Top Ten
by Cotugno, Katie

An introverted girl and a star athlete boy become unlikely best friends and create a Top 10 list of highlights in their friendship as graduation approaches, reflecting on how they have repeatedly considered and turned down opportunities to pursue a more romantic relationship. By the best-selling author of 99 Days. Simultaneous eBook. 100,000 first printing.

Ryan's popular, a hockey star, the only child of a struggling single mom, and a serial dater. Gabby's got a big, well-off family, but her intense social anxiety keeps her housebound, and she's only had one serious relationship. Despite this, the two of them have been best friends since freshman year of high school. When graduation comes, something happens between them that has the two questioning their friendship and its future. In 10 chapters, structured as a list of their friendship's 10 greatest hits, the nonlinear narrative follows Ryan and Gabby through all their big moments: the tentative early steps, heartaches, and family issues. It explores bisexual Gabby's first long-term relationship with a girl named Shay, and the days when Ryan's refusal to deal with side effects of his hockey-related head injuries almost ended their friendship for good. Cotugno (Fireworks, 2017) does it again, offering up a realistic depiction of teen friendship and romance that doesn't sugarcoat the difficulties of teen years. A winning, highly readable exploration of different kinds of love. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Cotugno's newest follows a seemingly mismatched duo over the first four years of their friendship. White high schoolers Gabby and Ryan make an unlikely pair. Gabby's intense and untreated social anxiety makes her relatively reclusive, sticking to her family's weekly Friday night Monopoly games and spending time with her one close friend. Ryan is an extroverted hockey player, effortlessly popular with a string of short-term girlfriends. Their chance meeting in ninth grade at Gabby's sister's party leads them to become best friends almost instantly, much to everyone's surprise. With some persistence, Ryan becomes one of the few people who can distract Gabby from her "panickers" and draw her out of her shell, while Gabby becomes one of the few people who's deeply honest with Ryan and looks out for his health after multiple concussions. While both characters find themselves attracted to each other, missed signals and poor timing (including when both bisexual Gabby and straight Ry an have girlfriends at the same time) complicate the potential for a romantic relationship. Their prioritization of their interpersonal relationship, person-to-person and regardless of romance, is endearing and refreshing. The third-person narration, which alternates between Ryan and Gabby, at times feels distant, but the nonlinear narrative structure (divided into 10 interconnected moments in their relationship and beginning with their consummation after graduation) makes a compelling balance. Whether or not Gabby and Ryan make it into readers' own top tens, readers will root for them. (Fiction. 14-17) Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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