Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Pub. Date: April 21, 2015
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "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."
Molly should be excited for her summer back home in the idyllic town of Star Lake, but she is dreading it. She hasn't been back since it happened. She hasn't even talked to her former best friend since she left for boarding school, mostly because she couldn't deal with it all. She has 99 days of summer vacation until she goes to college. How bad can it be? Actually, it can be pretty bad since the Donnellys, her ex-boyfriend's family, hate her and she feels betrayed by her mom, who seems to care more about writing her next bestseller than her own daughter's actual feelings. On her first week back, Julia Donnelly, her ex-boyfriend's sister, eggs her house and then she runs into her ex-boyfriend's brother, Gabe, which makes things even awkward, because he wants to hang out. Didn't he get the memo that she is an outcast this summer? Katie Cotugno's 99 Days is an emotional story. It's filled with a lot of drama, a lot of bad decisions, but more importantly, it's a tale about growing up and figuring things out for yourself.
Oh, Molly. I wanted to love you in 99 Days. Truly, I did. But she was kind of a really horrible person. She up and left her best friend without so much as a goodbye all because of some drama that went down with her ex-boyfriend. All of the drama is because of her though and her choices. I mean we all make mistakes though so I decided to give her a second chance. Plus, I did not like the horrible bullying that she was experiencing from so many of the mean girls in Star Lake, specifically, Julia. Man, I just wanted Molly to stand up for herself. To say, "That's enough!" However, she slowly gains confidence, but she was really put through the ringer.
So, I gave Molly a second chance, but honestly, I am still lukewarm about her despite all of this, not because of her initial catastrophic mistake, but because she kept making similar mistakes in 99 Days. I mean WOW. Did she not learn? She was finally making some progress with new friends in Star Lake and she just let her ex-boyfriend, Patrick, come back into her life and make waves. I desperately wanted her to break the vicious cycle, but sometimes in adolescence, it's tough to do that.
Gabe, Patrick's brother, convinces Molly to leave the comforts of her bedroom behind and actually start enjoying summer, so because of this, I liked Gabe in 99 Days. He's older, smart and I liked him a heck of a lot more than Patrick. But there's definitely a love triangle brewing here and one with brothers no less! So, cue all the drama.
What I thought Cotugno did really well was illustrate the issue with double standard in our society. A girl makes a mistake, specifically with cheating, and they are labeled a whore. A slut. And other horrible names. A guy does it and they get rewarded. A slap on the back and a high five. A guy doesn't get bullied like a girl does and that's the case in 99 Days. I mean it takes two to tango, right?
So, if you are looking for a drama filled book with a fantastic summertime setting that portrays first love and all of its complexities, definitely check out 99 Days. It was tough for me to read this book, because I wanted to literally reach through the pages and have a talk with Molly. But ultimately, I think Cotugno gets teenagers, betrayal and the fragility of the teenage heart, which she depicted beautifully.