October 4, 2017

Review: Top Ten by Katie Cotugno

Collaborative feature with Alexa since Nov 2013. We read ARCs together and post our reviews on the same date.

Top Ten by Katie Cotugno
pub 10/3/17 by Balzer + Bray
Young Adult - Contemporary
Received from pub via Edelweiss
Plot • Best friends, Ryan McCullough and Gabby Hart, couldn't be any more different. He's a popular hockey player and she's an introverted and extremely anxious person who'd rather fade into the background. But on the night of their high school graduation, their friendship takes an unexpected turn and suddenly they need to evaluate what they and their relationship really mean to one another. To do this they make a list of the top ten moments of their friendship and we see their awkward beginning, the highs, the lows and a hint of what could be next.

Characters • Do you have friends that you love dearly but you sometimes just want to grab them by the shoulders and give them a hard shake because they make everything so complicated? Yeah, that's these two. I can't say I fully connected to either character but I certainly rooted for them to un-complicate things. I do think Ryan and Gabby balanced one another out and strove to bring out each other's best sides. But is that and the chemistry between them enough for them to go from friends to more? As always, I enjoyed how Cotugno explored all the messiness in their relationship and in their personal lives.

Writing • I loved the concept of seeing only their top ten moments but at the same time, it's only what I struggled with. Ten moments weren't enough for me to know Ryan and Gabby plus all the ins-and-outs of what made them tick. They were good glimpses and I enjoyed each moment we re-lived but it left me wanting more. I especially want to know more about Gabby's backstory and her anxiety. But most of all, I want to spend more time with the present with both characters.

Overall feelings • I liked it! It was an extremely fast read but I think if the book had been longer and a mix of past (with the 10 moments) and present, I would've felt much more invested in the characters and story.

Top 5 moments from high school I told Alexa that a list of 10 was hard (and also maybe a bit too personal for me!) but five works. We figure that between the two of us, that brings us to 10, albeit separate, moments. Here are mine:

  • I had a group of close girlfriends in high school who I met my freshmen year, and most of us stayed that way all the way to senior year.  I can't tell you the exact moment all 7 of us girls decided we were a "group" but whenever that was, that moment belongs on here. 
  • My first concert! I went with my best friend and another girl we used to be friends with to see the Backstreet Boys. 
  • High school graduation - I was valedictorian and this was the day I first met Estelle
  • Senior prom 
  • The first time Mary Ann and I drove to the mall together. I just remember feeling such freedom in that moment because we didn't have to rely on our parents anymore. (Plus up until that point, we had both been too scared to drive on the highway lol)

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