Call It What You Want

Call It What You Want

When his dad is caught embezzling funds from half the town, Rob goes from popular lacrosse player to social pariah. Even worse, his father’s failed suicide attempt leaves Rob and his mother responsible for his care. Everyone thinks of Maegan as a typical overachiever, but she has a secret of her own after the pressure got to her last year. And when her sister comes home fr...

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Title:Call It What You Want
Author:Brigid Kemmerer
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Call It What You Want Reviews

  • Alana • thebookishchick

    4.5/5 stars

    suicide attempt, talk of abortion, bullying

    Hands down, this is my favorite Brigid Kemmerer book so far! Her contemporary novels feed my soul every damn time. And I should have known that this would be the cure to my reading slump, considering I was hooked on this story by page five. Kemmerer has a way with words that makes her books almost impossi

    4.5/5 stars

    suicide attempt, talk of abortion, bullying

    Hands down, this is my favorite Brigid Kemmerer book so far! Her contemporary novels feed my soul every damn time. And I should have known that this would be the cure to my reading slump, considering I was hooked on this story by page five. Kemmerer has a way with words that makes her books almost impossible to put down. The relateability of her characters, their struggles, and the worlds she builds will have you done with her books in no time and craving more.

    Maegan and Rob are both just trying to keep their heads down and make it through the school year after two scandals change their lives. Maegan, the A+ student, is branded as a cheater after getting caught cheating on the SAT's, causing her and hundreds of others to have their results considered invalid. Rob, the ex-lacrosse superstar, is now known as the thief who helped his father embezzle money from families in their town. And to make matters worse his fathers failed suicide attempt has left Rob's father in a vegetative state that requires constant care from Rob and his mother. Right off the bat we have

    going for this story...and yet that isn't even the half of it.

    is literally a Lifetime movie on steroids and I was here for every second of it.

    As usual, Kemmerer's story has two unlikely people finding comfort in one another and there is literally nothing more wholesome than that to me. Her contemporaries typically have a slower-burn romance where the two characters grow as friends first before taking the next step in their relationship, and it works so well every single time. I was rooting for both Maegan and Rob individually and together throughout the entirety of this book.

    Maegan's sister comes home from her freshman year of college pregnant, which creates some pretty big tension in her household. Maegan's sister, Samantha, is faced with the decision of keeping her baby and potentially losing her full ride scholarship, giving the baby up for adoption, or having an abortion. And while Maegan and Sam get off to a rocky start in the beginning, it was so amazing to see their relationship come full-circle by the end to this story. I absolutely adore strong sister relationships.

    Over on Rob's side we have his ex-best friend bullying him and trying to humiliate him in front of the school, even though Rob is innocent. While trying to keep his head down Rob makes an unlikely friend, Owen, who comes from a struggling family...all thanks to Rob's father. Rob and Owen then begin a rather dangerous game of playing

    by trying to help out those who have less but taking from the well off families who won't miss whatever is taken from them. This puts Rob in a position of finding out that maybe there is more to what happened with his father than Rob originally knew. Did you think I was kidding when I said a Lifetime movie on steroids?

    All in all, I am so happy with the ending of this story and the growth of the characters. Kemmerer's contemporaries will always tug on your heart but the endings are sure to leave a big ol' grin on your face. I sincerely hope we get more of her contemporary novels in the future because y'all know I will be first in line to pick them up!

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  • jessica

    the other day, i took a break from reading this to go run some errands. and as i was in the produce section, looking at the bananas, all i could think was

    if a book that prompts that kind of angst doesnt deserve five stars, then i dont know what does.

    i think this story tackles really important topics for teens, such as loneliness, taking on/feeling the burdens of your parents, the cost of a mistake, and

    the other day, i took a break from reading this to go run some errands. and as i was in the produce section, looking at the bananas, all i could think was

    if a book that prompts that kind of angst doesnt deserve five stars, then i dont know what does.

    i think this story tackles really important topics for teens, such as loneliness, taking on/feeling the burdens of your parents, the cost of a mistake, and what it means to be a true friend. i could really relate to this on many different levels. so much so that i was constantly feeling bad for maegan and rob, because i have felt so similarly before.

    the only reason this isnt a perfect 5 is because i think the ending is a little rushed. the epilogue is okay, but i easily could have devoured another 100 pages that filled the reader in on everything that happened after it all played out. oh well. beggars cant be choosers.

    and honestly, kemmerer is 4/4 right now with her books being 5 stars reads for me. do i have a new favourite author to add to the list?

    all signs point to yes!

