Published by Harper Collins on April 21st 2015
Genres: Death & Dying, Friendship, Love & Romance, Social Issues, Young Adult
From the acclaimed author of How to Love comes another stunning contemporary novel, perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen.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.
Molly Barlow left her small town without so much as a goodbye. Unfortunately for her, she could only run so far before she had to come back and face the inevitable. The inevitable just so happens to include the Donnellys, a family she used to love more than her own. Small town secrets are usually big news, especially when it’s broadcasted for everyone to hear. Only Molly didn’t actually tell anyone what happened, someone else did. Ninety-nine days—that’s all she has to endure before she’s off to Boston without ever having to look back, but a lot can happen in one summer.
This was one of those books that had my attention the second I saw it on the table at Books-A-Million. Consequently, it also ended up being one of those books that I convinced myself I didn’t need; that is until I saw a signed copy sitting happily on display at Books of Wonder in New York.
Summertime is the perfect time to read about a summer romance, or more like a summer scandal. And this book was scandalous. The inside cover of the book only gave me a brief section of Molly’s days back home, so I had to connect the dots as I read to learn what happened. As a result of the incidents of sophomore year, Molly was a pariah in her own town. Like anyone else who learned about her story, I didn’t like her at first. In fact, there were moments where I found it almost impossible to like her. By the end of the book, though, when even more secrets surfaced, I stood firmly on her side. Molly’s character proved that everyone makes mistakes, and that some of those mistakes will only pile on top of other ones, but the bad choices are not what defines who a person is. Most importantly, life exist outside of high school drama. (Thank you, Katie Cotugno!) The author gave readers a lot to process in creating Molly alone, and reading this book took me on a rollercoaster of emotions (like, seriously, you thought John Green was bad). She may have dug her grave, but everyone but her seemed to be piling on the dirt.
With any great scandal there’s always the other person it revolved around. I thought I had it figured out who Molly would choose, but as soon as I made a decision it would change. I loved what Cotugno chose, even though I’m sure there will be plenty who will disagree (don’t worry, I won’t tell!). When it came to Molly’s love life, it was impossible to know what would happen, which made me sympathize with Molly even more.
Summer romance has never been quite like this. I’m a tad skeptical on whether or not I want to read Cotugno’s debut, How to Love, but if it’s anything like 99 Days, I’m seriously rethinking that decision. There were some parts that I had a more difficult time getting through, and I wouldn’t recommend the book to younger teens. Even though it wasn’t necessarily my favorite summer romance, the ending was one of my favorites.
The summer is almost over, but you still have time to read about Molly’s. Scandal, romance, and indecision, you won’t regret it.