This week’s Second Chance Sunday review is for What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton. To say I loved this book would be a massive understatement. I have since lent it to 3 or 4 people who have also loved it. Figured it need a second review go around.
What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
How can you talk about something you can’t remember?
Before the ski trip, sixteen-year-old Cassidy “Sid” Murphy was a cheerleader (at the bottom of the pyramid, but still...), a straight-A student, and a member of a solid trio of best friends. When she ends up on a ski lift next to handsome local college boy, Dax Windsor, she’s thrilled; but Dax takes everything from Sid—including a lock of her perfect red curls—and she can’t remember any of it.
Back home and unable to relate to her old friends, Sid drops her college prep classes and takes up residence in the A/V room with only Corey “The Living Stoner” Livingston for company. But as she gets to know Corey (slacker, baker, total dreamboat), Sid finds someone who truly makes her happy. Now, if she can just shake the nightmares and those few extra pounds, everything will be perfect... or so she thinks.
Confession time: When I read the description of What Happens Next my mind never connected the situation Sid got into on the ski trip with sexual assault. Honestly my mind went to some weird mystical thing because of the missing lock of hair. I have no idea why, but it did. And man was I wrong. There is nothing mystical about it. What Happens Next is real, very very real.
Like every girl at 16, Sid Murphy is anything but comfortable in her own skin. With an above average chest and curves she could do without, she has spent her whole life getting negative attention from men and boys. The first thing they ever seems to notice is her chest or derriere and after they do there is always some snide comment that follows. She has gotten used to it. Hates it, but used to it. So when on a school sponsored ski trip a charming college guy seems to like her for more then her body and invites her to a party, she is sold. Going against her friends advice Sid goes alone to meet Dax. From that moment on everything is different. Sid doesn’t remember what happened that night exactly, but she knows it wasn’t good and she is now no longer the same girl she was before. Now instead of cheerleading and hanging out with her friends Sid runs and hangs in the AV room with Corey Livingston, the resident pot head. All she wants to do is get of her own head and running and being with Corey lets her do just that. And as their friendship blossoms Sid begins to spiral out of control with only Corey to keep her together. She wants to talk but she can’t. The past is just too big and she scared it will swallow her whole.
The thing I liked most about this story besides the AMAZING Corey Livingston(he’s my new book boyfriend and I’ll gush about him in a bit) was the relatablity of Sid. I have luckily never been in a situation like Sid was in, but I could understand why she made all the choices she made including going to that party alone. Did I agree with them, definitely no, but I got the motivation behind it. After years of ‘negative’ attention Sid felt special from the complements Dax gave her. She was naïve and just wanted to feel pretty for something other then her body. And I also completely understood where she was coming from when she started to run and not take care of herself properly. She lost a part of herself that night in the mountains and was desperate to have some semblance of control over her life. Running gave her that control and so did deciding what to eat and not eat and when to eat and not eat. And she was obsessed with her body image. In her head all boys saw was boobs and butt and by binge dieting and running she was able to change her appearance and make herself less noticeable and less likely to end up a victim ever again. It kind of broke my heart how low she got on herself and how easily she was able to hide it. Her self-esteem was horrible and I honestly think Corey was the only one that noticed.
Corey, Corey, Corey! I am completely head over heels in love with Corey Livingston. I can honestly say there was not one thing I didn’t like about him. He wasn’t what he appeared to be from the surface. There was something deeper to him. He was labeled and judged and yet he didn’t let it get him down. His relationship/friendship with Sid was beautifully written. The way he talked to her and treated her was amazing and he didn’t even know what happened on the ski trip. He was kind and loving and exactly what Sid needed at a really hard time in her life. Have I mentioned that I’m in love with him?! HA.
Really What Happens Next is an amazing story about a girl that made a bad choice that leads to her life spiraling out of control while she tries to maintain in control. It’s true and honest and heartfelt and heart breaking all at the same time. Clayton gives you a real look at a hard subject but does it way that isn’t depressing but hopefully. By far, hands down, one of the best books I have read ever and I can’t wait for more from this amazing author. Run don’t walk to the nearest book store and pick up this one ASAP. I can almost guarantee you won’t be disappointed.