Brian, Kate 1974–
Brian, Kate 1974–
PERSONAL: Born 1974, in NJ. Education: Rutgers University, B.A.
The Princess and the Pauper, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2003.
The V Club, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2004, published as The Virginity Club, Simon Pulse (New York, NY), 2005.
Megan Meade's Guide to the McGowan Boys, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2005.
Lucky T, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2005.
Sweet 16, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2006.
UNDER PSEUDONYM KIERAN SCOTT; FOR YOUNG ADULTS
Leonardo DiCaprio, Aladdin Paperbacks (New York, NY), 1998.
Matt Damon, Aladdin Paperbacks (New York, NY), 1998.
James Van Der Beek, Aladdin Paperbacks (New York, NY), 1999.
Cameron Diaz, Chelsea House Publishers (Philadelphia, PA), 2001.
I Was a Mouseketeer!, Disney Press (New York, NY), 2001.
Salma Hayek, Chelsea House Publishers (Philadelphia, PA), 2002.
Jingle Boy, Delacorte (New York, NY), 2003.
I Was a Non-Blonde Cheerleader, G.P. Putnam's Sons (New York, NY), 2005.
Brunettes Strike Back, G.P. Putnam's Sons (New York, NY), 2006.
Author of young-adult novels under undisclosed pseudonyms in series such as "Charmed," "Alias," and "Everwood."
SIDELIGHTS: Kate Brian keeps a lively publishing schedule, writing titles under her own name as well as under pseudonyms that include Kieran Scott. Brian creates tales for young adults, especially girls who are confronting school bullies, learning how to deal with boys, and making decisions that will influence their lives. In The Princess and the Pauper, two sixteen-year-old girls switch places, effectively "trying on" each others' lives. Carina, the crown princess of the small European country of Vineland, has been communicating via e-mail with a punk rocker whose band will be playing in Los Angeles during Carina's goodwill tour of the United States. When Carina arrives, she meets Julia, and the two discover that they look almost identical. With the help of a friend named Ingrid, Carina suggests trading lives with Julia, offering to pay Julia an amount that will cover the past-due rent owed by her waitress mother. Julia agrees, attends the planned ball, and meets Carina's handsome boyfriend, while Carina goes to the rock concert where she meets up with a boy named Ribbit.
A Publishers Weekly contributor called the novel "entertaining if not surprising." Taylor Morris, reviewing The Princess and the Pauper for Romantic Times Book Club online, commented that Brian makes "spoiled-rotten Carina likable and … Ingrid a great source of comic relief." Booklist contributor Eva Mitnick called the girls "well-drawn … [and] sweet."
Brian tackles the issue of whether to "do it" or not in The V Club. Catherine Ensley wrote in School Library Journal that "Brian's intuitive understanding … is right on target." Ardsmore High is offering a scholarship only available to a recipient who will "exemplify purity of mind and body." Shy Eva, with her high grade point average, seems to be a top contender, but some of her friends who also need the money seem not to be. They include the athletic Kai, who hopes to attend Cornell University; Debbie, who wants to study fashion; and Mandy, whose family is on the verge of losing their wealth. The friends all apply for the scholarship and band together to form the V Club, which promotes chastity. The story is clear in showing that people and situations can change and that perceptions can be inaccurate.
A Publishers Weekly reviewer noted that each character "is rewarded with exactly the happy ending that suits her best." A Kirkus Reviews critic wrote that Brian "is at the top of her game here," while a Booklist contributor noted that "problems resolve tidily and purposefully."
Megan Meade's Guide to the McGowan Boys offers an interesting premise. The only child of two career military officers, sixteen-year-old Megan balks when she learns that her parents have been ordered to South Korea. Megan wants to stay behind in the United States and finish her education. Her family arranges for her to stay with the McGowans, who have seven sons. Megan must not only learn how to get along with siblings, but also how to get along with boys in the same household. The title derives from the messages Megan sends to her friends back in Texas as she adjusts to male behavior and a new home in Massachusetts. "Brian's well-rounded story hits some interesting notes," wrote Ilene Cooper in Booklist. A Kirkus Reviews critic called the book "fluffy teen romance" but nonetheless felt that female fans "will enjoy the escapism." Janis Flint-Ferguson in Kliatt concluded that Brian bravely describes teen behavior, not always at its best. The reviewer also felt that "many family issues are dealt with well."
