Monday, January 14, 2013

Review: What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton

what happens next colleen clayton poppy
What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton
Release Date: October 9, 2012 
Publisher: Poppy (Little, Brown) 
Source: Publisher for Review
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.
I had heard many, many amazing things about Colleen Clayton's book but it was Megan of Rather Be Reading's review for What Happens Happens Next that made me grab it from my tbr pile and read it. From the beginning, I knew that What Happens Next would deal with the tough issue of rape but it was how it was going to be handled that really got me eager to read it. What Happens Next is a well written, honest, powerful book that will make you think yet it has flaws. The characters are endearing and your heart will go out to Side, making you want to desperately save and protect her.

Cassidy "Sid" Murphy, our protagonist, is a character worth rooting for. She's honest and insecure (especially about her voluptuous body) and funny and makes mistakes. She's stubborn and there are times in this book where you want to make her wake up. But over all, Sid is a character you connect with. Colleen Clayton must be given props for writing a character as real as Sid. She's a character you connect with to a level where you can almost feel her fear and anger in yourself. In a very disgusting instance, not only did Dax take away Sid's virginity but he also cut a lock of her hair. No matter how hard she tires to forget Dax, she isn't able to and this plagues her daily life and. Te reader are able to feel it.

Another great aspect of What Happens Next would be the other character's in this book. For one, Sid's mother and younger brother were a big part of her life and I was very happy to see that they weren't missing. They played a large part in Sid's recovery from the attack but they also helped Sid not only forgive herself but for her to realize that she could move on; wanting to move on did not make her a bad person. I also very much loved Corey. Their relationship began off as friends and turned into something nicer, something real. His acceptance of Sid, no matter what, made me love him all the more. Though they did have their issues, their relationship resembled a normal high relationship that you can root for. By the time you meet Corey, you are probably invested in Sid's well being and hopefully you'll find that Corey was really great for her.

The plot was rather great but it did have its flaw. While I can understand that people deal with rape in many ways, I didn't feel like a lot of the extra plot themes: the eating disorder, the running, and in all honesty, some of the pacing was off. While many of these things did get resolved-and I was happy about this- I didn't feel like they were fleshed out enough. For example, I really wanted to see more of how Sid had an eating disorder. Clayton did a great job of looking into Sid's mind about everything but I really wanted more.

Overall, What Happens Next is one of the strongest books I've read that deal with rape. Though it had its flaws, Colleen Clayton created characters who steal you heart and make you feel all sorts of emotions. Some aspects of the plot will scare you and disgust you but the overall message that there is a light at the end of the very dark and scary tunnel will make reading this book worthwhile.
Cover Comments: 
There is something about this cover that I love but there is something that I don't like. While I feel like it has nothing to do with the book itself (well, from what I can see) it's rather pretty. 
Reviews Around Blogosphere: