Published by HarperCollins
Published: April 21st 2015
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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.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I’m not usually one for books that involve brothers and one girl. I mean I read the Summer Series by Jenny Han and loved it, but I read another brothers and one girl book that I found just too icky to even review. So I was on the fence about 99 Days. But the more I read the description the more I was leaning towards reading it. And I’m really happy I did. I really enjoyed it in a way that I didn’t expect. But man did it give me massive amounts of anxiety.
99 Days is about Molly Barlow and her last summer before college. She has to make it through just 99 days and then she can leave her town behind her and start over. But before she goes she has to face the boy those heart she broke, his brother she used to break it, her friends she left behind, and the mother that exposed it all. 99 days doesn’t seem all that bad in Molly’s head but coming face to face with both Patrick and Gabe makes 99 days seem like a lifetime.
My stomach was in such knots reading 99 Days. Honestly I have never been filled with so many nerves while reading a contemporary book. Molly, Gabe and Patrick where so completely self-destructive. They did everything in their power to destroy anything they had left. Molly was so torn-up by what happened with Patrick, who had been her best friend, and yet she couldn’t stay away from Gabe, the brother that she used to tear him apart. And Patrick was dead set on getting back at Gabe anyway he could, at one upping his older brother. While Gabe wanted to rub everything in Patrick’s face. I was so completely frustrated by all 3 of them. But I also kind of loved them because they were real. They weren’t perfect. They made mistakes. And boy did they ever make mistakes.
The funny thing is that I didn’t want to like Molly when I started the book. I mean she crossed a line that really is never supposed to be crossed. She tore apart a family and then took off. But the more I read of her the more I liked her. She was 17 and stupid. She needed comfort and took it from the wrong place at the wrong time. Who I really didn’t like was Molly’s mother. She was a terrible person and I just couldn’t let that go. Molly made a mistake and was lying about it, but she came to her mom for advice and comfort and that was used against her in a way a mother should never. She really infuriated me.
In the end I enjoyed 99 Days, anxiety and self-destructive decisions included. What I really liked about it is that it did feel real. It didn’t feel manufactured or forced. It felt natural. These people were entangled in each other’s lives in a way that was bound to get messy. I’m really happy to have read this one and I look forward for more from Katie Cotugno.
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It’s always nice to have a character grow on your over the course of a story. Have you tried How to Love yet? I feel like you might find the same level of enjoyment there as the characters make similarly bad decisions (and grow over the course of the story).
I loved Katie’s How to Love, and can’t wait to read this sweet story as well! It sounds like the perfect summer read. 🙂
I’m so pleased that you gave 99 Days a chance AND that you wound up appreciating it. I think writing complicated contemporaries with real characters is something Katie does in this book (and in her debut novel How to Love), and I just think 99 Days is SO well done.