Review: Top Ten by Katie Cotugno

Top Ten by Katie Cotugno

Series: No

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary

Release Date: October 3, 2017

Format: eARC

Source: Edelweiss/Balzer + Bray

Find it here: GoodReads | Amazon

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?

I feel like I just lived through four years of the trials and tribulations of high school with Gabby and Ryan. And I mean that in both the best and worst ways possible (because whoever said high school is the best time of your life is a terrible liar). These two characters had me wanting to hug them, wanting to shake some sense into them, and most of all just wanting them to find their way and be happy.

With each chapter visiting a pivotal time in their friendship, Top Ten delves into the ups and downs of Ryan and Gabby’s ever-evolving relationship. On the surface, Ryan, easy-going and popular, and Gabby, anxious and shy, are unlikely friends. But in each other they find someone they can truly be themselves with.

I related to Gabby to a ridiculous degree and it was sometimes almost painful to watch as she tried to navigate her daily life while dealing with varying levels of anxiety. She chafed against being told to “just try” doing the very things that sent her into a panic and yet still sometimes made the effort (usually with disastrous results). From best friend Ryan, to her girlfriend Shay, to her family, Gabby struggled with not being enough for those around her.

Outwardly Ryan was a carefree character who had it all – a gifted hockey player, friends, girls, parties. But Ryan struggled with not only his own insecurities – outside of hockey did he have anything to offer? – but also to please his volatile father whose love and attention felt conditional.

I simply loved the relationship between these two characters. Loved it. Their friendship was the real deal. They were (usually) brutally honest with each other. They called each other out. They broke each other’s hearts. They were one another’s touchstone. It wasn’t always smooth sailing – far from it – but when it came down to it, they shared a connection that stood the test of time.

From freshman year to the summer after graduation, through parties and girlfriends, friends and family, Cotugno brings to life two characters who are each other’s Most Important Person – and defines what that truly means for Gabby and Ryan.


Note: I received an advance copy of this title from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way changes my opinion of the book or the content of this review.




4/5 STARS

14 comments

  1. It really was a wonderful journey through their friendship, and I too, loved watching it change and evolve. I actually thought this was going to be a five star read UNTIL the very end. You know me and endings. It felt a little rushed and I don't want to say anymore, but I know, that you know why I feel this way. I was so invested in this relationship, that I wanted an epilogue that jumped ahead like 10 years. I just needed a little more at the end.

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    1. I get what you're saying. I would have LOVED an epilogue for this one.

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  2. I just started this today and think I am going to like it. I love the setup!! Glad you enjoyed it. Great review!

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    1. Can't wait to read your thoughts on it, Grace!

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  3. First and Foremost, I'VE MISSED YOU GIRL! As soon as I relaunched my blog, I knew I had to make sure you were one of the first ppl I visited!

    I remember her first title had pretty mixed reviews so I avoided it, but this one sounds really good! I love a relationship that shows you " the good, the bad, and the ugly, " so I definitely need to add this my TBR. I've been in the mood for nothing but romances and contemporaries, so this will be perfect! Hopefully lol

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    1. Tika! Hey lady! It's so good to hear from you! And I can't wait to visit your blog and start seeing some posts from you. I've missed your sassy goodness. LOL

      If you're talking romance and contemporaries you know I'm right there with you. :) If you're in the mood for YA, this is definitely a good one.

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  4. Haha Yeah, high school is not all it's cracked up to be! But this story sounds like a really good one. It hurts my heart to think about both Ryan and Gabby dealing with their insecurities but it's nice that they found in each other a safe place. I'll have to see if my library has it, Tanya.

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    1. I definitely recommend this one next time you're in the mood for some YA. Ryan and Gabby were the truest of friends.

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  5. Looking at your review, it seems like this book is one of those 'unlikely friendships', where one of the seemingly happier person is fighting their own battles. Great review!

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    1. Definitely an unlikely friendship from the outside. And one of them is seemingly happy but has a lot going on privately. Good call, Anne! :)

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  6. wow that sounds.. interesting. Glad you were able to feel a lot for the characters. Is there like a overwhelming amount of drama you would say?

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    1. There's some drama but it's definitely not over the top or overdone. If you're in the mood for YA contemporary this is a good one! :)

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  7. I have not had great luck with this author's books in the past - I've tried three and each had something that was a deal-breaker for me. So this is not high on my list but glad you enjoyed it!
    Jen Ryland

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    1. I can understand that, Jen. I've read two by her and liked one and disliked the other. So I was one the fence when starting this one. Thankfully it worked out!

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