We’ll Always Have Paris

BOOK REPORT for 9 Days & 9 Nights by Katie Cotugno

Cover Story: Misleading
BFF Charm: Roger Murtaugh
Swoonworthy Scale: 5
Talky Talk: Straight Up
Bonus Factors: Europe, Kuddelmuddel
Relationship Status: Rebound

Caution! 9 Days & 9 Nights is the sequel to 99 Days, so if you haven’t read the first book, close this browser window immediately and find yourself a copy STAT. Seriously, don’t make me spoil it for you. 

Cover Story: Misleading

I’m giving this artwork the same verdict I delivered to its predecessor, but for different reasons. Sure, the story takes place in Europe, so those stock photos are fine, but Molly and Gabe frolicking together across the continent is, I’m sorry to tell you, definitely NOT what happens in this book. 

The Deal:

It’s been a year since Molly Barlow left Star Lake for college; a year since she finally ended her relationship with Patrick; a year since she gave a bittersweet goodbye to his brother, Gabe. Determined to never repeat her mistakes, Molly spent her freshman semesters learning to be careful rather than impulsive, and the result is a stable, considerate boyfriend named Ian, who is now traveling with her across Europe for a summer trip. 

Molly has every detail of their itinerary mapped out so they can see all of the sights, but then she stumbles upon one she never planned for: Gabe, globetrotting with his girlfriend, Sadie. As fate would have it, her romantic vacay with Ian suddenly becomes an awkward party of four, with Molly and Gabe keeping their past romance a secret. It’s clear that their history together isn’t actually history, and as Molly wrestles with her commitment to Ian and her feelings for Gabe, she must face the possibility that she hasn’t really changed… and that maybe, that’s okay. 

BFF Charm: Roger Murtaugh

I became fast friends with Molly in 99 Days–she was the underdog, a girl painfully aware of her transgressions yet determined to rise above the slut shaming of a small town. Due to a traumatic event at the beginning of college (the details of which I’ll keep under wraps), Molly’s lack of trust in herself has deepened, and while that’s natural, it’s also a damn shame to see. Self-doubt has dampened her dynamo attitude and sucked away her vibrant nature, and consequently she’s, well, kiiiinda boring. All of that isn’t enough to turn me into the adult–deeply sighing–in the room, however. My inner Roger Murtagh only came out when Gabe showed up and everyone started acting like they had NO SENSE WHATSOEVER. Like, I get it, Molly, you’re in a bit of a hole, but that doesn’t mean you should grab the shovel and start digging deeper! It’s a complicated situation with a high potential for drama, and to be fair, the characters were only acting their age, but I’m just too old for that shizz. 

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

Granted, I wasn’t expecting the sequel to top the smokin’ hotness of the first novel, because that would be a tall order, but come on, Gabe Donnelly is in this book! That dude has moves! But he also has a girlfriend, plus a new penchant for being moody and charmless and y’all, it is SUCH A WASTE. There’s still some charged moments between Molly and him, but it’s not enough to outweigh the stress of their situation and the unsuspecting presence of their significant others, both of whom are often more likeable than our two former flames. 

Talky Talk: Straight Up

Obviously, I have some gripes with this book, but one thing I can’t complain about is Katie Cotugno’s writing style. Her dialogue is poppin’, her pacing is lively, and her characters are so wonderfully fleshed out, you can practically hear them breathing from the page. 

Bonus Factor: Europe

In spite of the tricky circumstances, our foursome still manages to enjoy their stops in London, Paris and Ireland, thank god. I think Ireland may have been my favorite spot, partially because Molly’s high school best Imogen lives there (love you boo) but also because of the secret bar in a hardware store where I reeeeeeally wish I could enjoy a pint or five. 

Bonus Factor: Kuddelmuddel

Early in the story, Ian introduces Molly to a German word, kuddelmuddel, which he defines like so:

“It actually means, like, messy chaos? But my mom always uses it to describe what happens when you’re traveling and you find something sort of good and unexpected that isn’t part of the plan.”

Serendipity lends a bit of magic to each leg of the group’s trip, but hands down, my favorite moment of kuddelmuddel is when Molly first spies Gabe on a train platform in London, because I’m a sucker for that kind of heart-dropping, knee-weakening, against-the-odds wink of destiny. 

Relationship Status: Rebound

Look, Book, you gotta understand that things between me and your predecessor were real hot and heavy. Those were some tough shoes to fill, and while you share some of the great qualities I fell for the first time around, those similarities only made me miss my ex more. 

Literary Matchmaking:

  

• If you’re feeling that wanderlust, head back to Europe with Dana Schwartz’s And We’re Off

• Starring another girl who has made plenty of mistakes, What I Thought Was True has all of the self-actualization and all of the swoon.

• Get another delicious dose of kuddelmuddel with Gayle Forman’s Just One Day

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Balzer + Bray, but I did not get money or cocktails for writing this review, dammit. 9 Days & 9 Nights is available now.