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What Happens Next    by Colleen Clayton Amazon.com order for
What Happens Next
by Colleen Clayton
Order:  USA  Can
Poppy, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

YA novels form a great medium to tackle tough issues that teens face. Colleen Clayton does just that in What Happens Next a stunning story about a girl who is raped and the psychological aftereffects.

Sixteen-year-old Sid Murphy is at a wonderful place in her life. She has two best friends; is a straight-A student; is on the cheerleading squad without having succumbed to the taunting of her popular teammates and she is a member of the ski club and going on her very first ski trip.

The ski trip, which was supposed to be a fun weekend with her friends, turns into a nightmare after she meets Dax Windsor. Flattered by a flirtation with a college guy, Sid agrees to meet him at a party. It turns out there is no party and Dax is not at all what he seemed. In the morning, Sid realizes he drugged and raped her, but is too embarrassed to let anyone know not the ski trip chaperones who ends up suspending her for breaking curfew; not the police who were called in to look for her; not her best friends who get kicked out of ski club for covering for her; and not even her mom who has enough on her hands raising Sid and her half-brother.

Once her suspension is over, Sid basically drops out of her life. She refuses to return her friends' phone calls, gets in fights, and lets her grades slip. At home, she can't eat, often running for hours to escape. At school, the only place she feels comfortable is in the AV room, watching TV with Corey, a stoner who has been to juvie. To her surprise, Sid begins to really like Corey, but with her life spiraling out of control, how can she get attached to anyone?

What Happens Next covers some really tough subjects. First, there is Sid's rape and then there are the things that happen next. Guilt over what happens weighs heavily on Sid, resulting in depression and eating disorders. This was a very fast-paced read, but it was very emotional. Clayton managed to make me cry without having any animal die, and that is a huge feat.

Colleen Clayton has burst onto the YA contemporary scene with a stunning story that really makes readers think. If What Happens Next is only her first effort, I cannot wait to see what she brings us next.

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