Brian said she was motivated to write Lucky T by an interest in how superstitions influence people. The heroine of Lucky T, Carrie, has lost a special T-shirt her divorced and absent father once gave her. Carrie is convinced that she will be cursed with bad luck until she retrieves the shirt. She discovers that the item has been donated to a shelter in India, so she joins a friend to do volunteer work abroad, simply for the chance to get her T-shirt back. Confronted with a new culture and new faces, Carrie comes to understand the value of possessions and the place they should hold in life. Julie Webb, writing in School Library Journal concluded that Lucky T is "an enjoyable read in which the girl … learns what really matters most."
Brian began writing as Kieran Scott in the late 1990s, when she was doing pseudonymous work on young-adult series titles. Her first works under this name were celebrity biographies, but more recently she has begun to pen novels under the Scott pseudonym, such as Jingle Boy, I Was a Non-Blonde Cheerleader, and Brunettes Strike Back.
Every reader knows a character like Paul Nicholas in Jingle Boy. Paul and his family adore Christmas. They swath their home in lights, listen to sappy music, and plan elaborate gifts for each another. Paul's excitement eventually turns to anger after he loses his lucky Santa hat. First his father is nearly electrocuted—and the house catches on fire—when the outdoor lights fail. Then Paul's girlfriend runs off with the mall Santa. Paul's mother loses her job. Overnight Paul becomes determined to derail the whole holiday, and he finds a group of like-minded folks willing to work with him. Michele Winship in Kliatt liked the way the author's tale constructs a "tongue-in-cheek version of a feel-good Christmas special." A Kirkus Reviews critic noted that Christmas is more than just a metaphor in Jingle Boy, adding: "Every page is stocking-stuffed with details."
Also under the pseudonym Kieran Scott, Brian published I Was a Non-Blonde Cheerleader. The novel's narrator, Annisa, wants desperately to adjust to her new life in Florida. Her new high school seems overrun by blondes, and she is a brunette. She has moved into a house that used to belong to a popular cheerleader, now gone. Worse, Annisa's likable personality draws the attraction of Daniel, the boyfriend of one of the lead cheerleaders. Still, Annisa earns a spot on the competitive cheerleading squad and helps her fractious teammates to unite for an important event. "The pompom inclined will especially like this," maintained Cooper in Booklist. A Kirkus Reviews contributor suggested that the author "shows incisive insight into the culture of adolescent girls" in a suspenseful and emotional plotline. In Publishers Weekly, a critic noted that the story offers interesting details about competitive cheerleading but stands out for its "oodles of can-do sass."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, October 15, 2003, Eva Mitnick, review of The Princess and the Pauper, p. 404; October 15, 2003, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, review of Jingle Boy, p. 406; June 1, 2004, review of The V Club, p. 1716; January 1, 2005, Ilene Cooper, review of I Was a Non-Blonde Cheerleader, p. 847; September 15, 2005, Ilene Cooper, review of Megan Meade's Guide to the McGowan Boys, p. 76.
Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2003, review of Jingle Boy, p. 1078; April 1, 2004, review of The V Club, p. 325; January 1, 2005, review of I Was a Non-Blonde Cheerleader, p. 56; June 15, 2005, review of Lucky T, p. 678; September 15, 2005, review of Megan Meade's Guide to the McGowan Boys, p. 1021.
Kliatt, September, 2003, Michele Winship, review of Jingle Boy, p. 12; January, 2005, Claire Rosser, review of I Was a Non-Blonde Cheerleader, p. 10; September, 2005, Janis Flint-Ferguson, review of Megan Meade's Guide to the McGowan Boys, p. 5.
Publishers Weekly, June 16, 2003, review of The Princess and the Pauper, p. 72; September 22, 2003, review of Jingle Boy, p. 72; April 12, 2004, review of The V Club, p. 68; February 28, 2005, review of I Was a Non-Blonde Cheerleader, p. 68.
School Library Journal, August, 2003, Heather E. Miller, review of The Princess and the Pauper, p. 154; October, 2003, Eva Mitnick, review of Jingle Boy, p. 67; June, 2004, Catherine Ensley, review of The V Club, p. 135; September, 2005, Julie Webb, review of Lucky T, p. 198; November, 2005, Amy Patrick, review of Megan Meade's Guide to the McGowan Boys, p. 128.
Romantic Times Book Club, http://www.romantictimes.com/ (March 4, 2005), Taylor Morris, review of The Princess and the Pauper.
Teenreads.com, http://www.teenreads.com/ (January 3, 2006), biography of author.
YA Books Central Web Site, http://www.yabookscentral.com/ (January 3, 2006), interview with author.