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What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton: Review, Interview, ARC Giveaway!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How can you talk about something you can’t remember?

Before the ski trip, sixteen-year-old Cassidy “Sid” Murphy was a cheerleader (at the bottom of the pyramid, but still...), a straight-A student, and a member of a solid trio of best friends. When she ends up on a ski lift next to handsome local college boy, Dax Windsor, she’s thrilled; but Dax takes everything from Sid—including a lock of her perfect red curls—and she can’t remember any of it.

Back home and unable to relate to her old friends, Sid drops her college prep classes and takes up residence in the A/V room with only Corey “The Living Stoner” Livingston for company. But as she gets to know Corey (slacker, baker, total dreamboat), Sid finds someone who truly makes her happy. Now, if she can just shake the nightmares and those few extra pounds, everything will be perfect... or so she thinks.

witty and poignant, Colleen Clayton’s stunning debut is a story about moving on after the unthinkable happens.

Advance Praise for WHAT HAPPENS NEXT:

"Colleen Clayton's gutsy characters stuck with me long after I finished reading What Happens Next." --Lucy Christopher, author of the Printz Honor book STOLEN

"I absolutely devoured this book, and found myself reading the final pages more and more slowly, trying to put off seeing it end. I haven't been this in love with a set of characters in maybe forever." --Jennifer Brown, author of HATE LIST

"Real teenagers. Real issues. Real writing. I read "What Happens Next" in one big swoop. Heartbreaking, but still filled with hope and promise, author Colleen Clayton knows that the past can't be rewritten, but you can ruin the future by not learning from it." -- Holly Goldberg Sloan, author of I'LL BE THERE

"Sad, funny, and true. This book hits all the right notes." --Miranda Kenneally, author of CATCHING JORDAN

Goodreads Summary

What Happens Next touches on many difficult topics that the author handles with ease and poise.    The reader will get to know Cassidy aka "Sid" very well, coming to admire her brave exterior.  Sid was raped and, although she is repressing the memory, the rape still hurts her emotionally.  Sid is withdrawn and a little hard to get to know, but reading further into the book to peal more of Sid's layers is well worth the wait.   Sid is lucky to meet Corey, a guy that many people would skip over, but one who turns out to make all the difference to Sid.  He has a way of healing her and a very interesting personality. 

The story has a hint of romance and an air of mystery.  Sid doesn't really remember the rape, but the rape has lingering, negative effects.  The rape itself is not overly graphic and the subject of eating disorders adds another layer of reality to the story.  Sid is a character who will be nearly impossible to connect, the reader is just about guaranteed to connect to her on an emotional level.  Overall, this book is recommended to teens and young adults.

4 Stars

Find this book:
Barnes and Noble
The Book Depository

Author Bio:

About the author:
Colleen Clayton has worked with troubled teens as a social worker ad as program supervisor for Big Brothers Big Sisters. She currently lives in Ohio with her family and recently received her MFA from the Northeast Ohio Consortium at Youngstown State University. WHAT HAPPENS NEXT is her debut novel.

By Colleen Clayton / Poppy
On sale: October 9, 2012
Hardcover ISBN: 9780316198684 / $17.99 / $19.99 CAN
E-book ISBN: 9780316215046 / $9.99 / $9.99 CAN *

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.


1) Tell us a little bit about your inspiration for this book.

In regards to themes, I wanted to write a bookdealing with sexual assault and its effect on a survivor’s body image. Studies have shown that victims of sexual assault are at risk for developing eating disorders so I wanted to explore that connection.

Being from the Cleveland area, I definitely wanted to set my story there. The main character came to me fully formed. I had an image in my head of young, red-haired woman on a ski-lift talking to an engaging stranger.  I wanted the main character to be very vivacious and outspoken, funny, and friendly but also naïve and, deep down, terribly insecure.

2)  What can we expect from Cassidy?

