Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Review: 99 Days by Katie Cotugno

Tuesday, December 16, 2014 with 7 comments
Title: 99 Days
Author: Katie Cotugno
Series: n/a
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: April 21, 2015
Source: received from publisher via Edelweiss
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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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.

I'm just going to get to the point straightaway: there probably won't be many in-betweeners on this one. 99 Days is a book that you're likely to either love or loathe, depending on your stance on cheating and love triangles and how open-minded you are to either concept. I don't particularly enjoy reading about these things, but I'm not opposed to reading for great writing, despite what happens in the story. And I really, really liked How to Love, so I knew I had to give this book a chance.

I'm really glad I didn't let ideas that make me uncomfortable keep me from picking up this story. 99 Days was genuine, gritty, and realistic. It was complicated. It was messy. But there's so much more to the story than just cheating. It also explores society's tendency to automatically assume the girl is at fault when something like this happens, to start with the insults and end with harassment while the guy sees no punishment for his actions. This book also features a unique mother-daughter relationship that was painful to read about and probably much worse to endure in real life.

Every single character in this book is just so flawed. I don't think you're necessarily supposed to like them, but I actually found that I did, even if I didn't always (read: ever) agree with their choices and actions. But I get it. At eighteen, you don't always make the best decisions. I know I didn't. I always feel the need to divulge too much when a story likes this comes along, but I'm going to refrain from that now. Instead, I just think it crucial to point out that many of us have made mistakes of this proportion, even if they weren't necessary of this caliber. Also, everyone deserves a second chance.

The relationships in this book are just as complicated as the characters in them. From the flawed mother-daughter relationship I mentioned earlier to the brother triangle the main character finds herself in, these characters have issues. I appreciated that self-deprecating Molly was able to acknowledge in the end that it wasn't just her own actions that resulted in her current circumstances but a culmination of hers and those that loved her. She started this book out so miserable and alone, and even though the ending was rather bittersweet -- but entirely of her own making -- I still smiled at the fact that Molly was getting her second chance.

99 Days was a hard book to read but also a very difficult story to put down. There's just something so addicting in reading about someone else's misery, especially when it's so relatable. It's hard to look away from something like that, and this story is no different. It's not even 2015 yet, and this book has already made my favorites list for the year.

GIF it to me straight:

About the author:

Katie Cotugno went to Catholic school for thirteen years which makes her, as an adult, both extremely superstitious and prone to crushes on boys wearing blazers. She routinely finds herself talking about the romantic endeavors of characters on TV shows as if they actually exist in the world.

Katie is a Pushcart Prize nominee whose work has appeared in The Iowa Review, The Broadkill Review, The Apalachee Review, and Argestes, as well as on Nerve.com. Her first novel, HOW TO LOVE, is out now from Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins. 99 DAYS will follow next spring.

The great loves of Katie's life include child's pose, her little sister, and mozzarella and honey sandwiches. She lives in Boston with her husband, Tom.

Find Katie:

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Tumblr


  1. How to Love was such an enigma to me. I don't know if I could love this one; I'll most likely won't because of those two detestable tropes you just mentioned. I'm glad you mentioned it, though. Because now, I'll at least know to stay away from this book. :)

    Thanks, Jen.

    1. Aw, well now I kind of wish I hadn't mentioned it so you might give it a try. I just love how Cotugno writes these complex characters who make really bad judgment calls, tropes or not.

  2. I'm kind of like you in regards to cheating and love triangles. They don't bother me so much if the story and writing are really good. I'll have to check this one out, and I still need to read How to Love!

    1. Yay, I'm so glad to know I'm not the only one. Feels like everyone is so put off by them that they won't even give a decent book a chance.

  3. So happy you loved this, Jen. I know this book isn't for me so I will be staying away. But I do love Cotugno's writing and I admire an author who can write flawed characters and make their stories real and uncomfortable. Lovely review!

  4. I'm so glad you loved this one! The premise is interesting and I love that it's gritty and realistic and messy. JUST MY TYPE OF BOOK :D Lovely review <33

  5. I agree some books are just love it or hate it and I know I will loathe this book so I'm staying away. Glad you enjoyed it though and that the writing was good. I can look past a little bit of cheating and love triangles but not one between brothers with back and forth through the whole book. I'll kill someone. So I'm skipping this.


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