Rachele Alpine's Reviews > What Happens Next

What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton
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Oct 25, 2011

I was lucky enough to get an ARC of WHAT HAPPENS NEXT as part of an interview I’ll do of Colleen and the book for The Lucky 13s Debut 2013 Author blog. I am so excited that I got to read this book now instead of waiting until October (but trust me, it’s worth the wait). It’s one of my favorite reads in a long time, and I read a lot as a high school English teacher. A real lot! I pretty much eat, sleep and breath YA literature. It takes a lot for a book not only to grab my attention but for me to want to flag it as a multiple order for my school and classroom library. This is one of those books. It’s a book that I’ll make a point of pushing it into the hands of as many of my students as I can. The book is powerful, the writing is beautiful and Sid is one of the best characters I’ve met in a long time. It is a story that is important for teenagers to read, and one that I think will speak to them.

One of my favorite things about this book is the character of Sid. Because the thing is, unlike a lot of characters facing tragic events in YA literature, Sid is broken by a rape she doesn’t remember, but she doesn’t let it break her. She’s such a strong character and you understand why she’s dealing with the rape the way she is (even though I wanted to shout at her many many times to tell someone, I understood why she didn’t…why she couldn’t). I also love love love that she comes from a family that loves her. Her mom is a part of her life, her little brother adores her and Sid feels the same way back toward the two of them. It’s good to see a book with a strong family relationship, because it shows readers that bad things can happen to anyone, and even if you come from a family who loves and supports you, it still isn’t always easy to tell the truth. The story also has a sweet love story, Colleen Clayton’s sense of place transports you right to this town, and the antagonists are real. Oh…the antagonists. I totally bought how Sid fell prey to her Dax and the cheerleaders in this book are so so awful. But again, it speaks so truthful to high school and I think it’s in that honesty that teens will relate and connect to Sid’s journey.

There are novels out there that as a teacher, I MUST get into the hands of students. This is one of those important books.
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