Sunday, October 28, 2012

{REVIEW} WHAT HAPPENS NEXT by COLLEEN CLAYTON

What Happens NextSeries: Stand alone
Genre: Contemporary YA
Publisher: Poppy
Publication Date: 10/9/12
Format: Hardcover
Pages:  320
Source: Received from publisher for review.
How can you talk about something you can’t remember?

Before the ski trip, sixteen-year-old Cassidy “Sid” Murphy was a cheerleader (at the bottom of the pyramid, but still...), a straight-A student, and a member of a solid trio of best friends. When she ends up on a ski lift next to handsome local college boy, Dax Windsor, she’s thrilled; but Dax takes everything from Sid—including a lock of her perfect red curls—and she can’t remember any of it.

Back home and unable to relate to her old friends, Sid drops her college prep classes and takes up residence in the A/V room with only Corey “The Living Stoner” Livingston for company. But as she gets to know Corey (slacker, baker, total dreamboat), Sid finds someone who truly makes her happy. Now, if she can just shake the nightmares and those few extra pounds, everything will be perfect... or so she thinks.

Witty and poignant, Colleen Clayton’s stunning debut is a story about moving on after the unthinkable happens.
Sometimes... we all come across a book that speaks to us, maybe a bit too loudly. A book that strikes a forgotten (or well-ignored) nerve.  What Happens Next has unnerved me. As a teenager, I had a lot in common with Sid Murphy. I know what it is like to be fourteen years old and have grown men hitting on you. To feel uncomfortable in your own body. And though I didn't experience what Sid goes through in this story, I have been almost assaulted (if mildly assaulted exists). And it sucks. So needless to say, I am sitting here with a lot of overwhelming emotions, and not quite sure what to do with them. So I'm doing my best to compartmentalize my personal issues, keep them separate from the review. But I really don't think that is entirely possible.

Honestly? Remaining detached and objective is so, so difficult when you read a book like What Happens Next. Colleen Clayton did a phenomenal job of making her Sid into a character that is so real, so utterly, heartbreakingly alive. Tall, well-developed, looks years older than she is:

"The summer I turned eleven, I was attacked by mutant hormones. They invaded my body and sent all the baby fat in my belly, limbs, and face screaming directly into my boobs, hips, and ass. I filled out so fast, I actually got stretch marks. The boys my own age either dove for cover or sat around thinking of funny tit names to call me. But I'd get all kinds of lusty looks from older guys- teachers, coaches, neighbors, old farts in grocery stores."

Sid has been defined by her striking features her whole life. She doesn't feel safe or comfortable in her own body. When she is sexually assaulted, with no memory of the event, Sid withdraws. She loses her best friends, her cheerleading, her voice. The only bright spot is Corey Livingston, the school stoner, who slowly becomes Sid's only true friend. Hoping to not attract attention to her body, Sid determines to take control and change it by running, starving, purging. But no matter how hard she tries, the truth won't stay away forever.

Now at this point, some people begin to wonder: Why doesn't Sid ask for help? Why doesn't she tell someone what happened to her? I came across a few reviews that stated those questions and it is so upsetting, and condescending, to me, when I see that frustration stated in a review. The answer is staggeringly simple: Sid is a sixteen year old girl who got drugged and raped. She is scared. Scared of the questions, the accusations, the implications. She is scared of the pain in her mother's eyes, the pity on the faces of her friends, the scorn of those who think she was asking for it. Any of us, as adults, can sit back and pontificate on what the proper course of action would have been; it makes us feel wise, right? But when you are a sixteen year old girl and your body has been used as some asshole's blow-up doll, you're hours away from home, and you can't even give a proper explanation...well, excuse me, but that may call for some understanding, not judgment. It honestly terrifies and saddens me to think that someone may treat a person in their life the same way they treat the characters in books.

Maybe I've brought to much of my own thoughts to this review and I'm okay with that. Each person has their own life experiences that impact their reading experience. These are mine.

What Happens Next is a book that should be handed out to every single teenager everywhere. Boys can learn what it is like to be a girl, objectified every day by careless comments. They can also learn to be a "Corey", seriously one of the best book boys ever. Every girl should read through Sid's experience and learn that it is okay to be scared, but it is also okay to tell. They can learn empathy for other girls, and most importantly: No matter what or how it happenes, being violated is never, ever your fault.

What Happens Next is a life-changing book. The emotional impact was so honest, so overwhelming, that I almost couldn't bear it, at times. It is a book that can prompt discussion, teach, open doors. I am so completely grateful that I had the opportunity to read it. I appreciate Poppy who brought it to the readers. I thank, from the very bottom of my heart, author Colleen Clayton for writing such a remarkable story of a girl who can change lives.


Favorite Quote:

"I spin around and it makes me dizzy and I feel like I'm high. My face is about to break in half from smiling. Then I look over at Corey, who is watching me with a tenderness that makes me want to crawl inside his heart, pitch a tent, and set up camp forever." 


