“If there’s something you want, you have to able to push past whatever is stopping you.”
– Brigid Kemmerer
Release Date: June 25, 2019
Thank you BloomsBury YA and NetGalley for an eARC of this novel!
I am so impressed with Brigid Kemmerer. There has been a ton of buzz about Call It What You Want which seemed a bit odd because it’s a contemporary, and as much as I love that genre unless it’s a Dessen or West novel I never hear too much on new releases in that genre. I had no idea that Kemmerer had also written and just released A Curse So Dark and Lonely earlier this year! So two books in one year and in completely different genres was super impressive so I had to check it out. No regrets. I was all in my feels.
This novel was a total gut punch in the best way. It tugged at my heartstrings and even had me in tears a few times. While it was not an easy read because of the tough issues ot tackled, it was fast-faced and kept me engaged the whole time. Rob and Maegan are social outcasts at school for different reasons. Robs’ father embezzled money from the parents of his classmates, rich or poor, and even some of his teachers.
Maegan cheated on the SAT causing about a hundred of her classmates to get their classes dismissed meaning they have to all take it again. The hate is real.
They both just want to do the right thing but struggled with what actually made something right or wrong and just how big was the grey area between them was. There is a bit of a Robin Hood aspect going on while trying to find the answers to the whole right/wrong question.
Money was a huge part of this book and was a surprising subject. By that I mean it’s a huge topic in the real world and not one you encounter too much in novels I think. After everything goes down, Rob is left with little to no money. Maegan is from a middle class family. There is also a side character, Owen, introduced who is so poor he lives off of free cheese sandwiches provided by the school. Owen really showed what it’s like to struggle financially and common misconceptions people have. It was heartbreaking to read about some of the things he’d been through just because he and his mom were financially challenged. It was a nice perspective to have included in the storyline.
It was so refreshing to have a male MC that showed real emotion. He was depressed, emotional and just straight real. He became the best version of himself in this situation and found true friends. The relationship between him and Maegan was sweet. He kept asking for CONSENT. I loved that because it’s not seen very often. It was also nice to read about the re-development of the sister relationship between Maegan and Samantha. I think most of Maegans’ own character growth stems from the mending of that relationship.
Overall I really enjoyed Call It What You Want and will be picking up a signed copy to add to my collection! It really engaged me and made me think. If you want a novel that tackles the heavy issues of sex, consent, teen pregnancy and money in all the right ways I highly suggest picking this one up!