ARC Review: Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer


Call It What You Want
Series: None
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Published July 1st 2019 by Bloomsbury YA

Goodreads 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?

I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way impacted on my view.

First things first, don't you just love it when you discover an author and she already has 10+ books under her belt? That's how I felt when I read my first book by Brigid (A Curse So Dark and Lonely), and all of them that I've read since, this being the latest, have been fantastic! In Call It What You Want, both of our main characters have had difficulties in the past year, and face anger at school and in life in general. Rob's father was revealed to be embezzling from his financial company 9 months ago, and had swindled most of the town out of their retirement or savings accounts. Rob Sr had also attempted to kill himself, but failed, leaving him in a vegetative state, with Rob and his mam having to care for him. Maegan, on the other hand, was caught cheating on her SATs last year, which led to the whole school's scores being invalidated, and she's now a social outcast at school. She's also facing being the 'imperfect one' at home, even though her sister has just returned from uni with the news that she's pregnant. When students are forced to pair off in Calculus for a class project, both Rob and Maegan are faced with the fact that no-one else wants to work with them, so are grouped together. At first, it's awkward, but as both begin to realise that neither has a very good social life, and with the other they can be truthful and honest about themselves, soon their tentative friendship grows into something more.

I loved this book, and am so glad I decided to pick it up before I went back to work, else it would've got in the way of planning, etc., which would not have been good. Both of the main characters, and the secondary characters, such as Oliver, Samantha, and Mr London, were fantastic, well rounded people - though I shouldn't be surprised with how good an author Brigid is. The romance was beautiful. It wasn't without it's tense moments, or it's angst, but it was real, and it was when both Rob and Maegan's true characters really shined. Without their parent's or society's glare on them, we see them as real people, and I think this may be one of my favourite YA contemporary ships that I've ever read.

Yes, there was a love story in the book, but all of the angst and tension came from the extortion, the cheating, the pregnancy, and the fact that both characters felt so alone, but soon found the people who they could be themselves with - not just each other. The plot line was outstanding, with some of the elements ones that I hadn't seen coming - no spoilers - and I adored the ending, which definitely tied everything up. I'll definitely be ordering any of Brigid's books that I haven't got already, and she's definitely on my auto-buy list now!

Dates Read:
August 29-30, 2019

5 Stars

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