You can expect Cassidy (Sid) to be a very witty girl who deals with her situation in her own unique way.  Cassidy definitely has her own ideas about things. She’s fiercely independent and is a fighter through-and-through.

3)  Was there a character that was difficultto write about or create?  Why?

Sometimes, through the drafting process, I felt Sid’s two best friends, Kirsten and Paige, were difficult to figure out. While they are an important part of the story, they are side characters so I had todo a bit of hard work to make them come alive on the page.

4) Who was your favorite character to write about?

Sid, of course. But next in line would be Corey. Holy wow, do I love that boy. Writing him into existence was one of the most fulfilling experiences I have ever had as a writer. I’m really, really proud of that character.

5) Are you currently working on another book?

I am! I just turned a draft into my agent! It’s set in the same high school but is a stand-alone with different characters and themes.  I’m really excited about it. 

Giveaway: One ARC copy of What Happens Next

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Lili said...:

    I want to read this book because it's been on my TBR list FOREVER!

  1. Addie R. said...:

    Wow, this book sounds much more gritty and raw than I expected it to be, and I love it! I'm even more excited for this book! Thanks for the review and giveaway ^__^

  1. Cyn said...:

    It sounds like a great book! I need something that's more emotional than action now and then.

  1. I just saw this book in a Waiting On Wednesday post yesterday, and it immediately caught my attention. It seems so interesting, and the cover is so cool too! Hmmm... I don't know if there's anything specific I'd ask Colleen. I can keep on asking questions to authors! ;) I cannot really think of one thing right now.
    Thanks for the giveaway! :)

    Sarika @ The Readdicts

  1. M.A.D. said...:

    While this book is new on my radar, I've got to say that the synopsis is wonderful and I wondered if Colleen is finished with the characters of What Happens Next?

    I noticed she said she's turned in a draft to her agent, with the same school though different characters (which sounds pretty cool, btw!)

    I so want to read this!! <3
    Thank you for the terrific interview and giveaway :D

  1. Christine said...:

    I'm such a huge fan of YA contemporary, and while I'm a sucker for lighthearted romance, I also love these deeper, more serious subjects. I already have this one on my TBR shelf, but I think it's moving up much higher on my list now :)
    Thanks for the amazing interview and giveaway!!

  1. aLilLacey said...:

    Sounds like a sad but hope-filled book. And is it weird that i feel like i must read any book with a redhead in it because i am one? This one does sound really good though and i would want to read it even w/o a redhead

  1. I would like to thank you for a fantastic book giveaway, that i would love to have the oportunity of reading and reviewing! The interview was truly facinating and insightful, hence i would love to find out more about this author whose work sounds origional and distinctive.
    Thank you x

  1. This book sounds terrific. A not classic love type story, with lots of extra layers thrown in.

  1. Sayomay said...:

    I would ask her if she had ever been to a creative writing workshop/class?

  1. I'm always looking for new YA books that an upper middle school teacher can keep in her classroom library and while this may be intended for a bit order teens, I'm still checking it out.

  1. the_bosix said...:

    I have always been a sucker on Contemporaries and YA Romances *shy*
    And this book had been on my TBR list for awhile now.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  1. I would like to read this book because it sounds interesting, and has so much to it romance, mystery, etc. Thanks for having the giveaway.

  1. good review! Now i wnat to read this more because its been on my to-read shelf on goodreads for a while now:)

  1. Daniela said...:

    This sounds like a very touching book. It sounds amazing though! :D

  1. it sound good ... maybe i would read

  1. Chelsea B. said...:

    Wow, this novel sounds like it packs a serious punch. I'm feeling extremely drawn to it. Wonderful review and interview!

  1. Misti said...:

    I've never heard of this book either. I do like reading about life's difficulties through others eyes. So this is right up my alley. Thank you for your review & interview.

  1. This sounds really great, will have to add it straight to my TBR pile!

  1. This books seems like a good book but its a shame I'm a step too late for it. Oh well thanks for the review!!