  • C.G. Drews

    I will full on softly cry on your arm right now, because I really loved this book, plus it stressed me most wholly out. And then the ending was the perfect mix of heartbreak and satisfying roundedness that I just want melt into this book and thank it for existing.

    I did actually think this was part of the

    series, but it isn't! So you can read this one without having read LTTL -- except tbh you should go read LTTL because

    I will full on softly cry on your arm right now, because I really loved this book, plus it stressed me most wholly out. And then the ending was the perfect mix of heartbreak and satisfying roundedness that I just want melt into this book and thank it for existing.

    I did actually think this was part of the

    series, but it isn't! So you can read this one without having read LTTL -- except tbh you should go read LTTL because it is one of my all-time forever favourites, so if you haven’t tried it yet and you want to ugly cry into your sleeve — READ IT!!! What could go wrong!!!!⁣

    We have two story lines interweaving here: Rob, who's treated as a class criminal because his father was caught for embezzlement and then tried to commit suicide and Rob found him...so he's super, super messed up. And then we have Maegan, who has the "Perfect" family and the pressure totally cracked her and she cheated on her SATs, got caught, got hundreds of other kids' tests cancelled and....is basically lowkey hated at school as a cheat. They are SOFT SAD MESSES, but in very reserved ways.

    He broke me in all sorts of ways, and there was a lot of weight to what he was dealing with vs Maegan's had lower stakes.

    also can we frikkin take a moment for how amazing the characters in this book are?! Even the secondary characters!! I love contemporaries that make you feel in the book, give the characters distinct voices and complex layers and personalities, and also smoosh in moments to make you laugh and ugly cry a little. Just here to say t h a n k s.

    Look he is an utter disaster and watching him make bad decisions STRESSED me out. Everyone had such low expectations of him, such utter disdain for something he had no control over (because his DAD was the criminal, not Rob), that he almost felt like he should just be a criminal anyway. And he was also soft and chivalrous, and could have such a snipey attitude. ERMASGOH I loved him a lot. Also stan boys who cry and are vulnerable. Also he READS. He loves BOOKS.

    The nerdy relatable girl who very quickly won me over to loving her because she's just so real. I honestly felt I

    Maegan and 10/10 would have liked her for a friend. She also has a really steadfast streak and doesn't get pushed around. And also her relationship with her sister, Sam, who used to be the Golden Child, but turns up home pregnant and angry...GAH. I love sister stories and they were SO realistic. They fought and then they'd totally be willing to die for each other. This is the most relatable content ever.

    Also shout out to OWEN, my son, I loved him so. He's so sarcastic and just sort of makes friends with Rob by reading An Ember in the Ashes over his shoulder and complaining when he turns the page too fast. Like dude has so much reason to hate Rob (Rob's dad screwed Owen's family over) but they somehow end up friends. Like I just LOVE how Brigid Kemmerer always does such epic friendships in her books ahhhh.

    //

    Look, this one gets me because it has so so many beautiful messages to explore, but also really important ones. It talks about loneliness and how you can lose yourself in your own silence. And there's a lot of discussion about money -- how some people can treat it so flippantly and how others are clinging to their last dollars, not sure what they're eating next. It made me ache so much to see the comparisons and parallels of privilege and suffering. Also it says REALLY good things about not judging people. Argh we can all have such high horses sometimes ("oh you're poor but you have an iphone?! pfft") but you NEVER NEVER know someone's full story, what they've lost or gained or saved for or been gifted. It is never anyone's place to judge someone who is poor.

    we could all do to have so so much more compassion. the messages totally wrapped up my heart and made me think and I love when books do that.

    I won't spoil it I JUST REALLY LOVED IT AHHH. Just [clenches fist] am such a fan.

