Release Date: April 21st 2015 by Balzer + Bray
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Molly Barlow is facing one long, hot summer—99 days—with the boy whose heart she broke and the boy she broke it for . . . his brother.
Day 1: Julia Donnelly eggs my house my first night back in Star Lake, and that’s how I know everyone still remembers everything. She has every right to hate me, of course: I broke Patrick Donnelly’s heart the night everything happened with his brother, Gabe. 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 wouldn’t quit till he got me to come to this party, and I’m surprised to find 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.
Friends, Katie Cotugno has done it again. This book finally cemented her status as an insta-buy author for me. 99 DAYS is a complicated story with complicated characters who are in a complicated romance. And those are the things I love about Cotugno’s stories; she DOESN’T sugarcoat. She writes about these mortifying situations that her teenage characters (emphasis on teenage) face from such a realistic angle. And I know some of her themes doesn’t sit well with a lot of readers. I could only imagine the controversy this book has to face once it’s out there in the world. But let me try and explain why this book works for me.
When Molly Barlow returned to her hometown of Star Lake, the reception wasn’t exactly warm. Her house was egged, her car was keyed, and her peers would throw insults such as skank or dirty slut. She was practically ostracised by everyone. And it made my heart ache because I know it’s the worst feeling in the entire world. Not that I’ve been in her situation before but I certainly had my days of solitude.
I wanted to shake and slap Molly and tell her to wake up. She doesn’t deserve to be treated like that after what she had done. She needs to fight for herself, but instead she’s doing the exact opposite: she runs.
This is the catalyst of the novel. This is why Molly is being ostracised. Cheating. It’s a debatable issue, and it could make or break for you. There’s only two reactions you might get: it’s either you sympathise with Molly or you shame her for what she did. And my reaction was a little bit of both.
The former: I sympathised with her because she’s the only one receiving the backlash. When in fact, as Gabe pointed out, it takes two people to do what they did. I just don’t like the unfairness of it all.
The latter: There are a lot of times wherein Molly’s being a bitch and a complete *idiot. She completely lost me when she once again betrayed everyone’s trust.
Molly’s relationship with Gabe and Patrick Donnelly is a mess. I can’t even describe the madness that ensued near the end. I’m just glad that Molly realised she was being selfish for wanting both brothers, and all was resolved.
*I want to point out that Molly’s still a teenager. She’s 18. She’s in the stage of life where every mistake she makes, every wrong choice she chooses is a takeaway. An experience to hold on to. A reminder to never repeat what she did. You can’t really blame her for wanting a lot of things. It’s kind of like entering college. You want to take up so many courses and so many majors, you end up conflicted. For me that’s kind of what happened to Molly when choosing between the two boys she both equally admire for different reasons.
I’m sorry if this impassioned review was somewhat long but here’s my final say: give this book a chance and try to dig a little deeper beneath all the mess. Understand where Molly’s coming from, and what this author is trying to convey. Katie Cotugno is a unique voice in YA right now that deserves a chance to be heard.
I received an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.