Sparrow, Rebecca. The year Nick McGowan came to stay.

Author:Rosser, Claire
Position:Young adult review - Brief article - Book review

SPARROW, Rebecca. The year Nick McGowan came to stay. Random House, Knopf. 196p. c2006. 978-0-375-84570-3. $15.99. JS

The year in the title is 1989, just to get that out of the way, and most of the pop culture and fashion references are 20 years old; that ancient history and the not very attractive cover art may be unfortunate hurdles for YAs. The best selling point of the story is the madcap humor that accompanies a good basic YA plot. The narrator, Rachel, is a conscientious person. Her life is given over to careful study habits and a clean slate in the detention department. Here's the good plot: said narrator's life abruptly changes when her parents take in a troubled fellow student, the cutest, coolest guy at their school. Nick McGowan cuts school, smokes outside by the family pool, and teases Rachel whenever he can, sort of like a friendly brother. There is a secret here. Why is Nick, who once was a top student, now behaving so irresponsibly? There are phone calls for him at all hours from someone named Sam...

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