Review: What Happens Next

What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton
Release Date ~ October 9, 2012
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
ISBN13: 9780316198684
ARC received from HBG Canada for review

Goodreads Synopsis:
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.

The are some books that leave a mark on you. Those are usually the messy stories.

What Happens Next is exactly that kind of YA book. It's messy because it the characters are put in difficult situations where they ask hard questions. It's a book that challenges the readers preconceived notions of what we believe and we value. Colleen Clayton's debut novel is the kind that turned me upside down and inside out.

  1. How to deal with consequences:

    Sid is young. She's young and she's growing up. And she makes some choices. Those choices lead to heartbreak and pain beyond compare. There are a lot of books out there that have characters who go through incredibly trying circumstances, so this isn't new. But what is different here is that Sid is absolutely determined to fight her way through this. Importantly this a story where the characters learn not only to face consequences (fair or unfair) but how to deal with them which just isn't addressed nearly enough.
  2. Another look at sexual assault:

    I'm grateful that more authors and readers are engaging in discussions on sexual assault. Our perception of sexual assault has changed drastically in recent decades. I believe that's a good thing. And I'm also thankful to have books like What Happens Next that explores the story of a girl who, in retrospect, made a poor choice and was deeply harmed. Sid has to wonder if she's to blame for what happened to her (which is tragic, truly). Sid also struggles with how to work out the pain of an event that she doesn't even remember, a different kind of pain altogether.
  3. An uplifting story:

    Sid's story isn't picture perfect, Colleen keeps it realistic for her readers. Sid's story, however, is inspiring and an encouragement to all of us. The story of a girl who triumphs over the harm done to her and struggles with herself is beautiful. It's remarkable, just like every individual who is ever sexually assaulted and comes through it. And the relationship development is so lovely and sweet! 
There are definitely a number of issues and problems that this book brings up and deals with; it can be overwhelming at times. There's a lot going on here for one little book, and there's just so much to say about these various issues (rape, eating disorders, self-esteem, bullying, drugs, etc). 

1 comment:

Rachelia G said...

I have a (signed!) copy of this book sitting on my shelf and I need to get to it! I've seen some varied reactions to it but that makes me even more curious. Glad to see you really liked this one, and I agree, sometimes messy stories are the ones that affect us the most. I think that's because humans are complex and messy -- we can't be neatly tied up, our plots resolved, etc.

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