What Happens Next is a heartfelt and emotional story that felt real and honest. I'm not going to lie, I was a little nervous picking this up because of the subject matter, but I thought it was dealt with in tasteful and realistic way. I can't believe this was Colleen Clayton's debut novel, because the writing felt like it came from a pro. She had me entranced from the first pages.
Cassidy "Sid"Murphy is excited to go on her first school ski-trip with little supervision, imagining a mountain of hot guys and fun times with her two best friends, Kristen and Paige. When a dreamy older guy, Dax Windsor meets her in a ski lift line and glues himself to her for the rest of the day, she can hardly believe it. She's a cheerleader, but the one always at the bottom of the pyramid. She's curvier and stands out with curly red hair, not the typical girl guys dream about, in her opinion. He charms Sid into meeting him at a party and she sneaks out and goes alone. Unfortunately, for Sid, this is no party, it's a nightmare she can't remember the next day. Sneaking out on a school trip gets Sid in trouble along with her friends; her for doing it, and her friends for knowing and not telling. Her friends are beyond angry and their friendship takes a nosedive.
So Sid returns home with this awful thing hanging over her that she just wants to forget, and without her friends to confide in. Soon she's is hanging out with the school "stoner" Corey, who's in her A/V elective, and shoving away her former life and everything in it.
My heart went out to Sid. She paid dearly for the simple mistake of trusting the wrong person, and she paid dearly with the blame/shame game. She blames herself for being stupid and feels maybe she deserved what happened because of that. I'm so angry that there are really guys out there like Dax, who take advantage of girls with low self-esteem, and use it to further destroy them. Sid struggles with keeping this in, and what is does to her mentally and physically. I really connected with Sid, and even though I was frustrated by her not telling anyone, I can understand where she was coming from. I could easily put myself in her shoes.
There is a wonderful cast of secondary characters and first and foremost in my book is Corey. He is not what Sid expected at all. I think this is why she was able to get close to him in the first place, because there were no expectations. Corey was an all-around nice guy, no assumptions, no pushiness. He was not perfect, but he ended up perfect for her. Her best friends, Kristen and Paige were far from perfect, and the way they treated Sid in the beginning bugged me, but like with any long-time friends, you don't always make the right decisions in the way you handle each other. Sid didn't make things easy either.
I thought this was an amazing debut novel! I really enjoyed this heartfelt story, and would recommend it to fans of Hannah Harrington of Saving June and Speechless, and fans of Sarah Dessen. It had a really similar feel.
"I have wanted to do that for so, so long."
I cannot speak. I can only nod yes and hope he knows what I mean. He kisses me more....
"...for months and months..."
"...when you sprayed me with Dr. Pepper..."
"...at the bakery when you were holding that corned beef..."
"...and every single time I see you..."
I lean against the house and hold on to his wrists so I don't dissolve into a puddle. And I kiss him back. Over and over, I kiss him back.
A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!