I seem to always have mixed feelings about Katie Cotugno’s novels… I always want to like them but usually walk away feeling disappointing. I have a feeling this review is going to be tough because I was confused throughout this entire book.
Short recap: This is a Top Ten events between Ryan and Gabby who are the most unlikeliest of friends. These Top Ten events define their relationship.
Well, that’s what I think this story was about. The story started right with the Top Ten list and no explanation or background on what the hell was going on. I think it was somewhat explained as the story went on but I didn’t see that. Apparently the characters made fake Top Ten Lists about everything so I guess that was the basis for the story? I’m not 100% on that because I was that confused. There was no real development of the plot/overall story so I never connected with anyone or anything in this novel.
I flat out did not like the characters. I thought Ryan was trying way too hard to prove himself in every part of his life. He came across as an arrogant and annoying teen who felt he would always have a tougher life than anyone else, therefore he always had to prove himself. Now on to Gabby. THIS GIRL. I wanted to slug her so many times. She felt like a very self centered, narrow minded, shallow individual. I didn’t like anything about her. These two together make the most toxic couple I have ever had the displeasure of reading about. They were just awful together. Gabby would harp over Ryan’s medical conditions and treat him like a young child, while Ryan would ignore his head trauma’s from hockey and lash out at Gabby. They would have horrific fights and go their separate ways, never apologizing to the other. Then while apart they would “suddenly realize” how much they cared for the other and gravitate back into this toxic relationship. It was like a bad train wreck. It got worse the more it went on.
I do want to mention two topics that were mentioned in this book and I still cannot tell if they were represented well:
- Gabby was bi
- Gabby’s mental illness
There is a huge deal made about Gabby being bisexual. I don’t see why this was made into a big deal but it was. She starts out with Ryan then finds herself attracted to a girl. Her girlfriend is as patient as can be and I liked her. Did I like Gabby and her GF together? Nope and that was because I didn’t like Gabby. That does tie into Gabby’s crippling social anxiety. I have a very strong feeling she had other undiagnosed mental illnesses, like bipolarism. This girl was all over the charts! But the only illness talked about was social anxiety. It would cause her to leave public situations and stay home. Most of her friends were jerks when she left something that made her uncomfortable but I could tell they were trying to help her. Gabby refused to go to any type of therapy so how could I feel sympathy for her? Truth be told, I couldn’t. Her parents were enablers so that just made me have less sympathy for her.
The absolute biggest thing that made me not like this story was the ending. HOLY ANTI-CLIMATIC ENDING, BATMAN! Talk about phoning it in, geez. The overall story was weak and needed major revisions. This had potential but the execution was just bad. I cannot recommend this to anyone and am slightly sad I finished this entire story. I went into this expecting a light and fluffy feel-good-romance but that is so far from what I got: disappointment, confusion, and underdeveloped characters/plot.