Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer
Publication date: June 27th, 2019
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Contemporary
Buy: Book Depository | Wordery
When his dad is caught embezzling funds from half the town, Rob goes from popular lacrosse player to social pariah. Even worse, his father’s failed suicide attempt leaves Rob and his mother responsible for his care.
Everyone thinks of Maegan as a typical overachiever, but she has a secret of her own after the pressure got to her last year. And when her sister comes home from college pregnant, keeping it from her parents might be more than she can handle.
When Rob and Maegan are paired together for a calculus project, they’re both reluctant to let anyone through the walls they’ve built. But when Maegan learns of Rob’s plan to fix the damage caused by his father, it could ruin more than their fragile new friendship…
This captivating, heartfelt novel asks the question: Is it okay to do something wrong for the right reasons?
– My Thoughts –
After reading A Curse so Dark and Lonely, I was eager to read more of Brigid Kemmerer’s books and many blogger friends recommended Call It What You Want. I was supposed to pick up this book in 2019 but I kept putting it off; however, this wholesome YA contemporary was exactly what I needed after reading a horror story.
“I’m not lost. I want to do the right thing.”
“Most of us do,” she says ruefully. “The problem is that it doesn’t always look the same for all of us”
Rob Lachlan was once THE popular guy in school but now, he’s a nobody. His father stole half the towns investment money and people think that Rob was in on it too. If that’s not enough, his father committed suicide and Rob saw it all.
Maegan was a good girl but she cheated on the SATs and nothing been the same since. Her classmates blame her for getting caught and forcing everyone to rewrite the tests all over again. Maegan’s dad is also a cop and definitely won’t like it when his daughter is friendly with the son of a criminal.
Maegan and Rob are paired up as partners by a teacher, one of my favourite YA trope! At first, none of them wants to each other’s partners but later, they realise that their project meet-ups provided a welcome escape from their complicated families. This unlikely relationship between them was so beautiful to read; both insecure and presume the wrong things about each other at first. There were so many other lovable characters in the book: Owen, Owen’s mom, Sam, Mr. London.
The main theme here is how anyone can be misjudged and that we truly don’t know what is going on in their lives. Either we ignore them or treat them like garbage. Also a slight paragraph about racism was included through a character called Drew, when he says that at least people aren’t Rob like a criminal. Even though Drew’s delivery came off rude he was right, Rob got off easy because of the colour of his skin. If a black kid like Drew’s dad would have committed such a crime, the punishment would be far worse. Another representation comes from Owen who’s gay and it was so amazing to see his mother asking him to keep his door open when Rob was alone with him; a contrast to Mr London’s parents who wanted to get “rid of the gay” in him.
“Other people don’t have the challenges that we have, Owen. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have their own.”
Overall, I would highly recommend this. If you loved A Curse so Dark and Lonely and want to read more of the author’s books, then you won’t regret picking this contemporary up. I loved the Robin Hood easter egg in the story and way male friendships were portrayed. I was a bit miffed about the lack of female friendship in this book and I would love it if Brigid wrote a more present female friendship in her next book.
Thanks to the publisher for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review!
– About the Author –
Brigid Kemmerer is the New York Times bestselling author of dark and alluring Young Adult novels like A Curse So Dark and Lonely, More Than We Can Tell, and Letters to the Lost (Bloomsbury), as well as paranormal YA stories like The Elemental Series and Thicker Than Water (Kensington). A full-time writer, Brigid lives in the Baltimore area with her husband, her boys, her dog, and her cat. When she’s not writing or being a mommy, you can usually find her with her hands wrapped around a barbell.
Thank you for reading! Have you read Call It What You Want or any of the author’s other books? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!