REVIEW: Top Ten by Katie Cotugno

by - 12:00 PM

“She looked at him for a moment, her Ryan: calm and so loyal, steady as a beating heart. He was her most important person. He was her best friend in the world.”

Back of the book blurb:

Ryan McCullough and Gabby Hart are the unlikeliest of friends. Introverted, anxious Gabby would rather do literally anything than go to a party. Ryan is a star hockey player who can get any girl he wants—and does, frequently. But against all odds, they became not only friends, but each other’s favorite person. Now, as they face high school graduation, they can’t help but take a moment to reminisce and, in their signature tradition, make a top ten list—counting down the top ten moments of their friendship:

10. Where to begin? Maybe the night we met.
9. Then there was our awkward phase.
8. When you were in love with me but never told me…
7. Those five months we stopped talking were the hardest of my life.
6. Through terrible fights…
5. And emotional makeups.
4. You were there for me when I got my heart broken.
3. …but at times, you were also the one breaking it.
2. Above all, you helped me make sense of the world.
1. Now, as we head off to college—how am I possibly going to live without you?

Chase’s thoughts:

Publication Date: October 3, 2017
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 320
ISBN: 9780062418302

Available for Purchase:

My rating:

            Jesus. Two new books from Katie Cotugno in ONE YEAR? We are not worthy. I truly have a soft spot for Katie. I think her writing is so fucking amazing. She creates characters who are so flawed, but you’re constantly falling in love with them no matter what. I think Katie gets unfairly judged because she does write characters who truly fuck up. And sometimes they fuck up over and over again, even consciously. That’s a part of life. But, their character arcs are always so rewarding and the stories are beautiful. Top Ten was no exception.

“Gabby wasn’t used to him like this. He was such a lion of a person it was strange to feel like she could undo him, like she held that kind of power in her two shaking hands.”

            Gabby and Ryan have been friends since freshman year of high school when he drunkenly threw up in her bathroom because her sister, Celia, was having a party. Gabby is shy and anxiety-ridden and also insecure. So, when uber-popular Ryan takes an interest in her, she’s super confused. However, it turns out to be the best friendship of her life.

            I’ve read a lot of reviews for this book and so many people said they didn’t relate or feel connected to the characters and I’m truly not sure why. I know when it comes to romance, writing in third person can cause a disconnect because you feel like you’re on the outside; however, I didn’t feel that way at all. I fell in love with both Gabby and Ryan and their friendship.

“Ryan loved her like that, the odd times when she was suddenly so fearless.”

            Gabby and Ryan go through so much together, whether it be girlfriends (for both parties. Yes, Gabby is bisexual! It’s amazing), fights, family drama, and so much more. I think there’s such an important lesson that Gabby and Ryan teach us and it’s that even if you’re not talking to someone, or you’re fighting with them, true friendships never end. They continue even if you can’t see that and when you finally come back together, you’ll pick up right where you left off. And I think more people, especially teens, need to realize that.

“And eventually you have to stop loving shit that doesn’t love you back.”

            The end of the novel is bittersweet, but I think it’s appropriate. I don’t want to give too much away, so I won’t talk a lot about it. But I think Katie Cotugno always gives readers realistic endings, rather than saccharine-sweet ones, and I appreciate her for it. Because life isn’t always perfect and tied up in neat and tidy bows. Things get messy and they don’t always go your way.

            Either way, Top Ten is a novel that shows us that some people are meant to be in our lives through it all. Appreciate your friends and cultivate a group of people who truly care about you, no matter what happens.

Happy Reading!
The Wandereader

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