By Katie Cotugno
Average Ratingl 3.42
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.
There are lots of mixed feelings about this novel. I can say I definitely have a more positive outlook on this novel than most.
I don’t know why I like this book so much. Maybe it’s because I read Cotugno’s first novel, How to Love and absolutely loved it. I own the book and I’ve been rereading it ever since, but I don’t know why I even picked up the novel in the first place. You can already tell by the blurb that there will be a love triangle. And the thing is? I despise love triangles. I hate them with a passion. I roll my eyes, I groan in frustration, the whole dang package, but I ended up reading this novel and rated it three and half stars…
I’m not going back on my claim that I hate love triangles. I do and I always will. However, this book is a riveting tale about betrayal, self-image, and the main thing, love. In the same fashion of How to Love, Cotugno tackles a taboo subject. This one: cheating. Even just typing the word gets me angry. Cheating is shitty. Cheating is not okay.
I’m not saying 99 Days made cheating okay. Let’s get that straight. It’s not and it never will be. What 99 Days did was give it perspective. Cotugno wrote such an eye-opening and painful tale about the consequences of cheating and how you can rise above this crappy thing human beings do to one another. She explored this subject with a character that you couldn’t help but sympathize with but at the same time, be utterly angry with when she continued to make the same stupid mistakes. The writing and the powerful story-telling is what really made this novel decent enough for me not to hate and ultimately the reason why this has such a good rating even though it really shouldn’t.
Molly Barlow did something unforgivable and for a whole year no one knew..until she told her mom, who wrote a book about it. Her whole town shunned her, Patrick left her and Gabe left unscathed. She went to a boarding school to finish her last year and escape her mistakes. Now, it’s the summer and she’s back in her home town and she has to face the brothers that she destroyed the lives of.
First things first. Her mom did a horrible thing invading her privacy like that. It completely ruined Molly and that is NOT what she needed when she confided in her own mother. Any crappy thing you could think could happen to a character? That is exactly what happened to Molly. Hence why the sympathy (and pity) points were given. As a reader I couldn’t help but feel this sliver of sympathy for Molly but for the most part, I was so so angry with her decision-making. I wanted to yell at Molly for being so dang stupid. Up to this day, I still haven’t met a character this stupid before.
Now, Gabe. The brother who evidently hooked up with his younger brother’s girlfriend. That is such a messed up sentence and shouldn’t happen in real life. I find with this novel, it gave Cotugno the opportunity to set an atmosphere and story that reflects the painful reality of cheating. The problem is, I think Gabe is perfect for her. While reading, I saw how different, calm and content she was when she was with Gabe. Gabe is a socialite and loves crowd whereas Patrick keeps more to himself. Gabe took her out of her comfort zone and I think that benefited Molly more than her relationship with Patrick. With the use of flashbacks, Cotugno shows us Molly’s past relationship with Patrick. Patrick is her first love, but Gabe is her forever. This love triangle emphasized the cold, hard truth that sometimes you are just better off without that person you love. Some things aren’t meant to be and this story exposed that.
The one thing that has not been tainted by any uncertainty and hate but has captivated me instead was the format of this novel. The title is called 99 Days and each chapter is one day, so in total there were 99 chapters. I thought it was so cool how Cotugno did this and it didn’t feel long. Creativity points goes to you Katie! Sadly, that is the only thing that I can 100% approve on.
Would I recommend this book? Maybe. This novel is different. As a love triangle hater, I can say that if you are just like me, you may or may not enjoy this book. I only liked it because of the themes underlined and the beauty of the story. Everyone is different, but I did give this a try despite my hardcore dislike for love triangles and cheating. I’d say give it a try to those who’ve read How to Love because you might appreciate the story more if you liked her take on teen pregnancy in that novel.
99 Days is definitely a novel that some people can read and some that can’t. There really isn’t an in-between. It addresses some controversial issues and does have a bittersweet ending. It’s different and I can accept that.
Keep calm and read on,