Review: 99 Days by Katie Cotugno

 384 pages Publisher: Balzer + Bray (April 21, 2015)  Amazon  |  Barnes

384 pages
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (April 21, 2015) Amazon | Barnes

Summary

Day 1 Julia Donnelly eggs my house my first night back in Star Lake, and that’s how I know everyone still remembers everything—how I destroyed my relationship with Patrick the night everything happened with his brother, Gabe. How I wrecked their whole family. Now I’m serving out my summer like a jail sentence: Just ninety-nine days till I can leave for college and be done.

Day 4 A nasty note on my windshield makes it clear Julia isn’t finished. I’m expecting a fight when someone taps me on the shoulder, but it’s just Gabe, home from college and actually happy to see me. “For what it’s worth Molly Barlow,” he says, “I’m really glad you’re back.”

Day 12 Gabe got me to come to this, and I’m actually having fun. I think he’s about to kiss me—and that’s when I see Patrick. My Patrick, who’s supposed to be clear across the country. My Patrick, who’s never going to forgive me.

Eighty-seven days of summer to go, and history is repeating itself. The last thing I want is to come between the Donnelly brothers again . . . but the truth is, the Donnellys stole my heart a long time ago.

Review

We are all human and we all make mistakes. Yet somehow we seem to think some mistakes outweigh others. That sleeping with someone who isn’t your boyfriend makes you a bad person. And no one understands that better than Molly Barlow.

To call her the town slut seems a bit harsh. Slut implies that she is sleeping with everyone. Molly currently isn’t sleeping with anyone, she just slept with her ex-boyfriend’s brother once upon a time ago. And her mother’s new best seller just happens to be the story of that mistake from once upon a time ago. To make matters worse, Molly has had to come home the summer before college and must now endure the hell of her small town for the next 99 days. Thus begins the countdown.

Day one, her house has been egged and she knows this is the handy work of Julia, the Donnelly brothers’ sister and former best friend. Not wanting to stir the pot, Molly decides to hide in her room watching anything she can find on Netflix. But after a few days, she decides to go for a run. Since leaving home to go to Bristol, the high school she escaped to, she has gained a few pounds.

While on her run, she jogs by the old lodge where she used to work and somehow lands herself a job. The last thing she should be doing is working at a place where most of the town works and visits; but she likes the new manager Penn, and her two children, Fabian and Desi, and Molly figures she could use the money and the distraction.

Also while on her run, she stops by her favorite coffee shop to see Imogen, her other best friend who actually stood by her when the scandal took place. But the reception she receives now isn’t all that welcoming. While she isn’t cold and callus like Julia, she is distant and polite, as if Molly were a new acquaintance and not an old friend.

And there is one more thing: Tess. Who is Tess? Oh, just some girl who moved to town a year ago, new to the scandal; works at the lodge with Molly, best friends with Imogen now, and is Patrick’s girlfriend. But she befriends Molly, despite the town’s warning not to and Molly is grateful to have another ally on her team.

Speaking of allies, there is Gabe. Apparently he isn’t getting the stigma of town slut but he says he isn’t faultless in this whole matter. Yet the town is acting like he is some perfect angel who can do no wrong. And he kind of is. When Molly and Patrick were having problems about her considering going Bristol for their track program, Gabe was the one who sat and listened, while Patrick got angry and eventually broke up with her. That was when she made the mistake. But now he is paying her some attention and she can’t help but eat it up. Only question is, does she dare try for something with Gabe?

Well she does dare. Only, Patrick catches her in the act upon his early and unexpected (to her at least) return home for the summer. And for the time being, that puts the breaks on her and Gabe. Yet once again, she is making poor decisions and going out with Gabe until she becomes his girlfriend. However, she and Patrick do decide to call a truce. Yet how long can they keep this up?

For a while actually but it becomes evidently clear that Patrick does not like Molly with Gabe and Molly may not be as comfortable with the idea of Patrick and Tess. Yet when Patrick breaks up with Tess and invites Molly over late one night, she makes the same mistake again. Only instead of cheating on Patrick, she is cheating on Gabe; clearly NOT having learned her lesson. And now she and Patrick are fooling around behind Gabe’s back. How did she get here? And how will she get out of this mess? Or will she just let this thing run its course and clear out at the end of the summer, as if nothing happened?

99 days seems like a long time when you are trying to wait out a grueling situation. But you would be surprised how quickly things go from bad to worse. 99 Days shows us how hard it is to live with and own up to the mistakes we’ve made. That no amount of apologizing will ever fix the problem, however, time can heal all wounds. 99 Days also teaches us that you can’t keep apologizing and expect to be forgiven for repeated mistakes. If time can heal all wounds, we should take the time to think about our actions and amend our behavior. Most importantly, 99 Days teaches us that there are two sides to ever story, and it’s not fair for one person to shoulder all the blame. That we are all human, and we all make mistakes.

Reviewed by Camia Rhodes