Title: Top Ten
Author: Katie Cotugno
Published: 03 October 2017 | Balzer + Bray
Date Read: 01 October 2017
Ryan McCullough and Gabby Hart are the unlikeliest of friends. Introverted, anxious Gabby would rather do literally anything than go to a party. Ryan is a star hockey player who can get any girl he wants—and does, frequently. But against all odds, they became not only friends, but each other’s favorite person. Now, as they face high school graduation, they can’t help but take a moment to reminisce and, in their signature tradition, make a top ten list—counting down the top ten moments of their friendship:
10. Where to begin? Maybe the night we met.
9. Then there was our awkward phase.
8. When you were in love with me but never told me…
7. Those five months we stopped talking were the hardest of my life.
6. Through terrible fights…
5. And emotional makeups.
4. You were there for me when I got my heart broken.
3. …but at times, you were also the one breaking it.
2. Above all, you helped me make sense of the world.
1. Now, as we head off to college—how am I possibly going to live without you?
*ARC Kindly provided by Balzer + Bray thru Edelweiss for Review*
It’s been awhile since I’ve read a Katie Cotugno book and a contemporary book in general. Top Ten is about Ryan and Gabby – best friends – who are anticipating their high school graduation and after years of friendship, they can’t help but reminisce different moments of their friendship. They do it in a very systematic way which is by writing a Top Ten List.
Top Ten has a very interesting premise and as a reader who is very into best friend’s type of story, I’m immediately totally up into this story. However, the story was not I’m expecting it to be. It lacked something that I can’t put my finger into. It just didn’t deliver the story I was expecting from the blurb that we all had before reading.
While the writing is okay, the timeline of the story really confused me. This is not the first book that I’ve read that jumps from one time frame to the other, but on this book’s case, it confused me! There has been a lot of back and forth between the Gabby and Ryan’s perspective from different timelines.
From the beginning, we all know that Ryan and Gabby are best friends, but do you consider people who constantly fight with each other about nearly everything as best friends? What they have is really an unlikely relationship because they don’t just bicker and tease each other. They fight. A LOT. I came to the point where I wonder why these two are even “best friends”. Given, the chemistry was there from the very first chapter, but I was looking for the build-up and relationship transition, but nada, there’s none of that as well. Just like their friendship, their romance is confusing and angsty and there’s a lot of back and forth.
Gabby is a girl who suffers a major social anxiety. I do understand and tried to understand where she’s coming from, but for most the story, she felt flat for me. But one thing that did surprised me with her character is her bisexuality. I really appreciate how she explored her feelings and sexuality and finding out who she really is. Ryan, on the other hand, is one of their school’s hockey player and is a social butterfly. Though, I do felt major “kilig” on him at times, his character also felt flat to me.
I can consider our main characters okay but honestly, they are both flat as a dough. I had a hard time connecting with them and it feels like I ended up just knowing about them from the outside.
The potential for a cute and adorable contemporary story was there but the confusing timeline and flat characters didn’t really give the story much justice. Though, I really appreciate how Cotugno inserted topics of anxiety and sports-related injury to the story. Those aspects where well-handled and written but I wish it was explored more as the story barely scratched the surface of said topics.
Overall, it was an okay read.