Review: The Year Nick McGowan Came to Stay – Rebecca Sparrow

The Year Nick McGowan Came to Stay Synopsis from Goodreads.
Seventeen-year-old Rachel Hill is the girl most likely to succeed. And the girl most likely to have everything under control . . . that is, until her dad invites Nick McGowan, the cutest boy at school, to live with them. Rachel worries that this could only be a recipe for disaster, but her best friend Zoe thinks it’s the perfect opportunity for lurve. Sparks start to fly for all the wrong reasons. Nick finds Rachel spoiled and uptight and Rachel dismisses Nick as lazy and directionless. But a secret from Nick’s past draws them together and makes the year Nick McGowan came to stay one that Rachel will never forget

So this book was unexpected.
Not that I didn’t think I was going to enjoy it because I’ve read three  wonderful  reviews from three of my favourite reviewers. I knew I was going to enjoy it. I mean, Maggie mentioned Patrick Verona.
And it is a universal truth that if you liken something to Patrick Verona, I will be all over it like… well, Kat Stratford over an angry teenage girl band or Patrick Verona and a duck’s head.


Sorry, I felt I just need to mention him one more time to get it out of my system.

When I say it was unexpected it was because I was kind of expecting it to be a bit more fluffy than it was. And I mean fluffy in a good way. The book equivalent of getting in out of the cold and putting slipper socks on. That kind of fluffy. But it wasn’t really. I wouldn’t necessarily say it was a dark book as such, although there is an interesting twist-that-isn’t-really-a-twist that gets revealed at the end. But there’s a lot more to it than girl-meets-bad-boy-tries-to-change-him.
This is a kissing book without the kissing.
Or it’s a kissing book where the kisses are a bit awkward and teeth clack together and the characters wipe their mouth afterwards when they think the other isn’t looking. Which, usually, is exactly the kind of book I love to read. I love it when authors don’t take themselves seriously and act like every kiss their teen character has is the be all and end all and it’s the most romantic kiss in the entire world.
But just this once, I was in the mood to read a proper kissing book. I’ve been dead busy and run down and floundering in a reading slump recently and I just wanted a book where a girl kisses a boy and shenanigans and misunderstandings ensue but then there’s more snogging at the end.

It’s my own fault really. I probably should have just read Chain Reaction again. My brain was craving mush and unfortunately for me (but, I must point out, fortunately for Ms Sparrow) this book was anything but mush.
Don’t get me wrong, I did really enjoy this book and there was a few times I sniggered into my scarf on the train, but I didn’t love it as much as I wanted to or I thought I would.

I will definitely be keeping an eye on what else Ms Sparrow reads because she’s extremely funny and knows exactly how to write a sweet story with just the right amount of sour.


ps. Beetroot….on….a…burger? What? They chatted on about beetroots on burgers in A Little Wanting Song. Is this a thing in Australia? The only thing I’ve ever had beetroot on is a tater’ash when there’s no red cabbage left. Am I missing out on something wonderful? See, kids! This is why you should read…. Just in case you ever get stranded with an irate Aussie because there’s no beetroot on their burger, you will now know to sympathise. I’m guessing it’s the equivalent of going into a chippy and them saying “Sorry, we’ve ran out of gravy.” Am I right?

15 thoughts on “Review: The Year Nick McGowan Came to Stay – Rebecca Sparrow

  1. That’s so true about kissing in books. I don’t think I’ve ever read about a bad kiss, and I’m sure everyone has had one before, or at least one that was just plain awkward.

  2. Aw, I’d be lying if I said a wasn’t a little bit disappointed that you didn’t love this one as much as I did but you’re right about the kissing. They needed more kissing. But you did have Huey Lewis and Phil Collins though…

    Ok, the words ‘Phil Collins’ and ‘kissing’ should never be in the same paragraph. Sorry ;)

    • Sorry Anna! I did like it but just not as much as you, I guess.

      Phil Collins and kissing….? Eurgh. Anna, WtOC is a Phil Collins free-zone. Although, I’ve probably mentioned him at some point. ;)

  3. Yes, beetroot on burgers is an Australian thing :) We put everything on burgers. EVERYTHING! When you come to Australia I’ll make you try it.

    Also, I can’t believe you want to read Chain Reaction again – WHO ARE YOU?! Did you learn nothing from all the scabby dogs and meteorites?


    p.s. high five for working Patrick Verona in :)

    • Mmmm, I can’t wait for this epic burger.

      Oh whatever Rey, you love the Fuentes as much as I do. #morefuentes
      Maybe I just want a boy to give me a rock one day, is that so much to ask?!?! IS IT?!

  4. Beetroot is a must on a burger :D And pineapple too. It’s not as gross as it sounds.

    I want to read this book after all those amazing reviews. But I know what you mean when you’re just expecting a kissing book and it’s so much more, but you’re not in the mood.

    I’m trying to think of a kissing book that I liked that you haven’t read… hmm, have you read Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan? I quite enjoyed that when I read it last year and from memory it’s a good kissing book. It’s set at Christmas too so it’s a good time of year for it.

    • You really should read this, Belle! I think you’d love it.

      And no, I haven’t read Dash and Lily actually! I kept looking at it on Amazon but never bought it. I really liked Nick & Norah. Is it quite similar?

      • I haven’t actually read Nick and Norah, but I want to! I’d imagine it to be similar. But Nick and Norah happens all in one night and Dash and Lily takes place over like a month, I think.

  5. “…sweet story with just the right amount of sour.”

    Nice! I like the way you put that! :D It’s hard to find those stories. And you’re right…this book DOES give the appearance of being fluffy. Ah well…

    Thanks for the review!

  6. Beetroot on a burger totally works, but I say this as an adult, as a child with Euro parents I thought it was rubbish. I’m not too keen on the pinapple though. And it’s really only at old-style fish n chip/burger places. Normal burger places/chains don’t really do the beetroot thing!

    Well I am glad you enjoyed this for the most part, Jo! I really liked the fact that the kiss didn’t evolve fireworks, marching bands and the most amazing emotions everrrr! Most teen kisses are not like that!

  7. Aww. But you know I’m not done pushing Rebecca Sparrow on you. Not in that way. This was just the perfect time, perfect place book for me. I just realized I was eating beets on my salad when I read it. Coincidence??

    • So… you were saying you were off your face on beetroot when you read this book?

      Ahh. Maybe that’s where I went wrong? ;)

      Yay! Don’t stop pushing RS on me. I’m definitely going to read more of her. :)

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