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Boys and Girls Like You and Me: Stories

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3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  628 ratings  ·  132 reviews
ARYN KYLE, whose award-winning novel The God of Animals was hailed as "reason for readers to rejoice" (USA Today), turns her gift for storytelling to the lives of girls and women in this spectacular collection. These eleven stories showcase Kyle’s keen eye for character, her humor, and her uncanny grasp of the loneliness, selfishness, and longing that underlie female exper...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published April 20th 2010 by Scribner (first published January 1st 2010)
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Laurie
I don’t usually care much for short stories; I don’t understand them most of the time, and so they bore me. This collection is different. It grabbed me from the first paragraph and never let go. In each of these eleven stories about young women and girls (and one young boy), I recognized either myself or people I know. There are many, many ways that a woman can mess up her life, and several of these ways are brought to living, breathing, despairing life in these tales. It’s uncanny how vivid the...more
The Joy of Booking
This is an excellent collection of short stories exploring the process of (mostly female) childhood and teenage development. Every single story captured my attention and stayed with me for hours after reading. I'd read The God of Animals a few years ago for a book club, so I was eager to pick up a collection of short stories by the same author, and I was not disappointed.

It's really hard for me to pick a favorite, but if I absolutely had to, I think I might go with "Nine," the story of a little...more
Carolyn
PROS
-- I like short stories b/c they force the author to boil the story down to the most essential scenes. I feel like I get their key points in a short space. Kyle did this well.
-- The writing was pretty good. Not beautiful, but well done. She had some really good moments where she framed a character's perspective in such a way that it felt new to me. I love when that happens.
-- She doesn't glamorize sin. These are not soap operas. They're more like "About Schmidt" - showing how bleak life is f...more
Doug
My friend Terri wrote a scathing review of this book, and it acted on me like the classic spoiled milk skit: "Ugh, it's terrible! Here, taste it!" I was perversely curious, and after noticing that other reviews of the book seemed wildly polarized -- love it/hate it, not much inbetween -- I was downright intrigued.

I'm in the "love it" camp. I thought it was sharply observed, with snappy, vivid dialog. It's frequently very funny (if in a sometimes uncomfortably dark or "OMG that's SO inappropriate...more
Rachel
Jan 02, 2011 Rachel rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2010
I found this book while perusing the new books section of my local library. I was in the mood to try reading a book of short stories rather than a full-length novel.

It's hard for me to rate this book. On the one hand, Kyle's writing is fantastic. I left the end of each 20-30 page story thinking, "Not only do I feel I have a good understanding of the character, but I feel I have a good idea of where the character is going to end up even after the story ends. How is it possible to do this successf...more
Janelle Weiner
Good to the last sentence. And I wonder if Kyle would hate this, but I feel like there was a GIRLS-esqueness to these stories, written in a time before GIRLS existed. They're funny, twisted, inappropriate at times. The girls are drifting--not identity-seeking, but waiting for their identity to find *them*, which I think is a pretty great critique of the contemporary female experience, at least for those of a certain age.
Miss
So I was in the library today and I was like 'yo self, you are an adult graduating with an English degree in four months. you should read an adult book that is ~literary~ and does not involve magic, spaceships, or category romance'. So I grabbed this. You know what I learned? I was totally right in my prejudices: literary is indeed a code for depressing as all hell*. Basically this is a collection of stories about women screwing up and being sad. Except for the one about the 11 year old boy befr...more
Allyson
This book was just mean although the writing was very clever. Few of the characters are at all likable or sympathetic. They all are either pathetic, evil, cruel, twisted, or just uninteresting. While these are short stories, so not the same as a novel, I can't help thinking of Rachel Cusk's recent book which I also found to be inhabited by unlikable characters, but somehow not as distasteful as these were.
She really creates her characters so well, and I remember quite liking her novel The God of...more
Tokoro
Despite my slow reading, I think this collection got me appreciating short stories again. Maybe I was wrong about myself as looking for sufficient room for "development" without a focus on the advancing of a plot. Maybe similar kind of short-form fiction can provide me with the same vague experience. It is yet to be seen if this realization, and acting upon it sticks. "A Lot Like Fun" may have been my favorite. i suppose reading reviews on Goodreads in general have produced sophomoric, strained...more
Amy
Mixed feelings on this collection. Some of the stories are sharp and devastating, while others are just meh and feel overworked in that MFA-workshop way.
Aliisa Percival
A must-read for girls in their twenties, though I'm sure anyone would find it interesting. Brilliantly written, touching, and viscerally poignant.
Amy
It is not often that a short story writer can create characters that are multi-dimensional, real, and relateable in so few pages...Aryn Kyle is remarkably successful at doing just that. The characters that grace this set of stories are flawed, but convey a refreshing honesty & self-awareness that made for a good tale, even set amongst the most ordinary of circumstances. From the inside flap, " In "Nine," a young girl given to exaggeration escapes a humiliating ninth birthday celebration with...more
Jane
I had a hard time rating this one. It's truly somewhere between a 1.5 and a 3.5. If I cared enough I would rate each story individually. A few of the stories, namely Nine (5 stars!), Captain's Club (5 stars!) and A Lot Like Fun (4 stars! I was giddy that she name dropped Nintendo in this one!) were really exceptionally well done. The former two being almost as unforgettable and haunting as a Raymond Carver story! Huge compliment for you Miss Kyle! But the rest of the stories fall a bit flat, tho...more
Rachel
I would give this a 4.5 if Goodreads let me.

