by Katie Cotugno
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (April 21, 2015)
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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.Allured from the second I read the synopsis, I couldn't wait to dive in to 99 Days. Although the story might not be totally moral, this book was just so addictive. I know that there are going to be two groups of people: those who love it and those who absolutely hate it. Fortunately I find myself in the "love it" group.
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. "For what it's worth, Molly Barlow," he says, "I'm really glad you're back."
Day 12: Gabe wouldn't quit till he got me to come to this party, and I'm surprised to find 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.
99 Days really pulls at my fidelity beliefs, so at first it was a bit hard to overcome it and enjoy the story. This book contains basically the most messed-up love triangle ever, yet I somehow grew obsessed with it. This story is really gritty and emotional and messy. The characters in this book are so deeply flawed. The relationships are so tangled and fractured. The drama of it all was so enticing, I was totally caught up in everything that was happening. These characters make lots of mistakes, horrible mistakes. The romance was pretty smoldering although confusing. I shipped Gabe and Molly since the beginning, and I loved watching them fall for each other.
Although I didn't agree with most of Molly's decisions, I sympathized for the girl. I could connect with her. I understand the reasons behind her actions along with those of the other characters. Molly's ambivalence aggravated me so much. Just choose darn it. I loved how well I could see the feelings and ties between the characters, especially between Gabe, Molly, and Patrick. I understood why she loved both of them and the whole Donnelly family.
This book really draws you in, it sinks its claws into your mind and makes you continue reading and after you're done, 99 Days has you thinking about it. For a contemporary that's confused as being light and is truly dark, this one sure hits on some tough subjects.
Cotugno writes a story with a very clear message. She shows the double-standard that women are held to and men are not. Everyone spurns Molly for her cheating with Gabe while dating the other brother, Patrick. The people in their small town don't criticize or rebuke Gabe at all. Another great theme that Cotugno shares is new beginnings. Molly frets over what everyone in her small town thinks of her until she realizes that it doesn't matter. There's a whole new world out there for her where no one cares about her past. It's about second chances.
I advise giving this book a chance. It's a compelling read about real life that you might enjoy as I did.