Thursday, April 30, 2015

[ARC Review] 99 Days by Katie Cotugno

99 Days by Katie Cotugno

Publication Date: April 21, 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Source: eARC courtesy of the publisher via Edelweiss


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.
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

My Review

Note: I received and advance readers copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This is a spoiler free review.

I've been in a reading slump lately so the fact that I sped through 99 Days by Katie Cotugno in a day is something to applaud. I haven’t found myself able to relate to contemporary YA as much as a used, probably because I’m getting older but I enjoyed 99 Days. One of the reasons I found myself flying through the book was because it read like a soap opera. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, I can’t say, but I just had to know what was going to happen next between Molly, Patrick, and Gabe.

There were a few things that really bothered me about the book. It is briefly mentioned in the beginning that Molly is adopted but this fact is very glossed over. As someone who is adopted, the relationship between Molly and her mother felt very problematic. Many emotions that adoptees experience, especially during adolescence, were brought up (abandonment, identity issues, not being wanted, etc.) and then left unresolved. I know that these issues take a lot of time to be resolved in real life and that these issues were not the point of the book but it still left a sour taste in my mouth.

Related, it felt very unrealistic that Molly’s mother had no idea what her daughter was doing or why she was leaving the house at all hours of the night. I know in many YA books, parents are explained away (death, travel, etc.) but Molly’s mother is there. It was hard for me to suspend my disbelief that her mother wouldn't care to know what her daughter was up to. And maybe it’s my personal connection to adoption, but it makes it seem as though adopted parents don’t care as much for their children because they are not biologically related. I did not appreciate this. Again, probably not intentional on Cotugno's part but still very much there.

One aspect of the book I did like was how Cotugno dealt with the ever-present problem of double standards between men and women. From the summary we know that something happened between Molly and Gabe that shouldn't have and yet it is Molly who is getting all the hate from her classmates. Cotugno deals with this touchy subject without being to “in your face” about it and yet still driving the message home that there are always two people to blame.

Overall, 99 Days is a solid three star book. Cotugno's writing style is what made it enjoyable even when I didn't particularly like where the plot was going. I could see this being an enjoyable read if you like YA contemporary but it wouldn't be one of my top recommendations. Regardless, I am still looking forward to whatever Cotugno writes next.

3 out of 5 stars

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