Review: Fireworks – Katie Cotugno

Review: Fireworks – Katie CotugnoFireworks by Katie Cotugno
Published by Balzer + Bray
Published: April 11th 2017
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It was always meant to be Olivia. She’s the talented one, the one who’s been training to be a star her whole life. Her best friend, Dana, is the levelheaded one, always on the sidelines, cheering Olivia on.

But everything changes when Dana tags along with Olivia to Orlando for the weekend, where superproducer Guy Monroe is holding auditions for a new singing group, and Dana is discovered too. Dana, who’s never sung more than Olivia’s backup. Dana, who wasn’t even looking for fame. Next thing she knows, she and Olivia are training to be pop stars, and Dana is falling for Alex, the earnest, endlessly talented boy who’s destined to be the next big thing.

It should be a dream come true, but as the days of grueling practice and constant competition take their toll, things between Olivia and Dana start to shift . . . and there’s only room at the top for one girl. For Olivia, it’s her chance at her dream. For Dana, it’s a chance to escape a future that seems to be closing in on her. And for these lifelong best friends, it’s the adventure of a lifetime—if they can make it through.

Set in evocative 1990s Orlando, Fireworks brings to life the complexity of friendship, the excitement of first love, and the feeling of being on the verge of greatness.

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.

Sometimes you pick up a book and you just don’t know how it is going to go for you. You’ve read books by the author and enjoyed one and was conflicted on the other. You like the premise but know it has the potential to go in a different direction than you expect. Because of these things you are almost scared to pick up the book. This was me with Fireworks. I was worried how I would feel about it. I was scared I wouldn’t love it. I was scared I would be disappointed or conflicted. Instead I got one of my favorite books of the year. Simply put…it was freaking fantastic.

There was so much I loved about Fireworks. The setting, the characters, the romance, the friendship, the plot, the writing. I loved it all and I loved it all because it meshed flawlessly together. As soon as I started reading and realized these girls would technically be my age now, I was sucked in. Then I got the the ‘boy band’ part and I was transported to the 90s. Then I got to the romance and I swooned. And finally I got to the heartache of strained friendships and I bawled. The book was magical in its beautiful woven parts and made me a fan for life.

I really can’t even find the words to tell you how genuinely in love I am with Fireworks. It was a book that just got me. I felt a connection to it and I just can’t explain why. It wasn’t what I expected yet it was what I wanted and more. Another must read in 2017.

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Blog Tour: 99 Days – Katie Cotugno (giveaway)

Blog Tour: 99 Days - Katie Cotugno (giveaway)

Blog Tour: 99 Days – Katie Cotugno (giveaway)99 Days by Katie Cotugno
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.

quote199 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.

quote2The 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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Katie Cotugno went to Catholic school for thirteen years which makes her, as an adult, both extremely superstitious and prone to crushes on boys wearing blazers. She routinely finds herself talking about the romantic endeavors of characters on TV shows as if they actually exist in the world.
Katie is a Pushcart Prize nominee whose work has appeared in The Broadkill Review, The Apalachee Review, and Argestes, as well as on Her first novel, HOW TO LOVE, is due out from Balzer + Bray on October 1st, 2013.
The great loves of Katie’s life include child’s pose, her little sister, and mozzarella and honey sandwiches. She lives in Boston (and in sin) with her boyfriend, Tom.


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