Some of the stories in this book I loved so much that I read them twice ("A Lot Like Fun", "Boys and Girls Like You and Me," and "Captain's Club"). One of them I HATED ("Allegiance"). A few other stories were pretty good and then there were a few that grossed me out a little bit.
After the first story, "Brides," I thought that the collection might just be copying Miranda July a bit too much. The title even reminded me of Miranda July's "Me and You and...more
Roger DeBlanck
Aryn Kyle follows her impressive debut novel, The God of Animals, with an equally formidable collection of stories. As she did with poignancy in her novel, the eleven fast-moving, finely-crafted stories in Boys and Girls Like You and Me are tender, haunting, melancholy, and at stretches downright crushing in their exploration of loneliness and loss. Dealing with the source of pain that produces self-doubt and self-loathing, these stories pull you with an anticipatory sense of alarm into the live...more
Tim Baldwin
Aryn Kyle’s Boys and Girls Like You and Me is the female perspective within our post modern world. This collection of short stories is a must read for anyone interested in the trials and trivialities of the female adolescent and beyond, attempting to make sense of this world. Kyle keeps the reader glued to the pages through the emotional familiarities she establishes that are brutally realistic. Even I, as a male reader, felt an empathetic connection to the characters, while adding a new perspec...more
Catherine
This mostly "coming of age" collection of short stories left me somewhat ambivalent.

Each story features primarily young females. I found most of the stories to be somewhat depressing or dark, but, at the same time, I can also say that I could find a thread or character within each story that I could either relate to in my own life, or that reminded me of a individual that in some way has crossed into my own life. Like it or not, we've probably all come across an individual like many of the prota...more
Hailley
I haven't picked up a short story collection in a while so reading Boys and Girls Like You and Me by Aryn Kyle was a great way to jump back in it. The general theme and thread of these short stories was about love, in all forms, and most of the time, love that didn't work. The stories seemed believable, the characters one I might run into on my campus or later in life.

There are 11 stories and overall, it's a pretty quick read. I had many favorites such as "Economics," "Captain's Club," "Femme,"...more
Misha
"Boys and girls like you and me" is a book of short stories by Aryn
Kyle that I have recently read.

Kyle's stories seem like facets of her own life and personality, warts
and all. A British girl coming to America and having to adjust to the
local culture and navigate her way among cliques of popular girls. A
child of a traumatic divorce. A college girl who does not care about
education, wants to smoke pot and drink instead. Somebody who does not
possess any particular talent or drive to succeed, but j...more
Sadie
This collection of short stories is entertaining, but also often awkward, brutal, heartbreaking. This is not a feel good collection. I was entertained and kept going. Some of the stories were better than others. And I agree with other reviewers that the story about the boy is the best, most relateable story. I found almost all the female characters (except for Tree in the story about the boy) to be totally unrealistic and at times obnoxious. None of the women spoke their minds, none shared their...more
Wendy Burks
First of all, this book is not for everyone...since it's about women making mistakes/bad decisions/reacting (poorly) to life's challenges, it comes across a little dark (some stories more than others) and as such, is a bit of downer. But since it's short stories, you luckily don't have to live with each character's drama for long. Like some other reviewers said...this book is so hard to rate!! As a collection of short stories, there was reason throughout the book for ratings all the way from 1 t...more
Clementine
Aryn Kyle’s short story collection is a compilation of stories about girls and women who are struggling. The girls in Kyle’s stories are struggling with their identities and sense of self. They are women who are like people readers know in their own lives, and they are women that readers might even recognize in themselves.