You can purchase What Happens Next at:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
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41 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thank you, Stephanie. It's easy when a book makes you feel so much.

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  2. I totally agree, hun, this must happen to so many girls and while we hope they would have someone to tell it's all too true that for a lot of them there will instead be people who judge them or blame them, so they keep quiet.

    I have to get myself a copy of this, stat! what a great review!

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    1. It's such a shame. :-(

      I can't wait to see what you think, Mandee!

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  3. Andrea! This review made me cry! You captured everything so so perfectly. I couldn't (and didn't) have said it better myself. This was such an amazing story and I agree that every teenage girl should read it and that there need to be more Corey's in the world!! This was such a poignant story, and one that I still think about daily!

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    1. Awww, Jenni! Your review was amazing and the first one to get me excited for this. I'm so happy we have this book to bond over.

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  4. What a review! My favourite review of a book so far, I absolutely loved it, and I cannot wait to read this book, thank you Andrea.

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    1. Oh,thank you so much! I hope you love WHN as much as I do!

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  5. Wow, this sounds amazing! And life changing, as you said. Amazing review.

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    1. Thank you! WHN has the power to help so many people.

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  6. Amazing review!
    I agree with @Jenni, you captured everything so well! And I know exactly what you mean about a book speaking to you too loudly, I was as affected by a book I just read a couple of days ago (The Sea of Tranquility, which has a similar theme and life-changing impact) as you were by this one. I need to read this asap!

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    1. Thank you! It's such an amazing feeling. And thanks for the reminder. I've been meaning to get Sea of Tranquility. Katja is a sweetheart!

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  7. Oh wow - this one looks intense. Great review. Thanks for sharing.

    Valerie

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  8. This sounds so emotional and intense. I need to read this book. Thank you for the wonderful and very heartfelt review!!

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    Replies
    1. Val and Amy, Thank you so much! I hope you both get the opportunity to read WHN.

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  9. I've had this one for a couple of months. I really want to read it but it sounds very intense. Sometimes I have to mentally and emotionally prepare myself to read a book like this. I'm really glad you liked it and your review is just awesome.

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    1. Yes! Be prepared, WHN is not a light read, but so worth it.
      Thank you!

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  10. I NEED a copy of this book NOW !

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  11. Oh boy. This sounds really deep. I'd definitely be interested in reading it at some point. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. You must read it in order to maintain BFF status. :-)

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  12. A brilliant & beautifully written review Andrea! I hadn't heard of this books before now but I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for it.

    Thankyou for sharing.

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    1. Thank you so much, Sharon! I hope you find the opportunity to read WHN.

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  13. I will most definitely be reading this book and making my sisters read it as well! From your review I can just tell it is one of those books that send an important message and sticks with you. Thank you for this review and for introducing me to this book!

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  14. This sounds really intense and I can identify with the not feeling comfortable in my body, but not with all the themes.

    Thanks for review.
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

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  15. Wow. I've heard of this everywhere but your review made me want to read it SO much more. It's so sad to think girls are assaulted. I definitely will read it. Great review, thank you! :) new follower!

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  16. Wow, great review! Now I'm even more eager to read it!

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  17. I'm going to come back and read this later, Andrea because I'm set to read and review it soon. :)

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  18. Ok,wow, that is such an amazing review! I'm definitely sold and am going to make sure my library has it so I can read it. It sounds absolutely amazing, and any book that impacts a person that strongly is a must read!

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    1. Thank you so much, Camdace. WHN belongs in all libraries.

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  19. Your review was perfect! Any book that can touch you emtionally and leave you with a sense of realism is a winner in my book. This does sound like a great book to recommend to teenagers.

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  20. Such a great review, Andrea. I've had similar experiences to yours and the character in this book's, and it sounds like the author handled a tricky subject really well. I definitely need to pick this one off the shelf to read soon!

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    1. Thank you so much, Wendy. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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  21. Wow, what a heartfelt and emotional review, makes me want to read this right now. Well done Andrea!

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  22. You know, the premise for this book was good and had me mildly interested, but it was truly your fabulous and thought-provoking review that convinced me to go to Goodreads and add it to my TBR list. This book sounds utterly amazing. It touches on very intense and real emotions. I love, not that similar events happened to you, but that you felt such a deep connection to Sid. Great review!!

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  23. Ellen and Lauren, Thabk you so much. I hope you both find the time to read WHN soon.

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  24. I didn't know there were reviews out there that were complaining about her not reporting. I think it's a common thing for a rape victim to try and hide or bury the event because of shame. People should have more compassion. I loved her support group, even when she couldn't say anything, they made is possible for her to finally come out with it. Corey was an amazing real, normal love interest. I loved him. LOVE that quote, Andrea. And sorry for what you had to go through as a teenager, thank you for sharing that bit of personal. Wonderful review. :)

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