***a copy of this book was provided to me via the publisher in exchange for an honest review
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?
As someone who has read and loved all of Katie Cotugno’s previous books, I naturally had a lot of high hopes for this book and expected to love it. Unfortunately, I was rather disappointed by this one. The premise of the book seemed promising and right up my alley, but did not at all end up meeting my expectations. While there were some things that I did like about this book, I was ultimately left feeling underwhelmed by it as a whole.
This book tells the story of Ryan and Gabby, two best friends who formed an unlikely friendship after meeting at a party during their freshmen year of high school. The lines of their friendship become blurred when they decide to sleep together one night after leaving a high school graduation party. This decision leads to a fight between them, as they wonder whether sleeping together meant anything. The timeline then jumps back and forth between the past and the present, as they count down the top ten moments of their friendship.
While I liked the idea of the whole top ten moments countdown, I still had a hard time connecting with the story and didn’t feel any kind of spark between Ryan and Gabby. I am a sucker for the whole best friends falling in love with each other trope when done right, but I just wasn’t feeling the connection in this particular story. I found the relationship between Gabby and Ryan to be very bland, and I had a hard time caring about their relationship in general.
All of that aside, there were some important topics included in this book, as well as diversity, that I really appreciated, and which is what made me give this book more than two stars. Gabby identifies as bisexual, and suffers from severe social anxiety. While I can’t speak for the sexuality representation, I am someone who suffers from anxiety, and I really struggle with it in social situations, just as Gabby does, and I really appreciate how her anxiety was portrayed in this story, as I could deeply relate to her on that level.
Ryan also dealt with some heavy-handed issues in this story, including struggling with some serious injuries, such as concussions and headaches, as a direct result of playing hockey. There are many books that include jocks as the lead character, but often times the serious and all too real injuries that come with playing sports are overlooked, and I appreciate that Katie Cotugno included the serious repercussions that can come with playing sports that not many other authors think to write about. Student athletes are risking a lot by participating in sports, and I think that this is something that needs to be talked about a lot more in YA books.
Important topics aside, I thought that this book was just okay. It definitely wasn’t the worst YA book that I have ever read, but I didn’t find it to be on par with Katie Cotugno’s previous books. Even though this book was a letdown for me, I am still a big fan of Katie Cotugno’s writing, and I am looking forward to her next release!
My rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2 ‘s