New to You (14): Kim Reviews What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton

Welcome to New to You!

This idea came along last year when I was supporting Lauren Miller’s newest book All Things New and I asked Kelsey to read and review Parallel, a book I have read more than once. I didn’t really get it going until December when I offered people the chance to sign up to read and review a book that has been a favorite of mine that they have never read. I got a great response and I’m happy to tell you (minus January) you will see a New to You post twice a month.

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Next up for New to You is Kim from Kimberlyfaye Reads. Kim is mainly a romance/new adult book reader, but every now and then she reads a young adult book to the mix. When Kim signed up I had trouble deciding which book I wanted to give to her because I had a feeling she would love all three she expressed interest in. But after thinking on it I knew What Happens Next would be the right book for her. Let’s see what she had to say about it.

New to You (14): Kim Reviews What Happens Next by Colleen ClaytonWhat Happens Next by Colleen Clayton
Published by Poppy (Little Brown Books for Young Readers)
Published: October 9, 2012
Buy on Amazon
Add to Goodreads
four-stars

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.

Witty and poignant, Colleen Clayton’s stunning debut is a story about moving on after the unthinkable happens.

 

What Happens Next has been on my TBR for ages. I was drawn to it when it was first released, but somehow never got around to reading it. When Andi picked it for me to read for her New to You feature, I was thrilled I finally had a real excuse to force me to read it. Now that I did? I’m really grateful she selected this one for me. She anticipated I would love it and she was right. 

All that said, it’s difficult to put my thoughts about What Happens Next into words. If you’ve read it, you understand where I’m coming from on this one. If you’ve not, but want to, you’ll understand once you read it. My heart absolutely ached for Sid. She went through something no one should go through, and to say it changed her in a very real way would be a massive understatement. 

I’ve not read many books that deal with sexual assault or rape, so I don’t have much to compare What Happens Next to. But, I think it was handled very well here. Or as well as this subject matter can be anyhow. Because of the nature of Sid’s assault — she was drugged — we as readers are not forced to live vicariously through it with her. Thank goodness. Instead, we pick up the story afterwards as the fogginess clears and she begins to realize what she’d been through. That was real and raw enough for me and it broke my heart just a little. (Ok, a lot.) 

The rest of the book is Sid trying to find her new normal and, to be honest, making some pretty poor choices along the way. There were times I was incredibly angry with her, but mostly I was just concerned for her. I wanted her to TELL SOMEONE, but instead she focused her energies elsewhere. Exercising more? Probably not a bad way to cope. Doing it obsessively, at the expense of sleep and general health, not so much. Same with the eating disorder. Sid was struggling and no one really saw the extent of it at first because she was doing a very good job of hiding it. Of hiding herself, really. She lost so much to “Dax,” her rapist. I desperately wanted to see her get back at least part of it. 

The cast of characters in this book are something special. Of course, you know how I feel about Sid. I also adored her friends, Kristen and Paige, though I did spend several chapters side-eyeing them for their reaction to the fallout from the ski trip. But then, it’s not like they had the whole story… so I’d probably have felt similarly if in their shoes. The other star of the show here was Corey, the “stoner” Sid befriends after pushing nearly everyone else in her life away. I loved how they connected and got to know each other. The pace at which things moved from friends to more just worked, too. And, bonus, there was no focus on Sid needing Corey to become whole again. 

What Happens Next was a beautifully-written, moving book. It was raw and real and left me with a whole boatload of emotions I wasn’t sure what to do with. It’s not an easy read, but it’s an important one. I hope more people like me, who might’ve been on the fence about it, will make the time to read it.

Favorite Quotes:

My peace, my virginity, my friends, cheerleading, and now my pride: he’d taken it all. 

“It’s like this light coming out of you. I could be in a crowd of thousands and know right where to find you.”

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Thanks Kim for signing up for New to You! What Happens Next is one of the most underrated books in YA if you ask me so I’m happy I was able to give it a new fan.

My What Happens Next. And of Colleen’s latest, a self-published book about a girl with diabetes and a mother that is a hoarder, Doll Hearts.

Have you read What Happens Next or is this your first time hearing about it?

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Review: Doll Hearts – Colleen Clayton {+ a giveaway}

Review: Doll Hearts – Colleen Clayton {+ a giveaway}Doll Hearts by Colleen Clayton
Published: April 24, 2018
Buy on Amazon
Add to Goodreads
five-stars

17-year-old Julianne Bell’s life is caving in on her. Literally. Her mother is a hoarder and shopping addict whose retail drug of choice is collectible dolls. She also dabbles in lesser fixations like snow globes, commemorative plates, kitchen gadgets, and never-to-be-used exercise equipment. Their house is not a home but more a bizarro game of Garage Sale Tetris in which flea market finds, Amazon boxes, and QVC shipments are puzzled together in a labyrinth of consumer excess and looming bankruptcy. It’s a situation Julianne has grown adept at hiding. That is, until the day her school cafeteria account slips into the red. Meal-skipping is not an option for someone with Type 1 Diabetes, so when Julianne has a seizure in class, her father claims custody. Living with her dad and annoyingly perfect step-mom is not how Julianne planned to spend her summer, let alone her senior year. Needing fast cash to help her mom avoid foreclosure, Julianne takes a job at an amusement park, and as luck would have it, her former classmate—heartthrob Brandon Wright—also works there. Between sweeping up cigarette butts at the park, racing to solve her mom's personal and financial disasters, a medical condition that needs constant monitoring, and a budding romance, Julianne Bell’s messy life just got a whole lot messier.

