Monday 28 April 2014

Book Review: What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton

Title:What Happens Next
Author: Colleen Clayton
Publisher: Poppy
Summary: How can you talk about something you can’t remember?

Before the ski trip, sixteen-year-old Cassidy “Sid” Murphy was a cheerleader (at the bottom of the pyramid, but still...), a straight-A student, and a member of a solid trio of best friends. When she ends up on a ski lift next to handsome local college boy, Dax Windsor, she’s thrilled; but Dax takes everything from Sid—including a lock of her perfect red curls—and she can’t remember any of it.

Back home and unable to relate to her old friends, Sid drops her college prep classes and takes up residence in the A/V room with only Corey “The Living Stoner” Livingston for company. But as she gets to know Corey (slacker, baker, total dreamboat), Sid finds someone who truly makes her happy. Now, if she can just shake the nightmares and those few extra pounds, everything will be perfect... or so she thinks.

Witty and poignant, Colleen Clayton’s stunning debut is a story about moving on after the unthinkable happens.

Review: So, what happens when your life changes from a single interaction, a single moment… but you can’t remember the moment that altered your life? This is a reality for Sid Murphy. She is a bottom-of-the-pyramid cheerleader that spends most of her spare time with her two best friends Paige and Kirsten. The girls are vastly different and yet that is what has made their friendship work over the years. So when Paige and Kirsten who both are more experienced skiers join ski club Sid knows that she needs to as well. It is at the ski trip, because of the ski trip that Sid’s life is immeasurably altered.

In Clayton’s debut novel I was plunged into a world where although Sid Murphy wasn’t perfect and didn’t have the perfect body she did have very real insecurities and, to me, she was real. She makes one very real mistake that any teenage girl could make when she meets college cutie Dax Windsor. Meeting Dax and being invited to a party was a very exciting moment for Sid. But that excitement is replaced by a vastly different emotion when she wakes to find that she cannot remember anything from the night before. She is in denial but he has taken everything from Sid including a strand of her bouncing red curls and she does not know how to cope.

Throughout What Happens Next we not only read about Sid’s downward spiral, but we experience it, too. With each moment of denial and with each excuse I wanted to scream at Sid. “Please! Tell SOMEONE!” I wanted to shake her, and then hug her. And cry with her. Because although this novel is about a girl trying to find her way and put back together the pieces after the unthinkable happens it is also about not judging a book by its cover. It’s about not assuming that you know who someone is based on appearance or rumor alone. It is about friendship and trust and moving on. This is an absolutely amazing contemporary read. I truly feel like Sid is someone I know, a friend that I just experienced all of this with. I haven’t felt that way about a contemporary read in quite a while.


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