Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Release Date: April 21st, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Drama, YA
Source: Received in exchange for review
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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.
Well. I have absolutely no idea how I’m going to review this. There is so little I can say without spoiling, but I’m going to try regardless. 99 Days is about Molly Barlow, who returns to Star Lake after spending some time elsewhere. She is not happy to be back, especially since just about everyone seems to hate her. The reason for that is that she did some… stupid things a while back. (I have to be vague about this, sorry guys.) And now she’s back, and she’s confused, and while she doesn’t know it yet, things are going to get messy.
What you have to know about 99 Days before going in is that it’s a controversial read. And I mean controversial. Molly is not a perfect protagonist. She screws up a lot and she’s a mess and confused and as a result makes a lot of mistakes. Some people will find the mistakes she makes unforgivable, will probably hate this book for it. Others, while not liking the choices she makes, might understand her, maybe even feel for her, and just might end up liking or even loving this book. But whatever camp you fall in, you are going to have a reaction to this book. It’s impossible not to have one. 99 Days is… something else entirely.
The characters? Well, you are probably going to end up not liking most of them. But that’s sort of the point. They’re real people, they’re messy, they make so many mistakes. Sometimes the same ones. Sometimes they don’t learn from the past, sometimes they do. They keep quiet about things and get angry and screw up time and time again. And it’s not just needless drama, or at least, most of the time it isn’t. This is something that happens. Most people aren’t happy about it, but it does happen, and I’ve rarely seen it reflected in fiction.
As for the plot… Most of it I can’t tell you – you really have to discover that for yourself. But aside from all the drama, it’s also a coming-of-age story. Molly has no idea what she wants with her life – what she wants to major in, who she really is. She’s unsure of herself in so many ways. But throughout the story, she slowly starts to get stronger, more confident. She finally figures out what she wants. I really liked seeing that change in her because I could connect to so much of it – I’m not always all that confident, I don’t know what I want to study yet. It’s refreshing to see characters who have no idea what they want to do instead of all those MC’s who’ve known they want to be a doctor/a writer/an actress/a whatever practically since they were born. Of course, those people exist, but I really like seeing the more unsure characters too.
In the end, there is little I can say about 99 Days without spoiling you. Just know that it’s controversial, different, new. I personally liked it because of it, but this is going to be a polarizing read for sure. There will be plenty of people who will hate this, as there will be plenty of people who’ll love this. It’s perhaps not the easiest to read, or the most fun, but I really liked it nonetheless. 99 Days is something different entirely.
~Thank you Balzer + Bray for the review copy!~
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