    //

    It made me ache, in the best possible way, and it had such an incredible and heartfelt story line...with so so many topics that were discussed with such nuance. Including conflicted feelings. Like the ability to love someone and hate what they've done, how life is sometimes an uncontrollable trainwreck, how finding someone to hold onto is so powerful. I just will be here, holding tightly to this book.

  • ✨ A ✨

    I just-

    I just need more Kemmerer in my life okay 😭😭😭😭

    Buddy read with

    🌸

    _____

    WE FINALLY HAVE A

    !!! SHIT

    A NEW BRIGID KEMMERER YA CONTEMPORARY??

  • Sylvie

    4.5 STARS

    Also, I'm crying. I don't know if it's a happy cry or sad cry, but I am crying.

    I'll probably write a review when the level of my adrenaline has lowered and I'm not sobbing like a crazy anymore.

    *************

    My best friend gave me this book as a birthday present and I asked her out of curiosity why this book in particular (because it was already in my tbr but I never told her about it) so she said: ''Easy, I know your favorite genre is young ad

    4.5 STARS

    Also, I'm crying. I don't know if it's a happy cry or sad cry, but I am crying.

    I'll probably write a review when the level of my adrenaline has lowered and I'm not sobbing like a crazy anymore.

    *************

    My best friend gave me this book as a birthday present and I asked her out of curiosity why this book in particular (because it was already in my tbr but I never told her about it) so she said: ''Easy, I know your favorite genre is young adult and I know you love pink''. I guess I taught her well. 😅

    This is my first time reading a Brigid Kemmerer book, so I'm very excited!!!

  • Warda

    [4.5🌟]

    I’m gonna need Brigid Kemmerer to never stop writing her contemporaries. Her stories fill my soul right up.

    They’re always so intense, so heart-aching, with such wonderfully flawed and beautiful characters that are alive on those pages.

    She has a knack for writing stories that centre around broken teens coming from broken homes and having the readers follow them on their journey.

    What I like is that by the end of it, these characters aren’t healed. But they are on their way to carving the

    [4.5🌟]

    I’m gonna need Brigid Kemmerer to never stop writing her contemporaries. Her stories fill my soul right up.

    They’re always so intense, so heart-aching, with such wonderfully flawed and beautiful characters that are alive on those pages.

    She has a knack for writing stories that centre around broken teens coming from broken homes and having the readers follow them on their journey.

    What I like is that by the end of it, these characters aren’t healed. But they are on their way to carving their own path after having been beaten down and harshly and unfairly judged.

    I like that she focuses on offering different perspectives and outlooks, shattering the outer images that people base our entire lives on, and truly forming relationships with others for who they are. To judge less and focus on your own faults instead.

    Perspective is everything. Perspectives provide you with meaning and truth and the source.

    I just really appreciate it when characters are taken apart like that and Kemmerer is at the top for me for character analysis and incredible character arcs. She writes it so damn well.

    I could not stop reading this book. I wanted a story that could leave a few bruises on my heart and I got exactly that. I couldn’t get enough!

    ————————————————

    Kemmerer, I’m ready for you to punch me in the heart again.

    Buddy reading with

    !

    We’re proudly obsessed with this author. 🌚

  • megs_bookrack

    Rob, a once popular high school lacrosse player, has fallen from grace but not on account of his own actions. His father, the local financial planner, was caught red-handed swindling from clients and everyone suspects that Rob knew. Even though he did intern at his father's office, he swears he had no idea what was going on.

    As everything is taken from his family, his father attempts suicide, leaving him in partially vegetative state where he requires around the clock care. As if thi

    Rob, a once popular high school lacrosse player, has fallen from grace but not on account of his own actions. His father, the local financial planner, was caught red-handed swindling from clients and everyone suspects that Rob knew. Even though he did intern at his father's office, he swears he had no idea what was going on.

    As everything is taken from his family, his father attempts suicide, leaving him in partially vegetative state where he requires around the clock care. As if this weren't bad enough, Rob now finds himself a social pariah with no real friends to support him. He has a lot of anger and begins lashing out at those around him.

    Maegan, a classic overachiever, has been living in her older sister's shadow for years. Feeling pressured to succeed, Maegan cheats while sitting for her SAT causing consequences for everyone in the room.

