Megan Meade’s Guide to the McGowan Boys by Kate Brian…….. When I was in middle school, I reread this book over and over on trips. There are quite a few reasons why I did which will be discussed but there are reasons why it had been awhile since I reread it. I appreciate anyone who reads this and if you’re interested in this book check it out if you’d like. My overall thoughts are this; this is an entertaining read but based on its age plus my added life experience, I do have issues with this book I would love to discuss. These are as follows, hope you enjoy please comment if you want to see more of these or if you want to join the discussion of this book.
This book helps with learning moral lessons about friendships and boys
When I first read this book, a girl going to live with several boys who wants to help others with how boys operate was important to me in the sense of I didn’t know how guys operate and how they live because of my home life. However, I can take into account that these lessons are not always absolute and not all guys act the way the McGowan boys are.
Beginnings of representation other than typical were presented in this novel
This book was one of the few that came out in the 2000s that I read that had a variety of people involved with appearance as well as disability representation. Even though it was not the best (stated why later), it still paved the way for future writers to be more bold with their writing and more publishers to sell better representation present day.
Main Character is a Fickle Protagonist
I know I know “Christina, this is how young adult contemporaries usually are, teenagers are fickle why didn’t you like Megan this time around?” I think because although she is a notorious goody-two-shoes army brat at the start showing off her girl next door attitude etc., the time she took attempting to get with one of the brothers and it biting her in the back, plus the girl hate drama that occurred at the high school because of the soccer team and the brothers yet again., and the way things turned ambigious at the end (which will be discussed later!) that she should have just got to know everyone platonically, she should have communicated with everyone better and the conflict should have had a more internal conflict than several mini external conflicts.
The Miscommunication and Lying Drama was in Full Force
Ahhhh! I had forgotten how much girl hate and high school drama plus miscommunication was in this book 😣. Yet I still ate it up!! I truly think its because I had forgotten there were so many kernels of it sprinkled into the story mostly between three of the characters; Megan, Evan McGowan, and Hailey Farmer; Evan’s Girlfriend and the best player on the high school’s soccer team. I really despised that storyline before and it increased after reading it now. I think its because I felt that one, Evan never redeemed himself at least not truly by the end of the story, and two, Hailey redeemed herself but I really wanted more building of friendship between her and Megan. The other miscommunications and lying that occurred in this novel particularly with the adults presented, were also irritating but again occur a lot with the genre of Young Adult Contemporary so its not the book’s fault in that aspect but more with the character of Megan as a whole pushing things down and taking them internally until she exploded which is not ok and she needed to communicate better earlier before the end of the book.
The Asperger’s/Autism Spectrum Disorder Rep needed to be better or at least different
One of the reasons that this is one of my most favorite/reread books is because it was the first time in my life that I saw a form of Autism Spectrum Disorder on the page of a story. This is in the form of Miller McGowan lover of the Yankees in the Boston Red Sox filled household and always insists on everything being rearranged in height order. People who know me know that this holds a special place in my heart with my sister and I being diagnosed. With this book being published in 2005, it was ahead of its time in the sense there were not characters with physical or mental health representation outside of the norms in young adult contemporaries. In addition, with the knowledge of Autism Spectrum Disorders changing a lot more by 2013, there’s a lot more that the author could do with the character who had this disorder than what she did if this was republished or published later. I also do keep in mind that there’s no one person with the same symptoms but I think the main character having too easy of a time being able to communicate with him after googling what to do is a tad inaccurate and difficult to fathom its realism unless his disorder is one of the most minor out there. If I was able to rewrite this to better interpret the representation, I would have added a bit more depth on how this affected Miller’s daily life outside of the home and school and more interactions with him and Megan’s friends particularly with Aimee. Again, since when it was written, there was not a lot of knowledge for the author to build from I cannot exactly fault her for lack of depth, but if it was put into more detail, more realistic, I would have enjoyed it a lot more than I did now.
The Ambiguity of the Ending
There’s a reason people created some fanfiction about this book. There’s no solid ending except for the leading lady getting along with all of the brothers one she’s in a slow relationship with (and one she’s seeing that he’s showing attraction of her ) and it ends there!!! 🙄 it’s like can’t we just have her be happy in the slow relationship (His name is Finn and he was always my favorite McGowan between him and Miller if I ever make an updated Book Boyfriend list he needs to be on it note to self). Anyway, if the author does that, can’t we have a follow-up or at least a proper epilogue!! Too ambiguous for my liking and I think I have always had that issue which is why I have reread it so much. Thankfully most of the Fanfiction has always gone my way with Finn marrying Megan but I have always wondered if there would have been a follow-up book what that had looked like. Oh well.
Overall, as an older young adult novel it was very entertaining while presenting some ideas and moral lessons that were in their infancy in writing young adult fiction in the 2000s. This also was a fantastic book for me personally to get out of my reading slump. Because of these points, I have to give this book a 3.5 out of 5 stars or 4 sushi 🍣🍣🍣🍣. Have you guys read this book before? If not, what book do you reread that is around this publishing period that sticks with you? Lets talk about it!