“But sometimes I think everyone needs to take a long look in the mirror before they go make an issue about someone else’s life.”
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Format: Physical copy
Release Date: June 25, 2019
Thank you Bloomsbury for sending me a review copy in exchange for an honest review!
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?
tw: suicide attempt, talk of abortion, bullying
Hands down, this is my favorite Brigid Kemmerer book so far! Her contemporary novels feed my soul every damn time. And I should have known that this would be the cure to my reading slump, considering I was hooked on this story by page five. Kemmerer has a way with words that makes her books almost impossible to put down. The relateability of her characters, their struggles, and the worlds she builds will have you done with her books in no time and craving more.
Maegan and Rob are both just trying to keep their heads down and make it through the school year after two scandals change their lives. Maegan, the A+ student, is branded as a cheater after getting caught cheating on the SAT’s, causing her and hundreds of others to have their results considered invalid. Rob, the ex-lacrosse superstar, is now known as the thief who helped his father embezzle money from families in their town. And to make matters worse his fathers failed suicide attempt has left Rob’s father in a vegetative state that requires constant care from Rob and his mother. Right off the bat we have A LOT going for this story…and yet that isn’t even the half of it. Call It What You Want is literally a Lifetime movie on steroids and I was here for every second of it.
As usual, Kemmerer’s story has two unlikely people finding comfort in one another and there is literally nothing more wholesome than that to me. Her contemporaries typically have a slower-burn romance where the two characters grow as friends first before taking the next step in their relationship, and it works so well every single time. I was rooting for both Maegan and Rob individually and together throughout the entirety of this book.
Now before you think that this story is solely based on two people finding comfort in one another, let’s talk the rest of the story.
Maegan’s sister comes home from her freshman year of college pregnant, which creates some pretty big tension in her household. Maegan’s sister, Samantha, is faced with the decision of keeping her baby and potentially losing her full ride scholarship, giving the baby up for adoption, or having an abortion. And while Maegan and Sam get off to a rocky start in the beginning, it was so amazing to see their relationship come full-circle by the end to this story. I absolutely adore strong sister relationships.
Over on Rob’s side we have his ex-best friend bullying him and trying to humiliate him in front of the school, even though Rob is innocent. While trying to keep his head down Rob makes an unlikely friend, Owen, who comes from a struggling family…all thanks to Rob’s father. Rob and Owen then begin a rather dangerous game of playing “robin hood” by trying to help out those who have less but taking from the well off families who won’t miss whatever is taken from them. This puts Rob in a position of finding out that maybe there is more to what happened with his father than Rob originally knew. Did you think I was kidding when I said a Lifetime movie on steroids?
“See? You know I’m right. You cheated on the SAT and you didn’t even get suspended. You get to take it again! No questions asked! You think that would have happened to a black kid? Hell, my freshman year, some other kid lost his wallet in gym class, and they searched my locker first.”
“When you’ve lost everything, sometimes you don’t see anything wrong with taking a little back.”
“All those memories are part of who I am. The good ones and the bad ones.”
All in all, I am so happy with the ending of this story and the growth of the characters. Kemmerer’s contemporaries will always tug on your heart but the endings are sure to leave a big ol’ grin on your face. I sincerely hope we get more of her contemporary novels in the future because y’all know I will be first in line to pick them up!
Until next time,