Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Book Review: 9 Days and 9 Nights by Katie Cotugno.

Product details:
Publisher: Balzer & Bray.
Hardcover, 272 pages.
Release date: May 1st 2018.
Rating:  4 out of 5.
Ages: 13+
Source: Received from publisher for review.

The irresistible sequel to the bestselling 99 Days.

Molly Barlow isn’t that girl anymore. A business major at her college in Boston, she’s reinvented herself after everything that went down a year ago . . . after all the people she hurt and the family she tore apart.

Slowly, life is getting back to normal. Molly has just said “I love you” to her new boyfriend, Ian, and they are off on a romantic European vacation together, starting with scenic London. But there on a Tube platform, the past catches up to her in the form of Gabe, her ex, traveling on his own parallel vacation with new girlfriend Sadie.

After comparing itineraries, Ian ends up extending an invite for Gabe and Sadie to join them on the next leg of their trip, to Ireland. Sadie, who’s dying to go there, jumps at the prospect. And Molly and Gabe can’t bring themselves to tell the truth about who they once were to each other to their new significant others.

Now Molly has to spend nine days and nine nights with the boy she once loved, the boy whose heart she shredded, without Ian knowing. Will she make it through as new, improved Molly, or will everything that happened between her and Gabe come rushing back?


When we last met Molly Barlow, she was right in the middle of her very own real-life soap opera, a dramatic tale of illicit romance, betrayal and revenge. It’s safe to say that back then, despite her penchant for nerdy Netflix documentaries, Molly was not the shy, retiring type: rather she was a girl who threw caution to the wind and loved to live in the moment, allowing her heart to indulge in its every forbidden desire. Molly was not a girl who ever learned from her mistakes. In fact, you could say that Molly excelled at making the same mistake over and over and over again. The name of that mistake: Gabe Donnelly. The drama: Molly used to date Gabe’s younger brother Patrick. The absolute betrayal of it all: Molly was still dating Patrick when she hooked up with Gabe. And that’s just for starters.


One year on, it seems that Molly has finally learned from all those mistakes she made back in Star Lake. Now a college student, Molly is a much quieter version of who she used to be; cautious where she used to be carefree, no longer taking risks, never ever making mistakes. There’s a reason for that, of course: the fallout of her relationship with Gabe, the aftermath of which brought its own unexpected happenings. But now Molly has a new boyfriend: a fresh start in the name of a boy called Ian who is easy-going and kind, a boy who, importantly, knows nothing at all about Molly and Gabe. Ian is one of life’s good guys, and so Molly is determined to be the best version of herself for him. This may not be the kind of passionate all-consuming romance that Molly shared with Gabe, but maybe that’s not what Molly needs right now. After all, look at how that turned out.  This is a different kind of love: a safe new love for Molly’s safe new life.

When we catch up with Molly, she’s happily coupled-up with Ian, even exchanging ‘I love you’s’ as they wander round the streets of London at the start of their European vacation. Rather, Molly and Ian march purposefully round the streets of London, as Molly is no longer a girl who wanders – she is a girl with an itinerary – and she sticks to it. However, one night, Molly decides to throw caution to the wind, ditching her dinner reservation to go hang out in a bar, where she meets….Gabe. And his new girlfriend, Sadie. Ian, oblivious to all the Star Lake drama, decides to invite Molly’s ex and his new girlfriend to join them on the next leg of their trip to Ireland. I told you Molly’s life was a soap opera! What follows is a whole lot of awkward. I mean, imagine. I could not think of anything worse! It’s also telling, though, that Molly can’t bring herself to tell Ian the truth about her and Gabe. Molly can’t be herself with Ian, because she feels ashamed of the girl she used to be.

I absolutely adored 99 Days by Katie Cotugno and despite all of Molly’s faults, I loved her as a character too, so it pained me to find Molly hurting in this book. Molly has been through a lot since we last spent time with her and she’s lost a little bit of the vibrant, fearless girl she used to be in the process. Now she has to spend 9 days and 9 nights with the boy she used to love. Gabe. Her favourite mistake. Is Molly about to make the same mistake all over again? Or is spending time with Gabe exactly what Molly needs to recapture the spirit of who she used to be?

Another winner from Katie Cotugno, 9 Days and 9 Nights is a heart-felt, engaging YA contemp of relationships, friendships, and the importance of being honest and true to yourself and to others. The European trip (London, middle-of-nowhere Co. Kerry, Ireland, and Paris) is also a whole lot of fun and makes this one to add to those summer reading lists!


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