99 Days by Katie Cotungo Review

Saturday, 20 June 2015
99 Days, by Katie Cotungo
Publication: April 21, 2015, by Balzer + Bray
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

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.

My Thoughts:

Bittersweet reads are my ultimate favourites. The ones that (HarperTeen usually publish) make me giggle with their oh-so-gorgeous covers? Yeah, those, I bet you know which I'm talking about! 99 Days is one of them, and it's probably my most anticipated read of 2015. Trust me, you can check my past lists—it's the real deal. After reading, I'm SO glad that I've devoured it at the right moment, at the right time. 

Katie Cotungo's books have always felt like stars that have fallen from the sky. You know, they're those rare things that you feel allowed to proclaim as "contemporary-romance," but yet again, they're not just classified as a specific genre—I see so much depth and specialty in her books that I can't ever forget them. This is just as good as How to Love. And instead of her teaching teenagers how to love in this book, she shows readers that it's difficult to love and to fall in love. You have to enjoy yourself and life to get through it all. 

"Kissing Gabe stokes a fire I didn't know I had in me; when I wake up the next morning it feels like everything's spilling open all of a sudden, like maybe this summer holds a silver of possibility in its pocket after all." (Hardcover, page 90)

Mmmm hmm... This goes for you, Molly.

It's been a while since I've read a romance that deals with a love-triangle dealt between a girl and two brothers. Actually, I can't even think of one at the top of my head. If this actually ends up being my first one, I must say that it was a total success. Instead of having that stupid social-group rivalry that happens in a high school setting, this is the real stuff, that summer read about seniors who are about to head into college. They don't want to fall in love since they believe that it's just not possible—long-distance relationships don't even work out in fiction—but it just happens because fate puts it in that way. Think of Sarah Dessen's books, but look beyond the picture, into a world where not everything comes from tragedy and mending a tragic past. This wasn't tragic whatsoever.

Molly Barlow is our sassy protagonist who has just graduated from an all-girls boarding school in Arizona, which she ran away to after her mom published a novel and the article hit People magazine. This book was all about the past that she had with the Donnelly boys, Gabe and Patrick. Now she's back for the summer, before she heads to college in Boston. No one in the Donnelly family wants to speak to Molly except for Gabe, but Patrick, her once-lover, still longs between the lines and she struggles to figure who she wants and for the right reason.

I LOVE THIS COVER SO MUCH. Polaroid cameras weren't a huge thing in this book, though... which kind of gets me second-guessing why the cover was meant to look like this, but whatever, it's so eye-worthy. I stare at it, and I swear I see it shimmering with its proper-posh sparkle. The writing has its own sparkles too, by the way, in case you were wondering. Cotungo throws me into the future of what love can be like for me, or even for anyone I know—where Molly and the Donnelly boys just seem to know how to do it right.

"I'd always known how Patrick's aloofness sometimes played to the outside world. It didn't look that way to me, though—after all, Patrick was my person, my other half. I never felt stuck or cut off or like there was other stuff I'd rather be doing, never felt like there was anyplace else I'd rather be. At least, not until the moment it did." (Hardcover, page 162-163)

Everything—every single moment while reading was spent with some kind of emotion to me. I hardly understand what the negativity that other individuals see is, but I'd rather keep those thoughts to myself since it's just not humanly possible to hate on this book. Yes, it did have a few issues, but it's all a summery read that left me feeling like I was in Patrick's backyard. I drifted into another world, their world, their lives, and never looked back until Cotungo's writing provoked my heart's skips. Everything, all of her writing comes from some literal genius, and it was that fluffy read that'll take me a while to forget about, if ever. When beginning it, I just sat there, reading for the entire sitting.

Harry's me while reading. Har dee har har. 

I want to have my own 99 days of summer, of awesome things happening, of completing bucket lists and having fun. The whole story left me feeling like I wanted to get up, head outside, scream my lungs out of joy and sit on the steps with a boy and lemonade. A girl can only dream, right? Molly had that chance, she could've made everything right. Her decisions were questionable and I kept face-palming myself (and the book) after wondering why she did the things she did. I get that her life is full of angst, stress and depression after her childish mistakes back in the past. She was adopted, her mother was a total bitch for writing a book about her fucking past with the boys around the corner, and she was stupid for even telling her mother everything in the end. After that People magazine incident, I would've grabbed the bags like she did and leave, never coming back. The family incident in this novel was horrible, but I guess that this was the point. Even take a look at the Donnellys—Connie was a horrible mother as well. 

I mean, I did have trouble seeing why Molly did what she did, mostly in the middle parts of the book. She was having too much fun to realize what the hell she was getting herself into? Then afterwards, readers find her bawling her eyes out because she doesn't have any friends. I guess things happen for a reason, no? 

Some would argue that the love triangle doesn't work for this occurrence and in Molly's life, but I'm staying on the positive side of this. Cotungo made something unpredictable and just about impossible possible. I had hope for one of the relationships to work out, (it doesn't matter which, but Patrick had grown to be my favourite) and the author just threw it all back at us in that crazy ending that came like a strike of lightening. Why didn't she have any regrets? 

From my viewpoint, this is what I call a romance novel that works. I imagine some authors turning this into an absolute catastrophe, but Katie is a master at these books, and i just can't wait to see what else she has in store for us. If you're a reader who doesn't get bothered by stupid decision-making protagonists and family issues, then you'll definitely be heading to your library and bookstore for a copy right away since you'll already read the review to here... Why am I even writing anymore? You've already gone to get a copy, I bet it. And if you're still here... what the heck?! Go live your own 99 days. 

OMG. Are there any other brother-brother-girl relationships that work in YA lit? Let me know, you obsessive romantics!


  1. I love how Cotugno shows the double standard in promiscuity/cheating when it comes to women and men. Men get a slap on the wrist and women get ridiculed and thrown so much hate at. Love is hard, and I DO love the cover as well. This book was a huge soap opera that I liked, but the ending disappointed me. Nice review!

    Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books

    1. OMG YESSSS! That's a definite point that many people don't realize, the same as if someone gets an one-night stand or hookup! Fist pumps for the guys and SO much hate on the girls? UGH. That's one issue that I need to stand up for more often. Haha, I totally agree with your soap opera comment! (Though it's definitely not some cheap cheesy one, hah.) I KNOWWW IT KIND OF WAS DISAPPOINTING. Cotungo just left us off like—that. :( Thanks, Rachel! :DD


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