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Top Ten

Review

Top Ten

Author Katie Cotugno tackles the ups and downs of high school friendships in her novel, TOP TEN. Ryan McCullough and Gabby Hart are best friends, as unlikely as that may seem. Ryan is a popular hockey player, whereas Gabby is a dorky photography fanatic. But besides the fact that Ryan talks to pretty much anybody and Gabby talks to barely anyone, they manage to be important parts of each other’s lives. They’ve been through a lot together --- fights, parties, disastrous trips --- and have stayed friends through it all. Now that they’ve graduated high school and are going to different colleges, they decide to honor their crazy friendship by making a list of the top ten moments of their friendship.

" I would definitely recommend this book....it shares some good messages about friendship and life lessons learned during high school, even if it’s only told through 10 moments."

Even just looking at the cover of this book, you know it’s going to be cute and fluffy. The people on the cover look happy and carefree and that feeling carries on into the book. Ryan and Gabby’s friendship throughout the book is described vividly enough you can tell they’ve been friends for ages, and that their friendship is mutual. It was really nice to read about a story with a friendship between a popular kid and a dork where their friendship isn’t secret or shameful, and that there wasn’t an ulterior motive propelling their friendship. I really liked just reading about a friendship where they both just enjoyed spending time with each other.

This book was a little hard for me to read and really get in to for a while, because of the way it was written. Overall, I felt like things were described too much, like I really didn’t need to know all of these details about what each character was wearing. I think I would have been okay not knowing that Ryan’s mom was wearing off-brand Birkenstocks. But as I got further into the story, I realized that the overly descriptive writing in the beginning helped me more vividly picture the settings and understand little traits about the characters I may not have understood otherwise.

My only real negative about the book was that because it’s not written in chronological order, because it’s written as a list, I felt like I wasn’t able to really see their characters and friendship develop. It would have been nice to read everything in the order it happened, instead of little clips jumping back and forth in time, but the concept was really cool, that the book was a reflection of the characters instead of a whole story to tell. I missed the mundane in their lives, instead of the big events, where you could see the little parts that really made up their friendship, but there were less boring parts to read, which was good for keeping my attention.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to people. I think it shares some good messages about friendship and life lessons learned during high school, even if it’s only told through 10 moments. It’s good to have a healthy friendship in a book, and if you’re looking for one of those I would recommend it. But some important things that may interest you more, or  discourage you from reading it, depending on your opinions --- there are multiple allusions to sex throughout the book, and both of the main characters participate in sexual actions, although it isn’t described. There is also a lot of strong language used throughout the book. One of the main characters is bisexual, and there is also a character who is a proud lesbian. These things don’t bother me, and overall I think it’s a fun read.

Reviewed by Becky N., Teen Board Member on November 30, 2017

Top Ten
by Katie Cotugno