Saturday, June 22, 2019

YA ARC Review: Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer

Call It What You Want
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Publication: Bloomsbury YA (June 25, 2019)

Description: New York Times bestselling author Brigid Kemmerer pens a new emotionally compelling story about two teens struggling in the space between right and wrong.

When his dad is caught embezzling funds from half the town, Rob goes from popular lacrosse player to social pariah. Even worse, his father's failed suicide attempt leaves Rob and his mother responsible for his care.

Everyone thinks of Maegan as a typical overachiever, but she has a secret of her own after the pressure got to her last year. And when her sister comes home from college pregnant, keeping it from her parents might be more than she can handle.

When Rob and Maegan are paired together for a calculus project, they're both reluctant to let anyone through the walls they've built. But when Maegan learns of Rob's plan to fix the damage caused by his father, it could ruin more than their fragile new friendship . . .

In her compulsively readable storytelling, Brigid Kemmerer pens another captivating, heartfelt novel that asks the question: Is it okay to do something wrong for the right reasons?

My Thoughts: This was an excellent, readable, angst-filled YA contemporary story about two kids who are both dealing with trauma.

Rob has become a social pariah at his high school since his father was arrested for embezzling millions of dollars from the people he was supposed be investing money for. If that wasn't enough, a failed suicide attempt has left him brain-damaged and helpless with only his wife and son to take care of him. He doesn't have any friends since his childhood best friend Connor has dropped him. Of course, Connor is also the son of his parents' friends and Connor's father is the one who turned Rob's father in.

Maegan was an A-student taking all sorts of AP classes when a moment of pressure caused her to cheat on the SATs which ended up invalidating the scores of all the people who took the exam with her. Now she has the reputation of being a cheat following her around. When her older sister comes home from Duke pregnant and not willing to name the father to their parents and not knowing what she is going to do, the pressure gets even greater. Her sister has shared her secrets with Maegan but swore her not to tell their parents.

Then the Calculus teacher decides to pair up Rob and Maegan for a class project and the two get to know each other. And Rob gets to know Owen who is a poor kid whose mother got taken in by his dad's schemes. And Maegan has a falling out with her best friend Rachel and Rachel's boyfriend Drew.

It seems like every page is filled with drama and moral dilemmas in this page-turning story. Fans of emotional drama will adore this one.

Favorite Quote:
After a moment, I consider that Owen is still silently sitting across from me with his sad little bag of chips and his orange.

He must see my eyes on his food, because he says, "So, my plan was to get all the snacks in one day, and then have a side dish for my cheese sandwich."

"Good plan."

"Yeah, well, the lady guarding the lunch line disagrees. She said I should have been more judicious with my money."

He says this without emotion, like he's discussing the weather, but it lights a fire of anger inside me. It's not like the lunch lady personally buys the bread and the cheese.
I received this review copy from Bloomsbury. You can buy your copy here.

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