Thursday, November 01, 2012

Review: What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton

What Happens Next
Colleen Clayton
Publication date: October 9th 2012
by Poppy

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.
*A copy was provided by Hachette Book Group Canada for review purposes*

Rarely have I read a book about rape that was as beautiful as it was heartbreaking. What Happens Next will leave an impression in my heart for a long time. I feel like I went through this journey with Sid. Through her fears and worries from being a victim of an act that will forever leave a scar. I felt for her through every page. Every last one.

Even though the core of this book deals with rape and the mental as well as physical ramifications of it, the even bigger story here is getting through it. Not accepting it, as that never happens, nor forgetting it, which is impossible, but understanding that it does not define who you are, and as hard as it may sound, you will learn to move on. Sid gets thrown into this deep abyss, herself, and I genuinely admired her every step of the way; from the good choices to the bad, she really shows us how strong a person can be, even when they're completely falling apart.

Family, friendship, and love are the main themes of this novel. Luckily, Sid has a fantastic support system that, even though they aren't aware, are the reason she's staying afloat. From the new guy she's met, to her adorable little brother, to even the neighbor's--freakishly large--dog, these are the types of supporting characters that make an already great book into an exceptional read filled with emotional depth. Corey, especially, is a character that I wish we would see more of in YA literature. Too often we have love interests with revolting personalities that we're supposed to swoon over. Finally, we have an honest to goodness fantastic guy who is worth all of our times. Corey is caring, kind, loving, and I want every teenage girl to read this if only for them to know that THIS is what they should be pining for. He is the perfect love interest. And not because of him being perfect, as he's not; he's realistically flawed with his own secrets, his own family troubles, and plenty of insecurities. His personality is what makes him beautiful, inside and out. And with every shy moment, with every shared laugh, with every hesitant touch, we watch them fall in love. In the best way teenage love could be written, Colleen makes us fall in love with them!

What Happens Next is not an easy novel to read. It deals with very serious, very hard issues that can easily take over someone's body, soul, and mind. But in the end, this is not about the negatives of such a trauma, but rather about learning to trust again; it's about finding solace in your friends and family; it's about finding love in the most unexpected of times. For anyone who has been a victim of assault, I hope that this book finds you. I hope that it gives you the strength to see that this broken road, it may just lead you to something worth fighting for.

5 Smokin' Hot Espressos