Thursday, October 11, 2012

What Happens Next ~ Colleen Clayton (earc) review

What Happens Next
Poppy (LBYR)
October 9, 2012
320 pages
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The school ski trip was supposed to be Cassidy ('Sid") and her two best friends Kirsten and Paige having the time of their lives, hitting the slopes.  It turned out so very differently, though.

Sid, the girl who, yes is a cheerleader - but the one at the bottom of the pyramid and the disliked by the others - who boys seem to notice only for her big chest and have always made fun of her curly red hair, gets hit on by a college guy. Dax, the older guy who notices Sid on the slopes invites her to a party. Finally the girl getting noticed, Sid has to go.

It doesn't matter if going means sneaking out.

But that night, Dax turns out not to be who she thought. Sid goes expecting a party but ends up having everything taken from her.

Unable to remember how everything happened, Sid can't bring herself to tell anyone. And it only drives her farther from her friends and the life she had before the ski trip.

With the need to start something new, Sid drops one of her classes and takes the only available option: A/V. The new schedule introduces Corey, "The Living Stoner" Livingston to Sid's life, as well and Sid finds that he may not be what everyone says he is - just as she isn't, either.

Can Corey help Sid find who she was - or who she needs to be now? Or does she even, really, know who that is?

Sid is a girl who is frustrating but in one of the best ways for a book character to be. You want her to just do something already, but it's absolutely understandable why she is not doing that something. At the same time that shes so frustrating, I also wanted to give her a hug and help make something better for her. In a novel where the character really needs to be sympathetic, Sid definitely is.

The style of What Happens Next is interesting. It doesn't feel as heavy as some of the other titles I've read on similar subjects, but then certain passages, certain sentences just grab your heart or hit you in the gut. They stand out more because the whole narrative isn't (and isn't trying to be) so hard hitting.

It's not a light-hearted story by any means but Sid's state of mind keeps really sets the tone for how the story is told. Things aren't as heavy or dark all the time, at least on the surface because she's trying to keep a normal face for everyone. It is, ultimately, only a facade, though and the novel reflects that. The glimpses we get verbally as well as with Sid's thoughts and actions really reflect the trouble she's experiencing.

I love that what happened to Sid - and what happens next to her while being the story, aren't the whole tale. There are secondary characters, one in particular, who really help What Happens Next shine. The transition we see in Sid is great. We're able to see the negative effects on her, those that she doesn't even see entirely aware of and then, maybe, see her emerge on the other side of it.

Clayton's done an excellent job with this complex character in a great book about moving on, moving forward.

Rating: 8/10


thanks to LBYR for the e-galley through NetGalley


  1. I've been wanting to read this. I'm glad you enjoyed it because I wasn't sure if I would. Sometimes stories like this can be too depressing for me.

    Jesse @ Pretty In Fiction

    1. I really liked that this one managed to handle the subject matter as well as it did without getting too heavy or depressing.

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