Published by Dial on March 17th, 2015
Genres: contemporary, young adult
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Kate Quinn’s mom died last year, leaving Kate parentless and reeling. So when the unexpected shows up in her living room, Kate must confront another reality she never thought possible—or thought of at all. Kate does have a father. He’s a powerful politician. And he’s running for U.S. President. Suddenly, Kate’s moving in with a family she never knew she had, joining a campaign in support of a man she hardly knows, and falling for a rebellious boy who may not have the purest motives. This is Kate’s new life. But who is Kate? When what she truly believes flies in the face of the campaign’s talking points, she must decide. Does she turn to the family she barely knows, the boy she knows but doesn’t necessarily trust, or face a third, even scarier option?
Set against a backdrop of politics, family, and first love, this is a story of personal responsibility, complicated romance, and trying to discover who you are even as everyone tells you who you should be.
One would think that 400 pages might be too long for a contemporary novel. One might think that this novel was boring, wordy, or overdone. One would be wrong. The Wrong Side of Right is going to be one of the top contemporaries of 2015, and if it isn’t it should be. If it isn’t, I will blame marketing because I haven’t seen NEARLY enough buzz about this book out there. Going into an election year, this would be the perfect book to hype up. I seriously heard one thing about this book until it was sent to me by the publicist and I think I saw it on Goodreads.
And I am telling you now, do NOT miss it.
It has the shippiest ship of romances, and it’s definitely one I was behind ALL the way through. Kate is my spirit animal, and Andy Lawrence is maybe my first ever book boyfriend–and this is coming from a girl who does not DO book boyfriends. OTP, my friends. OTP. Kate and Andy had only a few scenes together, and I know people are going to complain there wasn’t ENOUGH romance, but the scenes they are in together are intense. Wonderful. Swoony. And besides, this book is not just about romance. Not every young adult book needs a romance anyway. Who started that crap and how do we make it stop?
So there was one thing that kinda didn’t work for me but I am not rating down on that, because it’ just a general feeling of frustration on my part, and it probably has to do with some personal shit in my life that made me feel anxiety over this situation. And that was the stuff with Kate’s dad, Senator Cooper. Like I get he does not know how to be a father, and I get that he is in a campaign for president, but I kinda feel like his behavior was maybe excused too easily? I didn’t understand why Kate put up with all of his crap when he didn’t even make any attempts to get to know her. Like all the stuff about her behavior, her wardrobe, his campaign people treating her like garbage, and she just took it and put up with it. Why? He’s her dad, yes, but blood is not always thicker than water, and I thought he was a huge jerk, and the way that part of the story concluded just kind of frustrated me because I thought he didn’t have to pay for it nearly enough. But I digress. That part of the story is really interesting and fascinating, so don’t take me bitching as a sign that I didn’t like it, because I did. The family stuff was actually my favorite part of the story, it’s just that I get frustrated easily and I didn’t understand the motivations completely, I guess?
But that brings me to Meg. Oh gosh, how I love what the author did with Meg. She could have gone the tropey way, and written a caustic, nasty stepmother, but she did the complete opposite and made Meg the most amazing character in the book. Faced with a step-child from an affair in which she was cheated on, Meg does the only thing she could do: step up and be a friend and a mother, when the Kate’s own father ignores her presence. It was a beautiful thing to watch unfold. Not only is she that presence to Kate, but she’s awesome to be around, humble, a great mom to her other two kids, and a wonderful role model. View Spoiler »When Kate finally had enough and went home to her uncle, Meg was the one I was sad for, because it felt like Meg was more of a family member than any of Kate’s real family. « Hide Spoiler
But most of all, this book humanized politicians and their families in a way that I haven’t seen done in fiction before. Behind the scenes these are real people with lives outside of politics, interests, hobbies–they are real human beings. The story is very clear to relate that running for office, campaigning, is all just a game. A show full of fake theatrics. And it made me think. Why do we do it this way? Why can’t we be more genuine? Why must the candidates lie to their constituents and donors? And this all leads me to believe, campaign regulation needs a whole hell of a lot more laws in place. So when it comes voting time, I will be looking for the candidate who seems most genuine and uses that as a voting platform. I want to know the real people behind the facade. THAT is what matters. THAT is what they will bring into the office when they are elected.
And as it all comes together, the writing, the characters, the story, the themes, this book just worked one every level for me. It will be memorable, it will stick out and when I get to the end of the year and I have to choose my favorites, I am almost 100% positive that this book will be on the list.