Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer | Review

Thank you so much to the publisher for allowing me to read an eARC of Call It What You Want. Receiving the eARC did in no way impact my thoughts or feelings of the book. All opinions in this review are my own.

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Rating: ★★★☆☆

Release Date: June 25th, 2019 

Dates Read: March 15th, 2019

Trigger Warnings: mentions of suicide, grooming, violence, mentions of abortion, stealing

Pages: 384

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

Genre: young adult, contemporary, romance 

Goodreads blurb:

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?

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R E V I E W

Have you ever read a book that was just mediocre? That was Call It What You Want for me. I read a few books by Brigid Kemmerer last year and fell in love with them. However, when I read her fantasy debut I was not interested. Call It What You Want was something that fell in the middle. It wasn’t bad but it also wasn’t great. It was like lemon sorbet, a palette cleanser and nothing to rave about.

Where to start with Call It What You Want? The story is told in two different perspectives, Rob and Maegan. Both were incredibly annoying characters who were focused more on their own struggles in which they think they are so special. Maegan is the daughter of a police officer and she cheated on a big American standardized test – look, I’m Australian and they have too many letters – which forced everyone else who was taking it have their answers scrapped. Not only that but her sister has come back from college pregnant – gasp, I know and I will talk a lot more about this later. Rob, on the other hand, had a father involved in a massive scandal that involved him stealing the town’s money that invested with him. When he was caught he tried to kill himself and instead ended up disabled. Rob and his mother are left dealing with the repercussions and Rob has lost his throne as the greatest lacrosse player (this didn’t make sense to me) and king of the high school. He is a now a big loser and apparently, that is tragic – yes, I was yawning. There was also kind of a redemption arc in this storyline where a big secret is revealed, but honestly, I felt it took away from the story rather than add that shock factor which I know the author was clearly hoping for.

Both these storylines could have been interesting on their own. They sure did have the foundation to stand on their own legs and not be overtaken by a love story. What happened though? Yep, you guessed it. They were overtaken by a love story that made it seem as though two somewhat privileged teens had the worst lives ever and they should be pitied. I don’t know why, but I just found it so hard to feel sorry for them – especially Maegan.

Rob was definitely the character I preferred of the two. His struggle felt more genuine and he honestly read a much better character. This isn’t me saying I liked him either because I did not connect to him at all. He honestly felt incredibly obnoxious to me.

One of my biggest problems with this eARC was how abortion was spoken about. I am someone who is massively pro-choice. I think people who can carry a baby should have the right to abort with no questions asked. However, in Call It What You Want when abortion is discussed it is described as killing the baby. I was beyond frustrated about that. Samantha, Maegan’s sister, was pregnant with an unwanted baby and the parents talking about it as if she was going to shoot a baby was ridiculous.

Another one of my problems definitely comes into play with Samantha’s storyline. It is revealed that she was basically groomed. I won’t say too much because obviously spoilers, however, no one fucking cared. I feel that if the author had gone down the story line of Maegan supporting her sister and helping her to therapy for what she had experienced – which was abuse – it would have really strengthened everything in this story.

Samantha did seem like a good character who was going through some shit, it would have been nice if other characters had supported her instead of just letting her float around as a plot device to force the two main characters together.

Overall, Call It What You Want was not what I wanted. It was not my cup of tea at all and I truly hope some changed are made between the eARC version and the final copy. Hopefully a bit of reworking in the plot line and actual character personalities because I did not want either character to get a happy ending.

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Happy reading everyone!

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