Title: Top Ten
Author: Katie Cotugno
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Ryan McCullough and Gabby Hart are the unlikeliest of friends. Introverted, anxious Gabby would rather do literally anything than go to a party. Ryan is a star hockey player who can get any girl he wants—and does, frequently. But against all odds, they became not only friends, but each other’s favorite person. Now, as they face high school graduation, they can’t help but take a moment to reminisce and, in their signature tradition, make a top ten list—counting down the top ten moments of their friendship:
10. Where to begin? Maybe the night we met.
9. Then there was our awkward phase.
8. When you were in love with me but never told me…
7. Those five months we stopped talking were the hardest of my life.
6. Through terrible fights…
5. And emotional makeups.
4. You were there for me when I got my heart broken.
3. …but at times, you were also the one breaking it.
2. Above all, you helped me make sense of the world.
1. Now, as we head off to college—how am I possibly going to live without you?
I didn’t think it would happen, but I’ve finally read a book of Katie Cotugno’s that I wasn’t thrilled about. I’ve never given her anything less than a five star until this novel. It won’t stop me from reading her stuff in the future, but I don’t think it was nearly as good as 99 Days of How to Love.
Gabby reminded me so much of myself. She hates being put in social situations, doesn’t want to be in a crowd, hates parties and constantly thinks she makes mistakes and dwells on the past. Literally. Me. There were moments I thought, ‘Shit, Cotugno, how’d you get into my brain and write my anxiety so well?’ She did a great job at the ‘panicers’ and anxiety, but I found myself really annoyed with Gabby for how she treated Ryan and her sisters sometimes. She came off as a total ass and I know she didn’t mean to, but you can only blame the anxiety for so long.
I was also put off my Gabby being bi, I’m not a big fan about ready non-heterosexual romance (I’m not against this, I’m just not a fan of reading something I can’t relate to like that). I feel like if you’re going to make a character bi/gay/trans it needs to be in the synopsis, especially since this played a huge role in the book. I may be the only one who feels this way, and forgive me if I sound ignorant, but that’s how I felt.
Out of Order Plot
How to Love was written in a THEN/NOW alternating chapters, which I loved. This novel however did a countdown that was mixed in some areas. Had it been written their senior year, backwards until you get to when they meet each other, that would have been easier to follow.
For Ryan and Gabby being best friends, I feel like they never actually knew how to handle one another, they seemed to constantly be stepping around their feelings for each other. This drove me absolutely nuts! Ryan was always worried about setting off Gabby and Gabby was always worried about pissing off Ryan. It didn’t seem healthy for either of them. And poor Ryan! I felt like Gabby was constantly messing with his emotions!