Author: Colleen Clayton
Release: October 9th 2012
Source: Hachette Book Group Canada
Buy the book at: Amazon | Indigo Chapters
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 love reading contemporary novels because they are a window to different realities. In this case, What Happens Next tells the story of Sid, a girl who is drugged and raped during the school's ski trip. Yet, she can barely remember a guy with caramel eyes and then... nothing, nothing but the knowledge that those caramel eyes took something from her on that horrible night.
What Happens Next is a novel about a very shocking subject, rape. But even though is a book about rape, it never felt uncomfortable to read. Miss Clayton, with delicacy and respect, referred to this subject in a way that is appropriate for young readers. In addition, I think Miss Clayton portrayed Sid in a very convincing and realistic way. At the same time, I can't even fathom that something like what happened to Sid does happen to people in real life. The way Sid deals with this terrible event is easy to understand but very hard to accept. I understand her denial and her confused feelings to the point that I wished to be there to help her myself. Her struggles, denial and confusion felt like letting yourself drown knowing that there is a life vest right in font of you, yet still beyond your reach. Furthermore, What Happens Next makes you see below the surface of a bullied, shy girl. It opens your eyes to the countless of reasons there may be for someone to go through such radical change in less than a year, whether it is in a physical or psychological way.
In what concerns the characters, I think they were perfect! Their relationship was slowly built, increasing my excitement for the so awaited declaration of love. Sid and Corey are multi-layered characters and hard to figure out. I think their complexity portrays them very well as teenagers that deal with unfortunate and terrible life circumstances. At times, I could relate to Sid and Corey, but sometimes their life seemed very alien to me yet so understandable. Miss Clayton shaped these complex characters with knowledge, respect and empathy, and there is nothing more rewarding after reading a novel than to realize that the characters were carefully created with a big, big amount of love.
I said that I love contemporary novels because they open our eyes to different realities and even though most of them are works of fiction, they reflect the world we live in with its brightest and darkest sides. What Happens Next delivers one of those dark sides that we will never want to see ourselves into it. But it delivers it with brightness, and after reading this book, you will actually feel good to have done so. Highly recommended!
Visit the author's website at http://colleenclayton.com