Set against a summery backdrop of roller coasters, pool parties, and cute boys, DOLL HEARTS explores issues of obsessive-compulsive hoarding, family bonds, and first love.

I have been a fan of Colleen Clayton since I read her debut, What Happens Next, over 2 days in 2012. There was something about her writing style and storytelling ability that fit well with me. Since then I have been dying for something new from her (I mean What Happens Next is on like 65% of my Top Ten Tuesday posts because I love that book so much). Fast forward to March 2018 when I found out my dreams were about to come true, Colleen was self-publishing her sophomore novel Doll Hearts. Well let me tell you something…it was worth the almost 6 year wait! Doll Heart was just a fantastic book with the same charm as WHN and another cute boy to boot.

Doll Hearts is the story of Julianne Bell, a seemingly average high school student with Type 1 Diabetes. She goes out with friends, she has big plans for the summer, and she knows she wants to go to college. What the outside world doesn’t know about Julianne is that her mother is a hoarder. Her house is literally filled to the brim with gizmos and gadgets of plenty…and lots and lots of dolls.  Julianne goes above and beyond to hind her mother’s illness from everyone until something happens and her father finds out. Julianne is then forced to live with him and her step-mother and living a life she never wanted.

What I loved about Doll Hearts that the romance (even though it was awesome and had a cute boy) wasn’t what the story was about when you get down to it. Doll Hearts was about Julianne learning how to deal with the risks or her diabetes and her mother’s illness. It was about her learning when to let go and how to let people figure out what they need to do themselves. Her story with her mother was so heartbreaking. Julianne wanted to fix her mother so bad, but really she couldn’t. Her mother had to fix herself and nothing Julianne said or did would change that. That was the main point of the book and I think Colleen pulled that off with flying colors!

Doll Hearts was filled with so much emotion and love. It broke my heart and reminded me about what I loved in Colleen’s debut, What Happens Next. Corey Livingston and Sid still have my heart, but Julianne has carved out a nice sliver for herself. Buy this one people, you won’t be sorry! And now I’ll be back to begging Colleen for a 3rd book. 🙂

In celebration of this day I have been waiting for forever, I have some giveaways for you. First up I am giving away 3 Kindle copies of Doll Hearts and Colleen is giving away a Yankee Candle created with a Doll Hearts cover on it. The giveaway is for US ONLY and will end at 11:59pm on April 26th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also as a bonus, if you decide to review Doll Hearts by May 11th, fill out the below form for a chance to win a broad strokes critique on your Work in Progress up to 80k words. All genres are accepted and you will get a 3 to 5 page editorial letter commenting on plot, characterization, pacing, tension, dialogue, setting, etc.. Then marginal notes with sentence-level suggestions. No proofreading! Winner will be randomly selected from all entries and notified on May 14th.

Colleen has an MFA in fiction writing and has taught fiction writing at Kent State and Youngstown State. Her debut novel, What Happens Next was an Ohioana Book Award Finalist (State book award) and earned a Kirkus star.

You can follow Colleen here: Twitter || Instagram || Facebook

This is an opportunity you don’t want to miss!

Click on the banner below to fill out the Google form! This is open internationally. You just need to have an email account!

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Top Twelve Tuesday – Things I’m Thankful For: Author Edition

      colleenclayton veronicaroth laurenoliver trishdollerstephanieperkinssuzanneyoungbookshelf1    kasiewest rainbowrowell sarahockler mirandakenneally morganmatson tiffanyschmidt

Colleen Clayton/Veronica Roth/Lauren Oliver/Trish Doller/Stephanie Perkins/Suzanne Young/Kasie West/Rainbow Rowell/Sarah Ockler/Miranda Kenneally/Morgan Matson/Tiffany Schmidt

Please click on the book to purchase or find out more.
*Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
**Top Ten Tuesday photos made by me. If you would like to use it please give credit.

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Second Chance Sunday – What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton

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.

 

Second Chance Sunday – What Happens Next by Colleen ClaytonWhat Happens Next by Colleen Clayton
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Published: September 24th 2013
Buy on Amazon
Add to Goodreads
five-stars

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.

thoughts1

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.

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