Megan Meade’s Guide to the McGowan Boys

First Lines: “Megan, we need to talk.”  Megan Meade swallowed a mouthful of root beer and let the bendy straw fall from her lips.  Her heart dropped with it.

This was another book I picked up at a book sale.  While I’d never heard of it before, it looked like it might be something I (or my students) would like.  I’d never read anything by Kate Brian before, so I was willing to give it a shot.  Besides, it looked like something I could easily read at the lake, which was where I was headed when I started it.

As an army brat, Megan is used to moving around a lot.  But she puts her foot down when, just before her junior year, her parents are transferred to Korea.  Finish out high school in another country?  Don’t think so.  So Megan is sent to live with the McGowan’s, family friends who have 7 sons.  Seven.  Megan doesn’t even know how to talk to one without tripping over words.  Determined to make the best of things, she decides this is the perfect opportunity to observe boy behavior and learn what she can about them.  Maybe boys aren’t as alien as she thought they were.

Obviously, this was pretty much a fluff read, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t good.  It was actually perfect for my lakeside read because it was fast and I didn’t have to over-think anything when I was interrupted and had to find my place again.

I found myself really liking Megan.  A lot.  She’s a very tomboyish heroine, which I tend to favor because that feels like me.  I can’t stand heroines who are obsessed with being popular and backstabbing their friends.  (It’s part of the reason I just cannot stand Mean Girls.)  Anyway, I really related to Megan and liked watching her deal with the boys and high school.

However, there was a weird…glitch?…in Megan’s character.  Megan is clearly a tomboy in the story.  She hates make-up and the color pink among other girly things.  But she completely lacks the ability to talk to and deal with boys.  Personally, I have never met a tomboy who was unable to talk to boys.  It almost feels like a defining characteristic of tomboys that they have more male friends than female.  (These are my own observations, so they are obviously skewed by who I know.)  I’m definitely not saying it’s not possible, but it was a little distracting to me as I read.  But it was funny.

I thought some of the observations about boys were really true and somewhat funny.  I have three brothers and I grew up with almost all of my cousins being boys too.  So these weren’t exactly new revelations to me, but it was fun to see them all written down.  I liked trying to find family that fit the descriptions.

I will say, however, that some of the characters felt really stereotypical.  Particularly the “villain” of the story, but the brothers suffered from it too.  For the brothers all being really close, they each seemed to fit into entirely different cliques.  The jock, the artist, the gangsta, the musician, etc.  My brothers and I are pretty different, but we wouldn’t have been that different.  It felt like each boy was purposefully given a stereotypical identity just to see what happens and how they interact.

Overall, I found it to be a really cute read.  It was fast and funny.  But there were some things that distracted me as I read.

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