In 99 Days, a youthful love triangle leads only to more confusion, for the book’s characters and the reader. Image: YouTube
Author: Katie Cotugno
The saying “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” applies in spades to 99 Days by Katie Cotugno.
The cover – Polaroid shots that combine to show a couple clearly in love – got me excited. I love chick lit and this looked like a fun read. Maybe it’s a love story told in 99 days; maybe it’s about a couple falling in love over that span, or just Cotugno waxing lyrical about love, I thought.
Boy, was I in for a shock. Really, the book should be renamed How Not To Mess Up Your Life In 99 Days. Because it turns out that it’s about Molly Barlow having to endure 99 days in her hometown before she can escape to college and leave the scandal behind – a scandal that begins when her mother writes a book and tells the world that Molly cheated on her boyfriend Jeremy with Jeremy’s brother Gabriel. While Molly tries to keep mum and avoid all conflict during the 99 days, she just keeps making the same mistakes.
Honestly, I grew to love and hate this book. I guess a book that can make you feel a mixture of emotions is a pretty good one?
I found Molly annoying at times but she felt like a real person, too. She made decisions that I loathed but if I was in her situation, perhaps I would have done the same. It’s easy telling people what they should or shouldn’t do, until you’re in the same, exact situation.
I also took into account the fact that her mother was almost 40 when she adopted Molly, possibly in an ill-considered attempt to fill a lack in her life. Maybe that’s why Molly is like this, making all the wrong decisions because she lacks proper guidance, or perhaps she’s just crying out for attention.
All that could explain why, with love within her grasp, Molly makes cringe-worthy choices and why she can never seem to learn from her mistakes!
Of course, I wished for a fairytale, happy ending but, despite screaming inwardly in frustration at Molly’s choices, I have to say that she did get the ending she wanted.
Patrick and Gabriel seem to be as confused as Molly. At times, I felt like they were just playing with her feelings, teenage boys trying to outdo each other – sound familiar?
The rest of the characters are pretty average, and I wish Cotugno had explored some of them a little bit more. Even Molly isn’t given a lot of depth, and I wish her thoughts and actions had been drawn out more. I wanted to know what exactly she was thinking, why she made some of the silliest decisions ever, why she didn’t talk to her mother or at least acknowledge her more.
Still, despite feeling frustrated at the characters half the time, and despite the sometimes overly short chapters, I think the storyline is good. I would still recommend this book, perhaps to those who have been through the struggle of love and rejection; it might make for a nice enough companion on those quiet days.