Call It What You Want | Book review
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Page count: 384
Goodreads synopsis: here
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…
“My brain clicks, and for an instant, he’s not Rob Lachlan now, he’s Rob Lachlan from a year ago. We were from two different words once: popular boy and nerdy girl. We’re still from two different worlds: cop’s daughter and criminal’s son.”
This was my first Brigid Kemmerer novel and I enjoyed it immensely. The writing is simple yet emotionally heavy. It may sound like a cliche novel but it was a realistic story filled with beautiful and heartbreaking moments.
The story follows two main characters, alternating between 2 POVs. Rob, who went from being popular to an outcast. He is paying for his father’s crimes. Maegan is also an outcast because she cheated on her STAT forcing her classmates to retake the test again as all results were invalidated. They would never have known about each other, maybe they would never have seen each other but they were paired for a project and the two characters find that maybe they have something in common. Both dealing with a hard family life and wanting an escape.
They bond during late night ‘homework’ dates as they share their feelings and secrets with each other. The development of their relationship was done beautifully, it flowed within the book. Although the romance was not the centre of the book, the book mainly focused on the characters and their difficult choices and friendship. Rob is so sweet, he is open and doesn’t shy away from saying the truth, he is honest and sweet and his character is so refreshing. I don’t think Maegan was facing any hardship compared to Rob, who had to take care of his father. I really sympathised with Rob, he is one of a kind. I also really loved the sisterly bond between Maegan and Samantha. The way they support and protect each other. The way Maegan was there for Samantha during a really difficult time.
The characters in this story had to make difficult decisions and I loved reading about these sad and lost souls. This book demonstrated how easy it is to misunderstand or judge someone without knowing everything. How easy it is to jump to conclusions. It was an honest, real and a heartfelt story. I recommend this if you want a contemporary that includes teenage pregnancy and other subjects like money.
I felt the story slow towards the end, it felt like it was dragging a little. I mean the first half I flew through it in one sitting, and then the second half took me 2 days, it wasn’t as exciting as the beginning half.
Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy exchange for an honest review.