Last year, Molly Barlow did something terrible.
Then, her mother wrote a book about it.
And so everyone in their tiny hometown found out that Molly cheated on her childhood sweetheart, the love of her life, her best friend with his brother.
After spending senior year at a boarding school in the middle of nowhere, Molly now has ninety-nine days to endure back in her hometown before she can escape to college.
Ninety-nine days of being the most hated person in town.
Ninety-nine days to heal the hurt she’s caused.
Ninety-nine days to figure out what she wants, and who she loves …
I don’t even know where to start with this book. Everyone was kind of awful? Except for the the new girlfriend of the MC’s ex. She was so kind and got completely screwed over by like everyone. It was a really good story but like yikes. Prepare from some spoilers because I don’t think I can write a review for this one without giving anything away.
Molly has 99 days until she leaves for college in Boston, until then she has to slum it out in her hometown which she ran from over a year ago. Some girl Julia, who turns out to be her old best friend, hates her for some unknown reason and is making her life a living hell. Non-spoiler but kind of spoiler; Molly slept with the older brother, Gabe, of her boyfriend, Patrick, who she was broken up with at the time, and then her mom wrote a book about it all that turned into a best seller. Julia is their sister and the twin of her boyfriend. Like I get it, it happens and they were broken up. No judgement from me.
I felt bad for Molly. She was this pawn the boys were fighting over and even after her return she’s still used by each of them. People were awful to her and the double-standard of slut shaming was brought up quite a bit. It was refreshing to have a male character like Gabe that saw this and stood up for Molly by deflecting some of the blame back onto himself. Molly didn’t really learn from her mistakes though and kind of goes back for round two, except this time there is definite cheating and breaking of the girl code. At the end though I think she sees how she is being used and starts to stand up for herself. A lesson is finally learned and I hope she takes that to college with her. It was a mess to get there, but I think she grows a lot in the last few pages and even stops shaming herself. We all make mistakes and while I wish she had owned up to them on her own, I think she learned a lot about what she actually deserved and didn’t. That being said she did hurt a ton of people which could have been avoided if she’d talked her feelings out with people or confronted things head on.
God the Conneally family was thee hottest mess ever. Between the brothers always at each others throats, the constant trying to one-up and their awful human being of a sister I just couldn’t understand how Molly even wanted to be forgiven by any of them. Patrick was super controlling and when Molly pushed back all those years ago he snapped. She saw what they had wasn’t healthy and tried to take it in a better direction but he wanted things his way or the highway. He was trash to Molly and his new girlfriend Tess. I get being attracted to someone that’s bad for you though and it’s so hard to have lingering feelings for someone you know you shouldn’t. I understand Molly’s situation but wish she had seen Patrick for what he was a little sooner. Gabe had potential and I’m actually still holding out hope for him in 9 Days & 9 Nights (companion novel). He seemed way more laid back than Patrick, more willing to put what Molly wanted above his feelings for her. He’s liked her for YEARS and Patrick knew and hid it from her, again not letting Molly have a say. Then again it’s not like Gabe couldn’t have just told her anyways. Just another mess. Gabe also did not handle her being back for the Summer very well either, he used her just to end up falling for her again. So I kind of forgive him? But maybe with some major groveling. Julia was just a vindictive bit** who I hope never makes another appearance and like maybe dies. Maybe.
The writing style was interesting, written in a day-by-day format that I enjoyed. The writing itself was fantastic and while some of the romance scenes were ones I didn’t approve of, they were still steamy. I liked that Cotugno captured the tangled mess of first loves and relationships in this story. Relationships and feelings are freaking messy, we’ve all been there. Her characters were flawed but I think they eventually all learned from their mistakes. I know some people write off stories with cheating in them, but this in no way promotes cheating. Cheating happens in real life and that’s why it ends up in books like this. So don’t not pick up this novel because of that. Pick it up because you too had some messy encounters in love, or you messed up with a friend, or maybe because you need to learn the lessons Molly did without learning them the hard way.