Fiction, Romance, Young Adult

Call It What You Want, by Brigid Kemmerer

Another fantastic read by Brigid Kemmerer. My goodness, I love how this woman writes!

No one wants to be defined by their mistakes. Especially as a teenager. Especially when the mistakes aren’t even his. But that is exactly what happened to Rob Lachlan, Jr. Why? Because after swindling half the townspeople (teachers, the librarian, and parents of Rob Jr.’s friends,) Robert Lachlan Sr. put a gun to his head, pulled the trigger, and failed his objective. Now he is a mumbling, drooling shell of a man who takes his meals through a tube. Meanwhile, Rob Jr.–once a high school alpha male and lacrosse champion–is the new face of a crime that left families in ruins. A crime he didn’t commit. A crime that, by proxy, took away his social status and made him an outcast. Life is pretty much in the toilet right now.

No one wants to be defined by their choices either. Unfortunately, overachiever Maegan made a bad one. Really, really bad. Tired of playing second fiddle to her golden older sister, Maegan cheated on her SATs, which caused a ripple effect to all the other test takers that day. Thank you for playing, Maegan. Here’s your new outcast badge.

But what makes these teens stand out? They are smart. Very, very smart. Not always socially smart, but definitely book smart, which is the hallmark of Brigid Kemmerer’s Young Adult characters. So when two very smart (and lonely) outcasts are rejected by everyone else to partner up for an Honors Calculus project, they have no choice but to work together.

And thus begins the story of two basically good teenagers who just want to reclaim some normality in their lives. But it’s a journey, one that involves testing boundaries of friendship, rules, and one’s own morals.

I’m leaving out a lot, but I will say that the one word that comes to mind when I read a book by Kemmerer is “brave.” This is brave writing. It’s layered. It alternates points of view, showing us the emotions and motives of both main characters. And what characters they are–brave writing calls for brave characters. Rob and Maegan have rock solid cores, refusing to let circumstances and choices beat them down, despite the detours along the way.

This is a terrific book. I highly recommend it. It’s marketed as a Young Adult novel, but I would say it is more for mature and older teens.

9.5/10 Stars

FYI: This is a book with multiple cover designs.

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