Megan Meade’s Guide to the McGowan Boys
Title: Megan Meade’s Guide to the McGowan Boys
Author: Kate Brian
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
Number of Pages: 272
Advertised Age Level: Young Adult
Age and Grade of Main Character(s): 16 years/Junior in High School
Language: mild profanity
Sex: sex between two characters is described with no explicit detail only as a “rumor” passed between students
Drug/Alcohol Use: teens consume beer, one secondary character becomes drunk at a party
Violence: fist fight between brothers
Social Issues: bullying, loyalty between family members, first feelings of love, Aspergers Syndrome, sibling rivalry, problem of spreading rumors and lies
Suggested Movie Grade: PG-13
Premise: Megan Meade has had it with the constant moving around that comes with having professional Army parents. When they announce yet another transfer, this time to South Korea(!), Megan finally puts her foot down. She determines to stay in the US to finish her last two years of school. Her parents agree, but with a catch. Megan must live with family friends, a family that includes seven boys.
At first Megan looks at the prospect of having seven instant “brothers” as a chance to learn a little something about the male species. But the McGowan boys don’t exactly welcome her with open arms. The youngest brothers, Ian and Caleb, feel free to go through her things, vandalize her clothing, and sabotage her bike. Middle twins Miller and Doug come with their own problems, Miller’s in the form of Aspergers Syndrome and Doug’s with a giant chip on his shoulder and a determination to hate Megan no matter what she does. Older brothers Evan and Finn show some promise. Evan looks like he’s stepped off the pages of an Abercrombie catalog and Megan is immediately smitten. Finn offers a steady friendship that becomes a rock Megan finds herself leaning on more and more. And oldest brother Sean barely exists as part of the family.
Things become even more complicated when Megan becomes embroiled in the ongoing drama between Evan and his long time girlfriend – and Megan’s soccer team rival – Hailey. Even though Megan feels like she has a home at her new school with new friends and a promising soccer season ahead, her home life is a constant battle as she tries to be accepted by the McGowan boys.
* Due to a commentor’s astute observation, I have made some minor corrections below.
The McGowan boys are openly hostile to Megan at first and do much to make her life difficult.
Megan develops a crush on handsome Evan McGowan although it never comes to fruition. Megan and Evan are punished when they come in late after a party, and the McGowan parents forbid any romantic relationships between Megan and any of their sons as long as she is living with them.
Megan experiences bullying in the form of soccer-rival Hailey, who is also Evan McGowan’s girlfriend.
Hailey has sex with
Sean Doug McGowan after she walks in on Megan and Evan having a purely chaste conversation in a bedroom at a party. Evan reacts very badly to this and instigates a brutal fist fight with Sean Doug.
Hailey lies to Evan and tells him that Megan told her that she and Evan “hooked up” at the party, thus inspiring Hailey to seek revenge. Evan believes Hailey rather than the truth that Megan never approached her, and Evan accuses Megan of being the liar. The two stop speaking to each other.
Students believe the rumors that Megan caused Evan and Hailey to break up by “hooking up” with Evan even though nothing happened. Some of Megan’s friends turn against her for a while until she’s able to make them see the truth of the situation.
Sean Doug McGowan is a troubled youth who is accused of vandalizing the school with some of his friends. While Megan is certain that Sean Doug is guilty (he is), she lies to the principal and provides him with an alibi to keep him from getting suspended. Sean Doug remains belligerent and rude to her.
Megan and Finn are caught kissing and are grounded for breaking the McGowan’s “no romances” rule.
Age Appropriateness: Ages 13 and up