I received an ARC from HCC Frenzy’s Frenzy Presents event.
Title: Top Ten
Author: Katie Cotugno
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: October 3, 2017
Summary (from Goodreads): 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?
Top Ten is exactly what is sounds like—a nostalgic recap of a four year friendship told in a top ten list format. This story is realistic and contains two opposite main characters. The non-sequential writing style is inventive, but does get a bit hard to follow. I still enjoyed the story, and it truly is an emotional rollercoaster.
This book recaps the friendship of two teens about to head off to college. It focuses on their top ten moments, some good and some bad, but all of which define their relationship. It is so entertaining watching Gabby and Ryan’s relationship develop and experiencing their best moments along with them. Top Ten has everything—a bisexual main character with anxiety, her friend who plays hockey, and an amazing family. For those looking for a cute and realistic story with representation, I would definitely recommend this one.
Gabby and Ryan are both ideal characters for this story. Gabby is more introverted and suffers with anxiety while Ryan is on the wilder side. They are both so different, but their friendship works out. I really enjoyed how the book actually focuses on their friendship, and there isn’t much romance between them. I personally preferred Gabby’s character, since Ryan’s recklessness got a bit frustrating sometimes, but Ryan also had his moments. The story is told in multiple points of view, so the reader is able to experience both characters equally.
The way Top Ten is written is super unique, but I can see how it can turn some people away. Since the story is told as a top ten list, the plot isn’t chronological. As a reader, I had to be super aware of the year before starting each chapter. For me, it was a bit confusing at first, but I got used to it. I’m still not quite sure how I feel about this format, since it is creative, but hard to follow at times. I would have preferred chronological order, but I guess the story wouldn’t be the same.
Top Ten is an original story featuring the top ten moments of a friendship. I enjoyed the main characters’ opposite personalities and how realistic they are. The format of this book is unconventional, which is interesting, but also a bit confusing at times. I still found the book to be enjoyable, and classic Katie Cotugno.