Ryan McCullough and Gabby Hart are the unlikeliest of friends. Introverted, anxious Gabby would rather do literally anything than go to a party. Ryan is a star hockey player who can get any girl he wants—and does, frequently. But against all odds, they became not only friends, but each other’s favorite person. Now, as they face high school graduation, they can’t help but take a moment to reminisce and, in their signature tradition, make a top ten list—counting down the top ten moments of their friendship: 10. Where to begin? Maybe the night we met. 9. Then there was our awkward phase. 8. When you were in love with me but never told me… 7. Those five months we stopped talking were the hardest of my life. 6. Through terrible fights… 5. And emotional makeups. 4. You were there for me when I got my heart broken. 3. …but at times, you were also the one breaking it. 2. Above all, you helped me make sense of the world. 1. Now, as we head off to college—how am I possibly going to live without you?
What I liked
I’ve been in a huge contemporary binge and after hearing all the praise this book was getting I knew I had to get my hands on it. And can I just say I absolutely loved it. It was cute, funny, charming, with some of the best relationships. Gabby and Ryan were so different from each other but they still fit so perfectly together and despite all the fights they still were there for each other in the end. I loved that Ryan kind of became this permanent fixture in Gabby’s life. And he was someone who Gabby could really depend on. There were always people who came into either Gabby or Ryan’s life but none of that ever changed the way they felt about each other. It was also really nice to see a book where they didn’t shy away from talking about big issues and they talked to each other about their problems. This book is told in flashbacks starting with freshman year and I really loved how it gave you time to understand and love these characters, but also that it was a really interesting way to tell this story. Something that might not have worked but I think Katie pulled it off. I do have to say at times the story got a bit confusing but it wasn’t anything that made me want to stop reading. That might have to do with the fact that I needed to know what would happen to these characters.
I really loved that this book was about the friendship between Gabby and Ryan, but that it also brought attention to the anxiety that Gabby suffered from. Throughout the book, we see more and more how anxiety affects Gabby and how in the beginning she thinks she can handle it herself. But ultimately learns that asking for help, getting help does not make her weak or vulnerable. She begins to take things on her own and she learned that leaning on people isn’t a bad thing. Katie does a great job at understanding anxiety and really portraying it on the page. I was kinda bummed by the ending because of that one thing that won’t be mentioned (it’s not a bad thing promise) but also because it felt a bit rushed. I really wish we could have seen Gabby and Ryan really kinda settle into the choices they made and being away from home and where that would lead. I liked getting to know both of these characters and I would have loved to see a bit more of a resolution to everything they both were dealing with. Don’t get me wrong I still really loved this book and the ending was a great ending.
One more quick side note I really really loved how present Gabby’s parents were. They were there from the beginning, they supported Gabby in every choice and they never forced her into uncomfortable situations with her anxiety. I also liked this sense that they weren’t sure how to handle it, they didn’t know how to help her and weren’t sure how far to push. It shows this kinda helpless feeling when someone we love deals with anxiety. I just loved Gabby’s parents and how supportive and loving they were. Overall this book was amazing. It was all the perfect things I love in a YA contemporary and more. Katie not only developed amazing characters, but she wrote about issues people don’t always understand or care about in such a brilliant way. I loved Top Ten and I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves contemporary.