Book Review: Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer

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Published: 1st July 2019

Price: $16.99

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Fiction

Page Count: 384

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Sypnosis from Bloomsbury:

New York Times bestselling author Brigid Kemmerer pens a new emotionally compelling story about two teens struggling in the space between right and wrong.

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 . . .

In her compulsively readable storytelling, Brigid Kemmerer pens another captivating, heartfelt novel that asks the question: Is it okay to do something wrong for the right reasons?

My Review:

I recieved a copy of this book from Bloomsbury Books Australia in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts are my own.

This was my first foray into Brigid Kemmerer’s books and sufficed it to say I am definitely excited to read more of her books! Her writing is so engaging and powerful, I definitely found myself instantly addicted to the story and excited to read what would come next!

I was instantly drawn into both our main characters worlds and I found myself feeling so sad for them both! I mean, I felt like both of them definitely weren’t completley at fault for what went wrong in their situations – okay, Maegan was, she did cheat on a very important test, causing her fellow students to retake the test too, but as for Rob…wow! I found his chapters to be so emotional, like, I couldn’t not feel terrible for him! He honestly had no idea of the nasty business that his Dad was conducting, though I definitely thought it was interesting how the storyline regarding what his Father actually did wound up, I definitely didn’t see that coming and it definitely left an impact!

With Rob as a character though, he knew that everyone hated him for what his Father supposedly did and he definitely doesn’t blame them! But what he also is determined for people, namely Maegan to know that he isn’t like his father, his namesake. By no means though is this easy for him, absolutely not and he struggles with some decisions that he makes, but I definitely felt his angst! He feels like he’s doing something right with an action that’s technically not right at all (but still making a difference to the people that he’s helping), so I really enjoyed Brigid Kemmerer’s use of what is right and wrong? throughout Rob’s character arc!

I really enjoyed the developing friendships throughout this book, especially the interactions and scenes that Maegan and Robert shared- see, Maegan is carrying a family secret that’s weighing her down and she struggles to confide in anyone. In turn, I really enjoyed Robert’s unexpected friendship with school student Owen and I really found myself appreciating that Owen didn’t judge Robert based on what his father did and I liked that Robert would share his lunch with Owen and even his reading! Which brings me to say now I can’t wait even more to read An Ember in the Ashes! (For those who have read this book, you’ll understand ;). What also made my heart happy was how much Robert found himself enjoying reading, not just as escapism, but a new beloved hobby, a new pastime and also just his friendly relationship with the school Librarian is just so endearing!!

Meagan and Robert eventually find it easy to confide in one another though, you know, once they break down their initial barriers (they’re initially not at all happy at being paired up for an assignment, but after some frustrating communications between the two (what with Maegan needing a solid grade on this assignment).

I just loved how much both of them developed as individual characters, Maegan’s fierce loyalty towards her sister throughout was utterly admirable (let’s just say Samantha finds herself in a less than ideal situation, but Maegan supports her all throughout, its just wonderful and heartwarming!). Both Maegan and Robert are aware of what the other had done too, but Maegan sees first hand what Rob has to live with as a result of his Father’s actions after being caught (so raw and haunting and powerful, learning about what Rob went through and I was definitely wishing no one should have to be in his shoes ever!).

There were moments where I was teary right along with these characters, there were moments when I was feeling their angst, their embarrassment, everything they separately and mutually went through, I felt it! This for me was the absolutely most powerful first book to read by Brigid Kemmerer and I’m definitely excited to read another of hers before long!

Happy Reading,


Q: Are you a fan of Brigid Kemmerer? What book/s by her have you enjoyed?

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