Call It What You Want – Brigid Kemmerer

Release date: 1 July 2019
Goodreads link
Book Depository link
Rating4.5 stars

Call It What You Want blurb:

Rob had it all, but when his dad was caught embezzling funds from half the town, everything changed. Now Rob’s the social pariah who lost everything – his friends, his status, even his family.

Maegan was a typical overachiever until the pressure got to her last year. And now that her sister is pregnant, pretending to be a “perfect” family might be too much to handle.

When Rob and Maegan are paired together at school, they’re both reluctant to let down the walls they’ve built. But Rob’s plan to fix the damage caused by his father could ruin more than their fragile new friendship…

I tore through this book, reading it pretty quickly (considering I can’t really sit down at the moment). It’s the first contemporary Brigid Kemmerer book I’ve read and I was eagerly anticipating this one after absolutely loving A Curse So Dark and Lonely earlier this year.

So, this is the story of Rob and Maegan, and how they try and pull their lives back together after tumultuous events. But it’s more than that as well. It’s a story about teens figuring out what’s right and what’s wrong, and how to deal with the grey in between.

This is a very character driven novel. On one hand you have Rob who is suffering intensely for a mistake that wasn’t his fault, and on the other you have Maegan who is suffering, yet not as much as Rob, for a mistake that IS her fault. Both of them are blaming themselves, and then a way that could fix things is put in front of one of them. But in order to fix it, they have to become something that they aren’t.

The way Kemmerer writes these characters is so intense that you really feel their motivations. You understand why they are making these decisions. As an adult, I know what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’, but they both make really compelling arguments for why they are doing or have done things. Kemmerer really pushes that grey middle-ground, and in a way, questions why things are the way that they are. Especially once it’s all revealed that no one has all the facts. The story throws the entire ‘morals vs beliefs’ concept into the forefront and really debates each side. And it’s not even ‘beliefs’ that the characters are arguing against, it’s more of a questions of what is fair, and is there justice?

Even apart from this fantastically in-depth debate, the characters were amazing. They were well written, they felt real, and I cried along with their pain. I loved Maegan and Rob as separate entities, with their own struggles; and I also loved how they started to learn about each other. They were adorable. Their families and friends were adorable. I especially loved Mr London.

Overall, this book delivered more than what I was expecting. It questioned things that I thought I knew, and it gave me two more teens that I want to look over.

 


I received a finished copy of this from Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review.

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