Author: Katie Cotugno
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: YA Contemporary
Release Date: April 21, 2015
Source: egalley received from publisher via Edelweiss
Rating: 3 Stars
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***I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way changed my opinion of the book. The review below is my open and honest opinion.***
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Day 1: Julia Donnelly eggs my house my first night back in Star Lake, and that’s how I know everyone still remembers everything—how I destroyed my relationship with Patrick the night everything happened with his brother, Gabe. How I wrecked their whole family. Now I’m serving out my summer like a jail sentence: Just ninety-nine days till I can leave for college, and be done.
Day 4: A nasty note on my windshield makes it clear Julia isn’t finished. I’m expecting a fight when someone taps me on the shoulder, but it’s just Gabe, home from college and actually happy to see me. “For what it’s worth, Molly Barlow,” he says, “I’m really glad you’re back.”Day 12: Gabe got me to come to this party, and I’m actually having fun. I think he’s about to kiss me—and that’s when I see Patrick. My Patrick, who’s supposed to be clear across the country. My Patrick, who’s never going to forgive me.
This book was…painful. I don’t mean that in an entirely bad way. I had some issues with it, but it was painful in a raw, real way. The subject matter is tough to read about and I don’t think this is going to be for everyone. If you’re really sensitive about cheating, I would recommend steering clear of this one. The same goes for slut-shaming. Because there’s a whole lot of both in this book.
Our main character Molly was dating this guy Patrick. Then she slept with his brother Gabe. Then her NYT best-selling mother wrote a book about it and revealed in an interview that the book was based on her daughter’s experiences. That was horrible and I seriously hated her mom for this. Not to mention the fact that her mom was completely unrepentant about it. She didn’t see anything wrong with what she’d done. I mean for me, writing the book was a mistake. But then to reveal to People freaking magazine that it was about her daughter??? What the hell. Not cool. Anyway, Molly runs away to boarding school for senior year to escape all the people who now hate her, but now she’s back for the summer before she goes off to college. Of course, things get rekindled with the brother Gabe. Drama ensues.
I had a pretty hard time liking Molly. I felt for her. The first day she’s back in town, her house gets egged. Her car gets keyed. There are nasty notes left in places she’s sure to find them and people are constantly whispering about her, loud enough for her to hear. I’ve been the recipient of a lot of these things myself so I could feel her pain, her embarrassment, the shame that threatened to destroy her. Did Molly make a mistake? Absolutely. Did she deserve the treatment she got? No. Nobody does.
However, I still didn’t really like Molly. You know why? Because I felt like she didn’t learn a goddamn thing. Let me tell you a personal story. When I was in high school, I cheated with someone. Not on someone. But with someone. I knew he had a girlfriend and I did it anyway. And it was a huge mistake. But you know what? I learned from that mistake. I would NEVER repeat that mistake. I hurt a lot of people and I felt terrible. Molly on the other hand? She has no problem repeating her stupid mistakes over and over, continuing to leave a trail of broken hearts in her wake. And that just pissed me off.
And then there are the two guys: Gabe & Patrick. Brothers. Freaking brothers! And they continue to hurt each other by going after the same girl. I hated that no one held these two accountable for their actions. I hated that there was such a double standard for Molly. I hated that both of these young men were manipulative assholes.
So it sounds like I hated this book doesn’t it? I didn’t. Not really. Because everything that I hated and that upset me was real. I’ve been through a similar experience. Katie Cotugno told this story the way it would have happened in real life. Which of course, made it tough to read. Because real life isn’t rainbows and unicorns. Real life is messy. People are mean. People fuck up. It happens. And I appreciated her genuine honesty. I imagine this book was difficult for her to write. It definitely would have been for me. But I hope this book opens the readers’ eyes. I hope it makes people see that slut-shaming is not okay no matter what the person has done. I hope it shows them that double standards aren’t okay. That it takes two to tango and that the guy is just as much at fault as the girl. And I hope it teaches the reader that you can’t keep running like Molly was. Eventually you have to face your mistakes and own up to them, hard as that might be.
Have you read this book? What did you think?