Call It What You Want
“does not try to say exactly what is right and wrong in how we view the world, but shows that to every answer there is a question. With every person there is that spark of humanity that deserves love.”
Seventeen-year-old Rob’s life has fallen apart. His father was caught embezzling funds from clients, then tried to kill himself. That didn’t end the way he planned. Now Rob and his mother are left caring for Rob’s brain-damaged father and dodging all the people who believe they were a part of his crimes.
“I eat breakfast with my father every morning. Well, I eat. He sits in his wheelchair and stares in whichever direction Mom has pointed him. If I’m lucky, all his drool stays in his mouth. If he’s lucky, the sunlight doesn’t fall across his eyes. Today, neither of us is very lucky.”
Maegan’s life isn’t so great, either. In a moment of bad decision-making, she cheated on her SAT. All she wanted was to live up to the paragon that was her sister—her sister who got a full-ride scholarship to college. Just like with Rob’s dad, that didn’t end the way she planned, either.
“When Samantha left for college, half the cops at Dad’s precinct threw her a party. It’s not often that blue-collar kids go to an Ivy League school—on a full lacrosse scholarship, no less. It’s not often they come back pregnant, either. There’s a small, dark part of me that’s glad I’m not the troublemaker, this time.”
When Meagan and Rob are put together for a class project—because no one wants to partner with either of them—it starts out rocky. Eventually, however, they begin to see the other’s pain, and realize they’re falling in love. None of this goes smoothly, and it’s hard to climb out of the ruts in which they’ve fallen over the past year. How will they get past the stresses and broken friendships to make a fresh start?
Call It what You Want tackles a lot of hard questions about friendship, family, and responsibility. What does it mean to stand up for yourself without hurting others? Who gets to decide whether or not people are deserving of forgiveness? How can we view people and their troubles with kindness and empathy, realizing everything is not black and white?
“Other people don’t have the challenges we have . . .” one character says. “But that doesn’t mean they don’t have their own.”
This book treats some very difficult situations with tact and honesty. It does not try to say exactly what is right and wrong in how we view the world, but shows that to every answer there is a question. With every person there is that spark of humanity that deserves love.