book review: call it what you want, by brigid kemmerer

IMG_3357When his dad is caught embezzling funds from half the town, Rob goes from popular lacrosse player to social pariah. Even worse, his father’s failed suicide attempt leaves Rob and his mother responsible for his care.

Everyone thinks of Maegan as a typical overachiever, but she has a secret of her own after the pressure got to her last year. And when her sister comes home from college pregnant, keeping it from her parents might be more than she can handle.

When Rob and Maegan are paired together for a calculus project, they’re both reluctant to let anyone through the walls they’ve built. But when Maegan learns of Rob’s plan to fix the damage caused by his father, it could ruin more than their fragile new friendship…

This captivating, heartfelt novel asks the question: Is it okay to do something wrong for the right reasons?

Here’s a little annectode for y’all: out of all the books I had on my TBR, Call It What You Want was the one I was the least excited to pick up. It’s not that I had anything against it, but there were other books by Brigid Kemmerer I wanted to get to before this one. But I was at the bookstore once, and my mom was feeling generous, and offered to buy any book I picked up. Since this was one was the cheapest, we went to check out.

Immediately after I paid for the book, I felt a big regretful. I didn’t even know that much about it and the premise didn’t even sound *that* interesting. I thought about returning it, but didn’t want to sound ungrateful, since my mom had literally just bought it. So I went home and read it.

And, oof, I am so, so, so glad I did.


“Other people don’t have the challenges we have… but that doesn’t mean they don’t have their own.”

  1. Everyone kinda sucks. I know it sounds a bit contradictory, that my favorite thing about this book was how I couldn’t truly like any of the characters. But that’s the thing. I really enjoy myself some morally grey characters, but I feel like they’re always written the same way: a badboy with daddy issues. But Call It What You Want offered so much more than that. These characters were doing a lot of questionable things, but I still felt sympathy and compassion for all they were going through. It was very conflicting, but amazing at the same time.
  2. The side characters. I love whenever a book can develop its side characters as much as the main ones. It’s so hard to achieve, but Bridgid Kemmerer did it almost effortlessly. I loved Owen – a friend that Rob makes throughout the book – for his hilarious honesty; I loved Connor – Rob’s former best friend – even if he was a total jerk; I loved Samantha – Meagan’s sister -, for being a badass with too many feelings; I loved Rachel and Drew – for being honest about how race privilege allowed Rob and Meagan to get away with the stuff they’d done. They were just as interesting as our protagonists and had just as much to offer.
  3. Family means a lot. I am always happy to see family being a big role on characters’ lives, as I feel like it is in mine and it’s relatable for a lot of other people out there as well. Don’t be fooled – these characters families are just as bad as they are sometimes, but I still loved their role throughout the story and how they offered both comfort and stress, as I feel like all families do.
  4. The writing style. I didn’t feel like one of the perspectives was stronger than the other, though I did like Rob better, but that’s because I am a male character hoe. They were both very well written and distinct. I feel like Rob sounded so much like a seventeen year old boy and I don’t know how to explain it, because he exuded both the asshole energy that I find any straight teenage boy has as default, but also a lot of feelings that added to his complexity.


“When you’ve lost everything,’ he says, ‘sometimes you don’t see anything wrong with taking a little back.”

The only thing I can name that made me a bit frustrated was the ending. As much as I appreciate how the author concluded it, considering everything the characters had been through, it happened way too quickly in my opinion. I would’ve really liked to have just a couple more pages, so we could tie some loose ends and give better closure to the characters and their relationships.


IMG_3365Overall, this is a book I’d recommend for people who enjoy reading about morally grey characters. You have to be open to disagree with these characters and roll your eyes at some of their actions, because that’s sort of the point. Call It What You Want does not claim to be a perfect story, following perfect characters. They’re not supposed to be role models – they’re supposed to be real.

I loved the book for exact those reasons, but I understand that it can not work for everyone. Nonetheless, I am really happy I decided to pick this book up out of all the options I had at the bookstore that day. I could’ve missed out on the chance to read an amazing story.

“One choice doesn’t determine your whole future.”


Have you read Call It What You Want? Or any other book by Brigid Kemmerer? If so, let me know your thoughts in the comments! And if you have any recommendations for books with morally grey characters, please share them in the comments too!


11 comentários sobre “book review: call it what you want, by brigid kemmerer

  1. This is a wonderful review, Lais <3 I'm so happy you ended up enjoying this book, even if you weren't sure about it! I've heard a lot of good things about Brigid Kemmerer, I'll have to pick up some of her stories someday! It's good to know this one has… well, unlikeable characters a little bit. I really need to be in the mood for these kind of stories and characters, so I know that now :D

    Curtido por 1 pessoa

    • i totally get that! i think this is not the type of book that everyone will immediately enjoy, but it was a really interesting experience for me. i think brigid kemmerer has a lot to be one of my favorite authors in the future; i’m very excited to read more from her.
      thank you so much for reading, marie! 💛

      Curtido por 1 pessoa

  2. I loved hearing your anecdote at the beginning because if someone is buying something for me I will go for the cheapest as well. But it is always great when a book can surprise you, it makes you always remember it as well.
    I absolutely loved reading your review. I have wanted to try out some of Brigid Kemmerer books but ‘Letters to the Lost’ was the one my TBR but I’m glad to hear more about this book.
    I love morally grey characters especially the ones I don’t necessarily like because, I feel like when reading about them, their actions aren’t just to make the audience like them but to just be themselves and react how they would react, like you said it makes them real so I’m excited for that.
    I love strong side characters as well because it makes new scenes have extra life and brings the book together and as I’ve mentioned before I love families in books so this sounds like a book I am going to enjoy!!
    I hope you get to check out more of Brigid books and love them just as much. I can’t wait to read this one now!! I loved your review and all the quotes you have included as well! <3

    Curtido por 1 pessoa

    • hahah, i think it’s being considerate! i’d never go for an expensive thing if i’m getting a gift. and i’m glad it worked out so well in this case!
      same here! i’d mostly listened about letters to the lost, so this book wasn’t even totally on my radar. i’m glad i could put it in yours!
      exactlyyy! i love that you pointed that out, because it’s so true! characters who are just *themselves* and not everyone will like them are veryyyy interesting and quite hard to find, i think!
      thank you so muchhh! i was inspired to add quotes after reading your reviews, as i know you tend to do that. i’ve always loved the idea, but because i listen to so many audiobooks, i hardly ever get the chance to highlight or remember some of my favorite quotes. but i got to do it this time around with this book and i’m really happy i did!
      thank you so much for reading, sophie!

      Curtido por 1 pessoa

      • Yes true I do think it is the considerate thing to do :-)
        Yes thank you so much!!
        They can be really hard to find as they are specific and need to be done right but they are interesting!!
        Aw.. that’s so cool!! I’m glad and yes I do love quotes so much (I have a notebook just for quotes ahah)
        It can be hard to get quotes from audiobooks! The quotes were so good for this book though!! 💛

        Curtido por 1 pessoa

Deixe um comentário

Preencha os seus dados abaixo ou clique em um ícone para log in:

Logo do

Você está comentando utilizando sua conta Sair /  Alterar )

Foto do Facebook

Você está comentando utilizando sua conta Facebook. Sair /  Alterar )

Conectando a %s