Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer

Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer
Release Date - June 25, 2019
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books/Bloomsbury
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  384 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the 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?
You never know what someone might be struggling with or facing behind the persona they present in public. There is always more to the story than the rumours that swirl, and the truth is usually different than you think it is. Call It What You Want To looks at the ways in which we don't really see others, the ways in which we hide things from others, and how our mistakes don't need to define who we are.

Rob and Maegan, much like all of Kemmerer's other characters, are complex and authentic. They are, for me, a perfect example of what characters in a young adult novel should feel like. They are dealing with issues and problems that are just as complex as they are and that radiates through the characterization. There isn't a perfect solution or answer to the things they are facing. There is no right way to act in their situations and that makes for some interesting, and dynamic relationships. Even though they are going through some pretty adult circumstances these characters always feel like the teenagers they are. They cannot do this alone and that is evident throughout the entire book. There are adults who are there to help them. It was nice to see teen characters not having to deal with everything on their own.

This is about that is partially about mistakes and the ways in which they can define us, but also how the perception of others defines us. Rob's painted with the actions of his father and begins to act out to become what everyone says he is. Maegan made a mistake and is dealing with how it changed people's perspective of her and carrying that with her going forward. It paints these characters and their actions as neither good nor bad. It's this murky middle ground where things are not so easily definable and that resonates into the entire premise of the story.

The theme of things not being black and white weaves itself into all the side characters as well. There are a few characters who could have been cliches. They could have easily been one note villains but care was taken to show them as just as complex and layered as the story around them. People are not all one thing and sometimes perspective matters. The book asks if you can do the wrong thing for the right reason and that is integral to a lot of the plot within these pages. Plenty of the plot points are things that feel like they should have a definitive right or wrong answer, and we are continuously reminded that life doesn't always work that way. Things can be messy and there are varying degrees to things. The book really embraces those nuances and looks at all angles of a situation rather than just presenting it one way.

This could be a book that had an issue with too much going on. There is a lot to unpack here from the aftermath of an attempted suicide, an embezzlement scandal, bullying, teen pregnancy, and academic cheating. It could have easily gone into a territory where it felt too crowded, or unrealistic that it would all be contained within this one story. Kemmerer's writing, however, meshes it together perfectly. Each of these situations is nuanced and layered in a way that make them feel entirely believable.

Those who have read Kemmerer's other contemporary novels will absolutely love this one, as will those who are just reading her for the first time. Her contemporary novels nail a realistic, complex feel that comes naturally. I highly recommend any of her books, but particularly suggest her contemporary to those who love the genre.

1 comment:

  1. I am BIG fan of Kemmerer's contemporaries. Like you said, she can take a character that should be a cliche and make them three dimensional and real. She also does a good job of having a lot going on in the story, but never overwhelming me. I adored this book. I loved the characters, the family dynamic, the unlikely friendships, and obviously, the romance. It was a winner for me.


I love comments. Thank you for stopping by my blog and thank you even more for leaving me a comment.

I have decided to make this an awards free blog. I appreciate the gesture, and love that you thought of my blog, however I simply can't pass them along as required.

You Might Also Like

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...