Title: Call it What You Want
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Edition/Pages: E-book, 384 pages
I received an arc of this from Bloomsbury via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Maegan was a straight A student but is now known as “the cheater” since she was caught cheating on the SAT, causing her and 100 other student’s tests to be thrown out. And to add to the household tension, her sister has just come home from college pregnant.
Rob was always the big guy on campus. But after his dad was turned in for stealing money from his clients, he’s become a social outcast. At home, Rob is also responsible for taking care of his comatose father who lived after attempting to take his own life.
The two are teamed up for a math project and realize they’ve both been looking for someone to talk to. As they grow close, they try to make amends for all the dark secrets they’re hiding.
This book is told in dual perspective from the POV of Maegan and Rob. This book is packed to the brim with lots of difficult topics (taking care of a comatose parent, familial & school pressures, and loads more). So definitely make sure you’re in a head space to handle a heavy book before going into this one.
Content Warnings: Embezzlement, Attempted Suicide, Cheating (school), Bullying, Teen Pregnancy, Abuse, PTSD (never directly stated)
What I Liked
- Mr. London. He was hands down my favorite character in this book (and the only one who didn’t drive me up a wall).
- I thought the relationship between Rob and Maegan was well written and realistic. I appreciated that they supported each other when they had no one else to rely on.
- The sisterly bond between Sam and Maegan was really well written. They bickered and didn’t always see eye to eye, but they always had each other’s best interest at heart. It felt like such a realistic portrayal of siblings. And I definitely wanted to slow clap when Maegan stood up to the professor.
What I Didn’t Like
- My number one grip with this book was the sheer over-the-top dramatics. Like there was never a single moment of relief throughout this. It was just terrible choice after terrible choice. And to make it even worse it wasn’t just the teens being train wrecks – it was every adult too. But the end I was so exhausted and frustrated. It just felt like way too much. The reader is dragged in so many directions and into so many problems that I personally never connected or cared about any of them. Because there was always another disastrous thing happening. I needed this to focus on one big thing rather than taking on: teen pregnancy, embezzlement, child abuse, bullying, cheating, familial pressures, poverty, attempted suicide, etc. It was all just too much.
- I HATED that her pregnant sister gets drunk at high school party and then it is never discussed again. Like everything’s cool. It was not okay and it made me really angry.
This was overall just not for me. This book was heavy, but not in a way that I enjoyed. I can definitely appreciate that there were important topics discussed in this – and if these are something you’re interested in reading about, this may work for you! But overall I felt like this book took on too much.