Review: You Say It First by Katie Cotugno

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Meg thought she had her life figured out. After high school, she and her best friend Emily are going to Cornell. She has a great boyfriend and she loves her job, where she calls people to help them register to vote.

One night she makes a call to a rural town in Ohio and a guy her age picks up. Everything about Colby Moran is infuriating. He’s got an attitude and thinks voting is a waste of time. So when he hangs up on Meg, the two of them never expected to talk again. After all, she lives all the way in Philadelphia.

Colby’s year sucked. After a family tragedy, Colby closed off from the rest of the world. He has a job he can’t stand and he really doesn’t want some “rich” girl calling him to lecture about the political process. Only, he feels bad for he treated her over the phone and for some reason, needs to reach out to her.

That one call leads to a series of conversations between Meg and Colby, where the two can be completely honest with each other. It’s not always easy because the two can get heated over their different lifestyles and perspectives. But at the same time, Meg and Colby grow closer, wondering if this relationship only works at a distance or if it could be something more?

You Say It First is a great read if you love to follow politics. This is probably our favorite book from Cotugno yet! We loved the dual POV, but enjoyed reading from Meg’s more. She’s super Type-A and is terrified of disappointing people to a point where she walks on eggshells. It was so great to see that she could be herself with Colby, even if the two gave each other a hard time.

Colby’s POV was interesting because he really did want to care about things the way Meg did, he was just afraid that caring would lead to disappointment. He shows a lot of character growth, especially in the final 1/4 of the book.

Cotugno’s latest is more character driven than plot driven. It shows how Meg and Colby figure out what they want in life, while dealing with a lot of obstacles. We felt bad for both of them in terms of their family situations. Just know beforehand that suicide and alcoholism are represented in this book.

One problem we had was that the book ended too abruptly. We needed at least one more chapter explained what happened next and discussed Meg’s plan for the future. Even though it was a fairly happy ending, the open-endedness set up a possibility for a book 2.

Overall, we loved the theme of the importance of voting and political participation. Cotugno took two opposite people in different socioeconomic areas and showed them that they had more in common than they ever expected. Meg and Colby’s late night phone calls were the perfect way to find themselves.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Published by I'm All Booked Up YA

We write recommendations and reviews for YA books.

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