The stories in Kyle’s short story collection illustrate the trials and tribulations of girlhood in the modern United States. The female protagonists present in her stories make...more
Erin
If I could give this 2.5 stars, I would. I loved the first two stories and began to think that perhaps my idea of myself as someone who doesn't like short stories was wrong. The third story was okay, and then it went downhill from there except for the final paragraph of the final story (Boys and Girls Like You and Me). By this time I was reading impatiently, ready to be done with the book. And then, at the end of a story about loneliness and bad choices and sadness and women who let men control...more
Shannon
If I had to describe this book in two words, here are the two I would choose: unrelentingly depressing. While there are certainly provocative stories in this collection, taken as a whole they sat on my chest like a boulder. And that was true even though I read the book over the course of more than a week, taking time in between to read two other books.

The most interesting story for me was Femme. I liked the use of first person plural narration and while this story was disturbing, it was far less...more
Holly
"Boys and Girls Like You and Me" is a collection of short stories with women or girls as the main characters. I enjoy short stories very much, especially when tired at night and getting through an entire story in 15 pages is more satiating then the equivalent, just a chapter of one novel.
I found these short stories to be slightly disturbing whether the character was nine years old or twenty-nine. There is a story of a young girl who's mother passed away and accumulates multiple paranoias and f...more
Lisa
I'm not sure why I don't read more short stories. I certainly know they're much more difficult to write than novels. In writing classes, teachers told us: Every word counts. Every sentence must move the story forward. Yikes...

As I read Boys and Girls Like You and Me: Stories, I saw that advice in action. Here are a few of the opening sentences to the stories: "Tess lied sometimes." "That was the year I thought I'd never be happy again." "For a while they were all about celebrating." Definitely m...more
Marielle
Hard to get started. I had a hard time connecting with the stories whose main characters were young girls still in elementary school. i loved her use of children in the stories as long as they were not the main character, for then I felt they brought a sense of perspective to the problem at hand. The story that sticks in my head is the one which takes in high school between the two girls, the actress and her protoge. It was refreshing to read a story about how people take advantage of each other...more
Rose Ann
I actually give this 3.5 stars, but Goodreads does not allow for that.
I rated each story individually, and got an average of 3.45

I've never really been interested in short stories before. I guess I just always felt like they wouldn't be complete.
I have to say, I am half way through this book and I find the stories interesting and I am enjoying reading them. They are not happy stories at all.....my heart broke for Tess in "Nine".
I really like the author's writing style, and I feel like I know the...more
Taylor
I can't make up my mind about this book! On the one hand, the writing was great, and the stories were incredibly well-plotted. It's an undeniably polished and skillful collection. On the other, I didn't like a single one of the adult protagonists (although I did love her child protagonists). I couldn't tell if I was supposed to like them, in which case Kyle failed and made them sort of miserably unsympathetic, or if I was supposed to think they were assholes, which I did. It's not that I think I...more
Patricia
This book of short stories by Aryn Kyle is compelling, and at times, downright hilarious. It's titled "Boys and Girls. . . " but almost every story revolves around young, female protagonists who are ne'er do rights but have much to teach nonetheless. Most memorable/touching was the one story that centered on a boy who grows up on a Mediterranean Cruise, "Captain's Club." Also notably funny: "Take Care", a story of a young girl who takes the place of her troubled older sister during her therapy s...more
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Aryn Kyle graduated from the University of Montana writing program. In 2004 her short story Foaling Season, now the first chapter of this novel, won a National Magazine Award for Fiction for The Atlantic Monthly. Kyle spent most of her childhood in Grand Junction, Colorado, and now lives in New York City.
More about Aryn Kyle...
The God of Animals The God Of Animals The God of Animals: A Novel The Best American Short Stories 2007

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“Stop torturing yourself, her friends said. Stop living in the past. He was gone. Capital G--Gone. He wasn't coming back. She should focus not on the pain, but on the possibility. Something good would come from all this heartache, something always did. Everything, her friends told her, happened for a reason. She should start looking for the silver lining.

She thought she might start looking for new friends.”
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