Publisher: Simon & Schuster (June 23, 2008)
In honor of my deep and abiding love of the Olympics I’ve decided that until they end I’m going to make one of my reviews each week about a book involving sports. Not necessarily sports that are in the Olympics but one character (preferably the main girl or guy) must spend at minimum one scene actually playing a sport. So books in which people mention several times that they play sports but there’s no action won’t count. Oh and it’s a LOT harder than expected to find YA sports books so any recommendations would be appreciated! (Except for football books, that’s the only sport I can find a bunch of.)
Plot: Megan is an Army brat who has spent her life following her parents from base to base. When they get transferred to South Korea right before the start of her junior year Megan decides not to go and instead moves in with the family of her father’s best friend. She hasn’t seen the seven McGowan boys in years and they are vastly different than the obnoxious pre-teens she remembers. There is a disparate number of personalities: hottie, rocker, artist, rapper, even a kid with Asperger’s Syndrome. While the boys’ mom is relieved to finally have another woman in the house, Megan has to figure out how to survive living with all these boys (including sharing a bathroom – ew!), making the soccer team, dealing with her crush on one of the brothers, and of course handling the normal high school drama.
Sport: While Evan McGowan mentions both lacrosse and hockey, the main sporting action in this book revolves around Megan’s love of soccer and her attempt to make the varsity soccer team in spite the fact that the would-be captain, Hailey, is a complete biatch who is involved in one of those overly-dramatic and completely codependent relationships with hottie hot hot Evan.
Review: To be honest I only bought this because I saw the word “soccer” and got so excited that it included a sport other than football, but I ended up really liking it. It’s not exactly the most original book but who cares when you like the characters? I thought Megan was very relatable and the fact that she never punched any of the McGowan boys in the face was a true miracle. I mean, I only have one brother and we had some seriously physical fights growing up (well, wrestling, not like fist fights, I like my face the way it is) (oh and they were all his fault of course! I was/am nearly perfect).
One aspect of the book that I really really really liked was how Megan tackled her relationship with Miller and his Asperger’s. She’d never met anyone before who had it and, in true nerd form, decided to do a lot of research. The fact that she takes the time to be patient and let him guide their friendship brought a sappy tear to my eye (what! I spent a semester in grad school talking almost every day about kids with Asperger’s and autism!). And then her new friends were so open to what she was doing! These scenes, even though they had zero romance, were the best parts of the book for me.
That being said the one downside to the book is that I feel like it ended at such an abrupt point and I think there is much more story left to be told. I mean, I have a very good idea who Megan will end up with but why can’t I see it happen? I wasn’t so down about this until I started this review and saw that the book was published in 2008, meaning that if a sequel hasn’t already been published I doubt it ever will. And I know you all realize the complete insanity of this situation – I’m actually asking for a sequel. This NEVER happens!!!
In the end I’m going to give this one an 8 out of 10.
Based on the following criteria:
How much did I like the heroine: 10. Megan is definitely a character I’d hope to be friends with. I liked that her parents respected her decision to stay in the US when they left for South Korea, realizing how much she’d given up to travel with them all over the place. I’ve known some Army brats in my life (and other friends who grew up moving all over the place) and her characterization rang very true for me. I think the fact that she really gained confidence in herself and came out of her shell is understandable when considering she’s surrounded by all these guys. She’s smart, a VERY talented soccer player, humble, patient, a great friend. The fact that a certain guy I was rooting for in the beginning doesn’t end up with her is a true sign of what an idiot he is. Oh, and when she has to she can dole out an AMAZING set down. Damn those were some good scenes.
How much did I like the love interest: 5. Well this is a difficult decision because you have guy A who I thought was the guy she’d end up with. I basically ignored all other guys for the majority of the book because A seemed, underneath it all, like a really awesome guy who could be great with Megan. But then A flips a total 180° and becomes a complete asshat. Then Megan is still pining over him but I’m done with that story. And then out of NOWHERE B comes along and I guess in retrospect you can see where it’s been building but really at the time I was completely surprised and it was unfairly cut off so soon that I just can’t properly judge. Which is why I need a sequel!!!
How believable is the plot: 10. All completely believable. I mean the most unbelievable thing for me is that Megan didn’t physically attack any of the boys but that might just be my Irish temper affecting my judgment so I’ll let it slide.
How much did I like the writing style/editing/etc: 9. There were enough editing errors that I can’t give it a 10 but other than that no biggie.
How much did I want to keep reading: 10. I really liked this! It was so realistic and I needed to find out when Megan would finally tell off these jerky boys!
Glasses of wine I drank while reading: 2. Now to be honest I didn’t have anything to drink while reading but that was because I had to drive but since I’ve been sitting here thinking about how I feel about this book it’s taken me 2 drinks. I just want more (book, not alcohol)!
Final Score: 8/10. One of the few times in my life I’m actually begging for a sequel and it probably won’t ever happen. So I’ll just have to make one up in my mind. Or hope our site can get enough people to read it that a sequel could happen!!! (Hey! The Olympics are all about fulfilling dreams!) (Full circle!!)