Glasgow Boys

The début novel from Margaret McDonald follows Banjo and Finlay, two boys who met in a group care home and become unlikely, yet inseparable friends. When we are first introduced to our protagonists, three years have passed since an incident caused them to break off contact with one another and they are living separate lives.

What is most impressive about McDonald’s writing, is how she to manages to adjust her tone as she shifts from the perspectives of the main characters, with each chapter alternating between Banjo and Finlay. When we are first introduced to Banjo, short, abrupt sentences paint a picture of an angry and frustrated young man. The writing is aggressive in tone, even in the third person. Comparatively, Finlay’s early chapters read as uncertain and nervous, with longer winding sentences that make readers feel as if we are inside Finlay’s head, as he tries desperately to get ahead on the day. As this reader moved between their two stories, I couldn’t help but to imagine the magnitude of events that caused them to distance themselves from one another.

The pacing is well considered and the story flows nicely. Short flashbacks, strategically placed within chapters, provide context for Banjo and Finlay’s relationship and the characters are well-written with a broad range of emotional and personal development that will keep you rooting for the characters throughout.

Readers should be aware of potentially triggering themes of mental health, trauma, addiction and suicide.

Book Cover - Glasgow Boys
Publication Date
May 2024