AUTHOR Colleen Clayton
PUBLICATION October 9th 2012 by Poppy
READ September 30 - October 01, 2012
SOURCE Hachette Canada for review
How can you talk about something you can’t remember?I loved this book. What Happens Next and I had an intense relationship for two days in which I couldn't stop reading it and when I was forced to put it down I would go about my day, think about the amazing characters and find myself with rogue tears falling from my eyes. Collen Clayton has weaved a story that is full of heart and unflinching in its brutal, uncomfortable honesty. I think it's safe to say that these characters are ones that I will be thinking about for a long time to come, and I wish I had some of them in my life.
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 connected with Cassidy (Sid) in a way that I don't think I have ever connected with a fictional character before. I was that girl, I was 5'10" in junior high and filled out really early, I was always getting looked at, and approached by guys who were much older than I. Now this wouldn't have been an issue that I would have even thought about, except there was also the fact that guys my age never gave me a second look. I was the Green Giant. I never got danced with in junior high, I sat on the benches and watched everyone else dancing. So needless to say, I understood our main character on a very personal level and I think that helped me to understand her motivations perfectly. I was so heartbroken for her, she didn't have a bad life by any means but she got herself into trouble and the downward spiral just kept going and going and before she knew it things were out of control and she was at a point of no return. Sure, I wanted to shake her throughout and scream "Tell somebody!" but it was made perfectly clear why she didn't.
The people in Sid's life are all some of the best developed secondary characters I've had the pleasure of reading as well. Corey Livingston was just amazing. He was kind, caring and yet when he needed to he had just the right amount of pressure to get his point across and open Sid up. I loved him, I really did. Sid's friends made me angry but once again, I didn't necessarily agree with them shutting Sid out like they did, but I understood why they did it, so I could go along with it and it felt natural. A real standout for me was Sid's mom. She was a parent and she was 100% present, she was there when her daughter needed to talk and she was very lighthearted and that was definitely endearing for me.
What Happens Next deals with self-image, rape, eating disorders and just the trials and tribulations of being a teenager so well. Every thread of this story came together perfectly in the end and every aspect was handled so well. I appreciated how brutally honest it was and was so happy that it was written in the first person because I really felt as if I was Sid. This is an amazing debut novel and I will definitely be looking out for whatever Colleen Clayton puts out in the future.