BOOK REVIEW: Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer

BOOK REVIEW: Call It What You Want by Brigid KemmererCall It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer
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Synopsis:

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...

This captivating, heartfelt novel asks the question: Is it okay to do something wrong for the right reasons?

 

**ARC sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review**

I won’t lie to you guys-I begged for this book. It wasn’t classy. It wasn’t dignified. And it was honestly a bit pathetic-but IT WAS TOTALLY WORTH IT. This book? It’s gold. I loved every minute of it.

I was sitting in Tennessee, on vacation, and legitimately had zero time to read. My daughter has always been a peculiar sleeper, and the circumstances of our vacation led to my husband and I’s sanity to be tested. She’s turning two this month-don’t make me cry-and really only began sleeping in her own crib every night in October. It was a miracle-I never have questioned it, and I refuse to look back. But, that being said, we have finally gotten used to sleeping alone again, and it’s glorious, to be honest. What’s not glorious? Sharing a bed with your now used-to-her-own-bed toddler.

To say we got no sleep? Yeah. VASTLY downplayed. SO, seeing as I got a beautiful physical ARC (I took three physical ARCs, don’t know WHAT I was thinking) I was SOL when it came to speed reading at night as I’ve come accustomed to again. But, luckily, my saint of a husband offered to help her nap every day, and I got to read for two hours or so every day off and on, pending my family’s interruptions (there were aplenty)(and let’s be clear-he only offered this because it was MY family and who doesn’t need a break from in-laws lol he’s no saint. I lie).

That being said-I picked this book up and DEVOURED IT in less than three days. Quite a feat, if you ask me, what with all the interruptions and no time to read! But that’s the power of a Kemmerer book-you know you’re in for a morally gray and addicting ride.

I fell so hard for Rob, because how can you not fall for one of this woman’s main leading men? She creates the most tortured and lonely souls I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet, and I love what she did with his character. I literally had to question every motive, every move, every play-yet never wholly disagreed with what he did. That’s a true author-to make you wonder whether something is right or wrong, yet never telling you if it is or isn’t. In all honesty, he was wrong. Every time. But then you would hear his reasoning, see it through his eyes. Live it like he did-and I found myself saying [almost every time] I’d have done that. But that’s the ambiguity of it-It’s for you to decide, and she didn’t make it easy. Each character in this story has a difficult decision to face every day, and I loved reading about these confused and lost souls.

Rob’s father screwed everyone in town over that invested with him, making Rob seem guilty by association since he interned there. Either way, he’s now a social pariah when he used to be the most popular guy in school (it sounds familiar, but it’s done oh so well!). And his home life? It’s terribly sad and without a doubt broke my heart every time he was home or talked/thought about it. Then we have Maegan. ‘Typical overachiever’ and now an outcast besides her best friend. Caught in a scandal and compromising other students in the process, she is deemed lowest of the low, just after one simple mistake when, before, she was simply dubbed a goody-two shoes.

One mistake can change your whole life, the way you’re viewed, and can influence each new decision you have to make, and we get to see what the aftermath is like for both someone who made a one-time mistake that marred their chances of getting into ANY college when they were a shoe-in before, and someone who didn’t do anything wrong, nor know anything about it, yet pays the steady cost of betrayal every day, both at school and, more devastatingly, in his own home.

I always love the star-crossed lover books where a popular guy is paired with an unpopular girl, or vice versa, on a project, so this was right up my alley. Except, here, we have two totally different social groups coming together…but they’re both now outcasts, and I loved the twist on that trope I love so much. And, even more than that, I love that Kemmerer could explore trust among two ‘wrongdoers’, along with betrayal, friendship, attraction-and standing up for what you believe to be right. I loved it. It’s all so convoluted and twisty and turny in the sense that Maegan doesn’t know what to think about Rob, whether he was involved or not, and where his morality is questioned as he finds himself turning into a modern day Robin Hood.

The family relationships and friendships were handled well, in my opinion, and I even thought it was well rounded out…I’m never tough on these situations, though. So long as there is a conflict, characters fighting-both together and separately-to figure out a solution, a resolution to said conflict, and a general mending and moving forward of severed relationships in result to the conflict, I’m happy. And I don’t need the dwelling on it, either, which is where people get mad. They want to hear more, see more, expect more…but it’s YA and relationships are messy-especially with family-people are just too harsh. But to each their own.

There was even a HUGE trigger issue in this book, for me, and it was handled as well and as authentically as I think it could be-that being said, I was satisfied. (view spoiler), thus, a trigger. Literally my only complaint but not really complaint? I wanted a LITTLE more in the epilogue. More HFN than HEA, but I loved it all the same.

So, once again Kemmerer proves why I love her so dearly and makes me a loyal slave and follower. Don’t even question when this comes out if I’ll have it on my shelf-it’s already preordered. And you should do so, too.

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4 Comments

  1. I’m so glad that your begging worked and that the book is just as good as you were hoping it would be! Kemmerer is definitely one of my favorite authors!
    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction recently posted…Bite-Sized Reviews of Geekerella, Peasprout Chen: Future Legend of Skate and Sword, and The Crossover and ReboundMy Profile

  2. Chelsea I also begged for that book because it was only ‘wish for it” for me! So I mailed the publisher directly and …I got it! It was my first ARC that I got directly from a publisher. I was so happy! I loved it too. The review is already written and will be published on GR in the coming days. I will publish closer to the release date on the blog. I am so happy that you loved it.

  3. OMG, I’m so excited for this book! I feel a bit jealous but I’m glad you loved it! It sounds like a wonderful read! Can’t wait to get my hands on it! 🙂
    Raven recently posted…Lady Smoke (Ash Princess Trilogy #2) By Laura Sebastian [Review]My Profile

  4. Interesting. This one is coming up soon for me, and I loved Kemmerer’s other contemporaries, so I was excited to get my hands on this. So glad it delivered in the way her pervious books have. She really does relationships well and creates amazing characters.
    Sam@wlabb recently posted…Discussion: It’s Stressing Me Out!My Profile

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