I received this book for free from Balzer + Bray in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Top Ten by Katie Cotugno
Published by Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: October 3rd 2017
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The newest stunning and unforgettable contemporary realistic romance from the New York Times bestselling author of 99 Days, Fireworks, and How to Love. Perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen, Jenny Han, and Morgan Matson.
Ryan McCullough and Gabby Hart are the unlikeliest of best friends. Prickly, anxious Gabby would rather do literally anything than go to a party. Ultra-popular Ryan is a hockey star who can get any girl he wants—and frequently does. But somehow their relationship just works; from dorky Monopoly nights to rowdy house parties to the top ten lists they make about everything under the sun.
Now, on the night of high school graduation, everything is suddenly changing—in their lives, and in their relationship. As they try to figure out what they mean to each other and where to go from here, they make a final top ten list: this time, counting down the top ten moments of their friendship.
Top Ten by Katie Cotugno was the perfect book to get me out of a weird little reading slump I was in. It’s one of those contemporaries with heart, heart ache, friendships, love, and everything that goes along with being a teenager in high school. Gabby and Ryan are two people who you’d never expect to be friends. She’s quiet and thinks nobody sees her in a crowd. Ryan is one of the star hockey players who can get anyone he wants. Gabby suffers from panic attacks and would rather stay far away from anything that could trigger one. Ryan is a partier and lives for the spotlight. As these things go, one fateful night brings the two together and the perfect opposites attract friendship is born. One of their favorite pastimes is creating lists of Top Ten things for whatever crazy (or meaningful) category they can come up with. On their graduation day, it’s time for a Top Ten list of the best moments of high school and thus this story begins.
This story is told nonlinearly with alternating POV with each chapter signaling a significant moment for Gabby and Ryan sometime during high school. The changing timelines of each chapter made it a little hard to follow at times, especially when something big happened that wasn’t mentioned in the story and now you’re having to fill in the pieces. I frequently had to flip back chapters and piece together what happened and in what order in order to continue my current chapter. It wasn’t hard to do but it did require effort. The whole purpose of the different timelines is because Gabby and Ryan are counting down their Top Ten Moments of High School list and logically, these moments wouldn’t occur in chronological order. Obviously, I know that but doing the chapters this way made it hard to keep up with. Maybe if Cotugno had Gabby and Ryan give a brief intro into that memory first before diving into it probably would’ve helped.
I liked how Cotugno didn’t end the book with your stereotypical cookie cutter ending that everyone reading probably thought was going to happen. I thought it was appropriate in the growth of the characters but at the same time, I was a little disappointed in it. I wanted things to go and end a certain way but oh well. It did feel a tiny bit rushed but in the grand scheme of things, I loved getting to see the growth, the ups, and the downs that Gabby and Ryan experienced in their relationship throughout high school. I loved the alternating perspectives of Gabby and Ryan especially because they both are so very different in personality. I also appreciated Cotugno’s approach to Gabby’s panic disorder. Ryan becomes such a calming force to Gabby and it really made this friendship they have special and uplifting.
Overall, Top Ten was exactly the kind of book I was looking to read and was fun to boot. Gabby and Ryan are one of those friendships you can’t help to root for to become something more and even if it doesn’t happen, you never want to see them not be friends. Despite them being opposites, they just worked. It’s worth a read if you’re a contemporary fan for sure!
Gabby and Ryan are friendship goals. Nonlinear chapters were a little confusing to keep up with but the alternating POV was done perfectly and gave great perspectives to each character. Really enjoyed it!