99 Days by Katie Cotugno
Balzer + Bray (an imprint of Harper), 384 Pages
Expected US Release Date: April 21, 2015
Format/Source: ARC via Around the World Tours - thank you!
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.
It occurs to me, not for the first time, that you can never really know what anybody's got hidden in the back of her secret heart.
I really adore Katie Cotugno’s writing. I mean, I know that only means 2 of her books, but if you’ve read them…you get it. (And if you haven’t read them, you need to. NEED TO.)
99 Days probably tops How To Love with me, but that’s really only because I could relate better to this novel. I’m not a teen mother, I don’t care for a child…there were things that I could sympathise with…but 99 Days is a book I can empathise with. Not that I’ve cheated on someone with his brother (!), but the idea of being torn, of temptation and avoidance and being stuck in an uncomfortable place while you wait for life to continue one.
For my fellow Friends fans: WE WERE ON A BREAK!! That is seriously what I wanted to yell so many times I was reading haha.
So, I’m not sure where you stand in terms of a love triangle and cheating and all that nonsense (not that I think anyone should be on the positive side of that…), but there are some people who really can’t stomach reading it. If that’s you, well…go into this book forewarned, ok? I’m of the tribe that’s delightfully sickened by situations like that. Not that I think a girl should hook up with brothers, or cheat, or what have you, but it’s one of those things that I’m horrified and riveted all at once. This is definitely an extreme triangle, but the amazing (and slightly disturbing) thing about it is that a reader can completely understand Molly’s indecision between Patrick and Gabe. I was always leaning towards one, but then things would happen, and serious doubt would creep in. It freaked me out a little, but really speaks to how skilled and amazing Katie Cotugno’s writing and storytelling is.
The slut shaming. Yes, it’s there. Yes, it’s horrible. Yes, it’s terrible to read about and think about and I kind of wanted to break a lot of the girls’ knees in this book. But the way Katie Cotugno wrote the slut shaming into the story was so brilliant. It was almost like a device, like it was a form of the literature to make you feel a certain way towards the characters. And it’s not that I accepted the slut-shaming, but…I was into it, in terms of the story.
I think my only issue was somewhere around the middle or beginning of the end – it felt like it was getting a little slow. I’m not sure if that was just my impatience at wanting to know what was going to happen, but I felt like Molly had flip flopped and exhausted her guilt and jezebel feelings at some points.
But honestly, that was a small issue in the grand scheme of things. The pacing and development of this story was top notch, and I found myself flipping pages almost faster than I could read I was so into knowing what would or could happen. I found qualities in almost every single character that I could either relate to, happily hate, or want to be—and sometimes a mix of all!
99 Days is a wonderfully stomach clenching story of a girl and her choices. What led to them, what justifies them, why they may or may not have been for the best in the end. It’s about a summer that can change you and everyone around you, but still remind you of what was originally there.