whom adults depend. Suddenly, Ben is responsible for the Home Office continuing to fund the probation programme. He’s responsible for the financial survival of his school. He’s responsible for bringing together his favourite teacher and her ex-boyfriend.

On the other hand, he stands to lose both his father and the one girl who shows signs of liking him back if they find out he knits.

Oh, what a tangled web Ben has knitted. And it’s all because boys don’t knit – or can they, and get away with it? For 14-and-up boys and girls, this is one of the funniest books for teens you’ll find. Grab it now.

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Written By Kushalrani Gulab

Kushalrani Gulab is a freelance editor and writer. She claims she reads children’s literature to find the best books for her nieces and nephews, but actually it’s to find the best books for herself. (She also reads and reviews books for older people.)

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