Top Ten. Katie Cotugno. Contemporary/Young adult/Romance. 2017. 320 pages. 2.5 stars.
It occurred to her to wonder if this was what growing up meant, to continuously find yourself in situations that you didn’t feel remote prepared to handle.
I received a copy from HarperCollins via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Ryan McCullough and Gabby Hart are the unlikeliest of friends. Introverted, anxious Gabby would rather do literally anything than go to a party. Ryan is a star hockey player who can get any girl he wants—and does, frequently. But against all odds, they became not only friends, but each other’s favorite person. Now, as they face high school graduation, they can’t help but take a moment to reminisce and, in their signature tradition, make a top ten list—counting down the top ten moments of their friendship:
10. Where to begin? Maybe the night we met.
9. Then there was our awkward phase.
8. When you were in love with me but never told me…
7. Those five months we stopped talking were the hardest of my life.
6. Through terrible fights…
5. And emotional makeups.
4. You were there for me when I got my heart broken.
3. …but at times, you were also the one breaking it.
2. Above all, you helped me make sense of the world.
1. Now, as we head off to college—how am I possibly going to live without you?
I’m not sure how to go about this review because I was confused 80% of the time so I’ll break it down with what I expected vs what I got from this book.
What I expected:
- A light romance read that will make me feel fuzzy. I wanted a light read that will make me squeal and smile really big whenever I thought about it.
- Best friend to lovers trope. As much as I prefer hate to love, I found myself anticipating Gabby and Ryan’s friendship blossoming into romance.
- Seeing each character mature and grow as they transition from high school to college.
- Supportive friendships. WE NEED TO STOP GLORIFYING TOXICITY AND START PROMOTING SUPPORTIVE WHOLESOME RELATIONSHIPS!
- An accurate depiction of what it’s like to be in a close guy-girl friendship.
These are pretty light expectations, right? So let me tell you what the book actually offered me.
What I got:
- A confusing timeline. I know this was not written in a linear manner, but holy hell I didn’t expect to thrown around the past and present to the point that I suffered from whiplash.
- A toxic friendship. A supportive friendship? No. They fight, and fight, and fight, a n d f i g h t. It was so disheartening to see that the author wrote about such a toxic friendship in continuity. I would have appreciated a little bickering here and there, but Gabby and Ryan kept fighting about everything nearly every chapter once we get past a certain point in the book.
- A bisexual main character! I was totally not expecting this but it was a twist I really liked! The exploration of sexuality was well-written and it was refreshing to see this.
- True to life situations. As great as it is for best friends to be in love with each other, it’s not the same case when they’re too scared to even tell the other what happened. Unlike other books where both people stay single until they find ~each other~, we see these main characters drift and get into relationships with other people. Again, another point for something refreshing to see.
- Mental illnesses. To be specific, anxiety. So I’m typing this down maybe as a trigger warning because it is very prominent in the plot. It’s actually an important plot point in the life of one of the main characters.
- An anti-climactic ending. After the hell they–I–went through while reading the book, I expected a bombastic spectacle of an ending. Unfortunately, it did not deliver. My literal reaction when I finished the book was this
I wanted to like the book, I really did. However, I can’t deny that my confusion with the timeline coupled with the frustrating characters made this reading experience not as good as I hoped. I’m only giving this 2.5 stars. Definitely not going into my Top Ten Favorite Books.
Top Ten is set to be released on 3 October 2017.