Letdown With a Resonating Message | 99 Days by Katie Cotugno

Friday, June 23, 2017

99 Days by Katie Cotugno

Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: 4/21/15
Pages: 384
Source: purchased
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Day 1: Julia Donnelly eggs my house my first night back in Star Lake, and that’s how I know everyone still remembers everything—how I destroyed my relationship with Patrick the night everything happened with his brother, Gabe. How I wrecked their whole family. Now I’m serving out my summer like a jail sentence: Just ninety-nine days till I can leave for college, and be done.

Day 4: A nasty note on my windshield makes it clear Julia isn’t finished. I’m expecting a fight when someone taps me on the shoulder, but it’s just Gabe, home from college and actually happy to see me. “For what it’s worth, Molly Barlow,” he says, “I’m really glad you’re back.”

Day 12: Gabe got me to come to this party, and I’m actually having fun. I think he’s about to kiss me—and that’s when I see Patrick. My Patrick, who’s supposed to be clear across the country. My Patrick, who’s never going to forgive me. 

Molly can hardly face her hometown, after everything that has happened. Her mom still shows no remorse in making her daughter’s love life into her next bestselling book. Her boyfriend has moved on with someone new. Her boyfriend’s brother, the guy Molly slept with, is working on getting her back. But she is still hated by most in her small town of Star Lake, New York. However, she has 99 days until college orientation and then she is out of here forever. 

Infuriating Story

  • I liked the narrative but the continuous back and forth of Molly’s intentions were a bit annoying. She went from being in the wrong to becoming justified in her position. It was too much for the amount of pages it was.
  • Throughout reading I had the sense of history repeating itself. Similar to the constant back and forth with Molly’s actions, I began dreading the days ahead for her.
  • It was incredibly infuriating to have this undecided decision of which boy should I choose? Not making a decision was only making Molly’s situation worse. I understand there wouldn’t be a book if it didn’t take her this long to make up her mind but, seriously, choose a guy already OR she could have chosen no one (choosing no guy and going along on your merry way is a decision that many book characters seem to forget).
  • I immensely enjoyed the snippets of non-boy drama scenes, like where she was struggling in picking a major for college or her girls’ night out. Those were probably the best parts because her boy trouble was so stressful that even her mom thought it would make a bestselling book.

Structure and Style

  • I absolutely love the cover, the inside cover, and the style of the book. It is just so pretty and really draws you in.
  • The structure is not something readers see every day. It was fresh and fun, counting up to (you guessed it!) 99 days until college orientation.
  • The setting takes place in Star Lake, New York. It’s interesting that the small town is highlighted. It’s always nice to hear about real places in fictional books, especially small towns (think Forks, Washington). Having the book set in a non-fictional place, it makes you a part of the story. It is a place that you could actually go visit to be a part of the world.
  • Some of the mentions, however, leave the book a bit outdated. You can immediately tell it was written by someone much older than a teen, which breaks the magic connection for the book and its reader. For example, our narrator mentioned the Catskill Game Farm, which, in fact, I frequented as a child but it permanently closed in 2006. In calculating the narrator’s age, when the book was set, and other factors, it is clear that the author just wanted to throw that one in there. It’s like those quirks of having a teen protagonist love 60s music or whatnot, it just makes the character less relatable than she could have been.

Messages that Stay with You

  • I think many of the books I’ve read are usually on the other side of the equation, where the other party feels wronged and lashes out. In seeing this side, where Molly is the victim of bullying, I think it’s good of Cotugno to bring our attention to it because, no matter what, bullying is wrong.
  • The message is powerful but not always clear. However, it is something that definitely should be heard.
  • Not only is there the somewhat unclear message about bullying, there is an abundantly clear message how boys don’t get ridiculed for sleeping with multiple girls but girls get bullied for messing with multiple boys.
  • As much as that message is clear in the end, the story itself is too frustrating to be anything else. Without the message to tie it together, there is actually little point to the whole story otherwise.


99 Days by Kate Cotugno was a letdown but had a resonating message and a fresh narrative which will be sure to keep you reading to the end. 

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