    Subsequently branded a liar and a cheat, Maegan sees her social standing plummet as well. Slogging through just focusing on keeping her head down all she wants is to make it through each school day without too much embarrassment.

    When they are paired together for a calculus project, neither Rob nor Maegan are happy about it. They were never friends before their lives fell apart and certainly don't want to be now. Begrudgingly, they begin to meet up to work on their project and pretty quickly learn that you cannot always believe what you hear about people.

    They begin to confide in one another and discover they have more in common than they ever could have guessed.

    Nobody writes teenage angst quite like Brigid Kemmerer. She puts her characters through hell but the growth they are able to achieve is truly a beautiful thing.

    Rob and Maegan's relationship has its complications but it is also sweet, kind and pure. The writing is smooth and highly readable. The friendships were so well done. Rob and Owen. So many feelings.

    There are a lot of hard-hitting topics included in this too. So much. The thing that I found most moving was the idea of learning to forgive yourself; of not letting one mistake define who you are. I think a lot of us should be reminded of that. Be kind to yourself. We are all human, we all make mistakes and it is okay to let go of that and move forward.

    There was also a strong narrative between Maegan and her sister. As with many sisters, they certainly were not lacking in the drama department. I did like how much their relationship evolved over the course of the story and how they learned to see one another as they are, not how they imagine each other to be.

    Overall, I felt this book has a lot to offer and is quite moving. I would definitely recommend it to readers looking for a hard-hitting contemporary. Kemmerer is an autobuy author for me and yet again, she did not disappoint! Well done.

  • Lola

    I am always impressed when authors are able to successfully alternate between genres. I have read A CURSE SO DARK AND LONELY from this author not so long ago and it was an incredible fantasy. CALL IT WHAT YOU WANT is a contemporary romance devoid of any magic and curses, but it’s a gripping story nonetheless and proof that authors should be encouraged to explore multiple genres and topics. Sometimes they fail, but they still deserve points for trying. In her case, Brigid Kemmerer can write anyth

    I am always impressed when authors are able to successfully alternate between genres. I have read A CURSE SO DARK AND LONELY from this author not so long ago and it was an incredible fantasy. CALL IT WHAT YOU WANT is a contemporary romance devoid of any magic and curses, but it’s a gripping story nonetheless and proof that authors should be encouraged to explore multiple genres and topics. Sometimes they fail, but they still deserve points for trying. In her case, Brigid Kemmerer can write anything and everything because she fully understands emotions, compassion and the concepts of intention, motivation and dedication. She manages to breathe that knowledge into her own characters so that they, too, can be three-dimensional human beings who have a purpose.

    This isn’t an easy story to read. It’s fast-paced, so technically the amazing reader in you could potentially finish it in one or two sittings, but personally I needed to take a couple of breaks here and there. It has been a while since I’ve read a YA book so heavy in content. I’m not new to conflict and tension or any topic that makes you feel anything but happy, but it’s rare for characters to face so many struggles in one story. Every single main and secondary character has something going on here. For instance, Rob needs to take care of his father who tried to commit suicide. He also needs to deal with his new status as an outcast and his former best friend placing a target on his back. He and his mom also face money problems. Then there’s Maegan who is caught between being the good girl and following her instincts that tell her to give Rob a chance and to help her sister who is pregnant and alone.

    I’m not sure I smiled once reading this but it was a very realistic, dramatic and overall captivating story. There are beautiful moments, of course, especially between Maegan and Rob and Maegan and her sister. The emphasis is less on the action, the plot, and more on what the characters are feeling and thinking about what happens in their lives at any given moment and what they themselves make happen. It’s slightly predictable but the characters managed to surprise me at times, too. I can’t wait for the author’s future release, whatever genre it may be.

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  • emma

    i did not succeed.

    review to come

    ------------

    me attempting to enjoy a Brigid Kemmerer book, take three. and......action

    (mucho thanks to Bloomsbury for the ARC)

  • Brigid

    Rob and Maegan's story is out in the world today, friends! The idea for this book started when I said to myself, "What if I took Robin Hood ... and put him in a modern day high school?" I hope you love the story, and I can't wait to hear what you think. Thank you all so much for being a part of my dream.

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