99 Days by Cotugno, Katie
Balzer & Bray, 2015. 978-0-06-221638-0. $17.99 372p. $17.99.
Molly Barlow has returned from her senior year, spent at a boarding school. She left because of an incident involving two brothers: one she was dating (the twin of her best friend) and one with whom she had sex. Understandably she lost her best friend and her boyfriend. Not understandably, her author mom used the incident to create a best-selling book so now the entire (small) town knows.
Molly has come home to simply survive the summer before going to college. However, the town will not let the incident rest.
Molly is hired by a newcomer who is renovating the local resort, and finds that she has a talent for this possible career. She also finds that Patrick, her former boyfriend, has a new girlfriend, now working at the resort. Gabe, the older brother, seems to want to befriend her, possibly being more. Molly, needing a friend, wanting love, is pulled emotionally by both boys- again- all the while knowing it could end in disaster.
Molly is a great flawed character. She is an intriguing, strong-willed, normal teenager. As she alternately pulls herself into a new life and falls back into the old one, she grows as a person. The “why” of having sex with Gabe to begin with is shrugged off, never fully explained, and remains a flaw in the story. The character of Patrick also did not ring true, and could have been more developed. Nevertheless, we the reader develop from feeling sorry for, but not sympathetic to Molly, to cheering for her in the unexpected ending!
Recommended 8th up.