Monday, May 7, 2018

9 Days and 9 Nights by Katie Cotugno

9 Days and 9 Nights by Katie Cotugno
Release Date - May 1, 2018
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages -  272 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received from publisher for an honest review**

**potential spoilers for 99 Days**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
The irresistible sequel to the bestselling 99 Days.

Molly Barlow isn’t that girl anymore. A business major at her college in Boston, she’s reinvented herself after everything that went down a year ago . . . after all the people she hurt and the family she tore apart.

Slowly, life is getting back to normal. Molly has just said “I love you” to her new boyfriend, Ian, and they are off on a romantic European vacation together, starting with scenic London. But there on a Tube platform, the past catches up to her in the form of Gabe, her ex, traveling on his own parallel vacation with new girlfriend Sadie.

After comparing itineraries, Ian ends up extending an invite for Gabe and Sadie to join them on the next leg of their trip, to Ireland. Sadie, who’s dying to go there, jumps at the prospect. And Molly and Gabe can’t bring themselves to tell the truth about who they once were to each other to their new significant others.

Now Molly has to spend nine days and nine nights with the boy she once loved, the boy whose heart she shredded, without Ian knowing. Will she make it through as new, improved Molly, or will everything that happened between her and Gabe come rushing back?
Having a sequel to a book you thought was a standalone always comes with mixed feelings. There is excitement to be returning to the world and characters you love, but also some nervousness that it won't live up to the original. I had these exact feelings when it was announced that Katie Cotugno would be releasing a follow up to 99 Days. It turns out that I need not have worried. It's a story that embraces its characters and more than pays tribute to the book that came before it.

Molly Barlow is a character that ignited some strong reactions. She's a flawed female character who made some pretty large mistakes and she was certainly judged for them by both the other characters in the book and readers. Society judges women more harshly for their mistakes and this fact was showcased in 99 Days. Gabe is treated quite differently for the same actions that Molly committed. She is vilified while his transgression garners not much more than a shrug. This sequel shows how Molly keeps paying for the mistakes she made and having to face the unbalanced consequences of those actions.

This novel looks at learning to accept all parts of yourself, including the messy parts you may not be proud of all of the time. It is about being comfortable with being yourself. If this story has a message at its heart it is the beauty of being yourself. Molly has grown, but that doesn't mean she has to be someone she isn't to be worthy. It's a message that I found uplifting and affirming because it tells everyone that they are enough. They can be exactly who they are and be accepted.

There is a background element of wanderlust that thrums throughout the novel. The book makes you itch to create some memories of your own while trekking around Europe. There is something romantic and whimsical about some of the places Molly's journey takes her to. I appreciated that this is a travel book that doesn't always feel like one. It is background element to the story and it is the characters that are the main focus. It doesn't let the destinations drive the story, bur rather allows the characters to.

The awkwardness of the love square that Katie Cotugno has set up is pitch perfect. The secrets being held create this bond between Gabe and Molly that is undeniable. The fact that both Ian and Sadie are decent people make the situation even more uncomfortable. The entire situation showcases the growth that Molly has gone through while still acknowledging the mistakes she still needs to learn from. It's a well written look at a situation filled with complex relationships. It could have easily been written in a way that made it not work, but Katie Cotugno's writing ensures it comes together perfectly.

This feels like a much more fitting ending to Molly and Gabe's story. It's a bittersweet look at forgiveness and the hope of second chances. It's just as complex, messy, and thought provoking as Katie Cotugno's other books and one that I predict her fans will love. 

1 comment:

  1. I always have mixed feelings about sequels to books I thought were going to be standalones, but it sounds like this was nice, since it gave you a more satisfying ending. This sounds great, I'll have to get a copy of 99 Days. Great review!


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