C.G. Drews's Reviews > Call It What You Want

Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer
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really liked it
bookshelves: 4-star, contemporary, read-2019, young-adult

My hEART belongs to Brigid Kemmerer contemporaries ok. I will full on softly cry on your arm right now, because I really loved this book, plus it stressed me most wholly out. And then the ending was the perfect mix of heartbreak and satisfying roundedness that I just want melt into this book and thank it for existing.

I did actually think this was part of the Letters to the Lost series, but it isn't! So you can read this one without having read LTTL -- except tbh you should go read LTTL because it is one of my all-time forever favourites, so if you haven’t tried it yet and you want to ugly cry into your sleeve — READ IT!!! What could go wrong!!!!⁣

// plot
We have two story lines interweaving here: Rob, who's treated as a class criminal because his father was caught for embezzlement and then tried to commit suicide and Rob found him...so he's super, super messed up. And then we have Maegan, who has the "Perfect" family and the pressure totally cracked her and she cheated on her SATs, got caught, got hundreds of other kids' tests cancelled and....is basically lowkey hated at school as a cheat. They are SOFT SAD MESSES, but in very reserved ways. I do admit I fell for Rob's storyline more. He broke me in all sorts of ways, and there was a lot of weight to what he was dealing with vs Maegan's had lower stakes.

// characters
also can we frikkin take a moment for how amazing the characters in this book are?! Even the secondary characters!! I love contemporaries that make you feel in the book, give the characters distinct voices and complex layers and personalities, and also smoosh in moments to make you laugh and ugly cry a little. Just here to say t h a n k s.
/ Rob Look he is an utter disaster and watching him make bad decisions STRESSED me out. Everyone had such low expectations of him, such utter disdain for something he had no control over (because his DAD was the criminal, not Rob), that he almost felt like he should just be a criminal anyway. And he was also soft and chivalrous, and could have such a snipey attitude. ERMASGOH I loved him a lot. Also stan boys who cry and are vulnerable. Also he READS. He loves BOOKS.
/ Meagan: The nerdy relatable girl who very quickly won me over to loving her because she's just so real. I honestly felt I knew Maegan and 10/10 would have liked her for a friend. She also has a really steadfast streak and doesn't get pushed around. And also her relationship with her sister, Sam, who used to be the Golden Child, but turns up home pregnant and angry...GAH. I love sister stories and they were SO realistic. They fought and then they'd totally be willing to die for each other. This is the most relatable content ever.

Also shout out to OWEN, my son, I loved him so. He's so sarcastic and just sort of makes friends with Rob by reading An Ember in the Ashes over his shoulder and complaining when he turns the page too fast. Like dude has so much reason to hate Rob (Rob's dad screwed Owen's family over) but they somehow end up friends. Like I just LOVE how Brigid Kemmerer always does such epic friendships in her books ahhhh.

// themes
Look, this one gets me because it has so so many beautiful messages to explore, but also really important ones. It talks about loneliness and how you can lose yourself in your own silence. And there's a lot of discussion about money -- how some people can treat it so flippantly and how others are clinging to their last dollars, not sure what they're eating next. It made me ache so much to see the comparisons and parallels of privilege and suffering. Also it says REALLY good things about not judging people. Argh we can all have such high horses sometimes ("oh you're poor but you have an iphone?! pfft") but you NEVER NEVER know someone's full story, what they've lost or gained or saved for or been gifted. It is never anyone's place to judge someone who is poor.

we could all do to have so so much more compassion. the messages totally wrapped up my heart and made me think and I love when books do that.

// ending
I won't spoil it I JUST REALLY LOVED IT AHHH. Just [clenches fist] am such a fan.


// overall
It made me ache, in the best possible way, and it had such an incredible and heartfelt story line...with so so many topics that were discussed with such nuance. Including conflicted feelings. Like the ability to love someone and hate what they've done, how life is sometimes an uncontrollable trainwreck, how finding someone to hold onto is so powerful. I just will be here, holding tightly to this book.
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Reading Progress

September 23, 2018 – Shelved
September 23, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
July 3, 2019 – Started Reading
July 3, 2019 –
page 128
34.22% "Rob is a softly brewing d i s a s t e r and I am here for it tbh"
July 4, 2019 – Shelved as: 4-star
July 4, 2019 – Shelved as: contemporary
July 4, 2019 – Shelved as: read-2019
July 4, 2019 – Shelved as: young-adult
July 4, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

Alisha Brook I already was impatiently waiting for my copy to arrive. Your review just made me want it even more! 😭😭😭


message 2: by Lisa Elis (new) - added it

Lisa Elis HELLO A BRIGID KEMMERER CONTEMPORARY I NEED THIS ONE BIG TIME. also shout outs to you Cait who got me reading Letters to the Lost with your brilliant review two years back when I'd just signed up on GR XD


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