Book Review: What Happens When by Samantha Boyette

‘What Happens When’ is an edgy young adult story.

Molly is forced out of the closet by her alter drunken ego by making out with a girl during a summer party before her senior year. She is dreading school because she knows she is going to face ridicule. This is her senior year journey of gaining acceptance from others and also being able to accept herself.. 

The level of bullying was pretty outrageous. I’m so naive that I just assume we have progressed far enough that this type of behavior doesn’t exist anymore. I’m well enough removed from High School that I can admit that I likely don’t have a clue, but it makes me sad if this type of homophobia still happens. 

The situations are appropriately amateur for the age of characters. Molly is exploring her feelings for girls and as such, has a raging boy-like libido. The author does a good job of setting scenes with teenage banter to makes the reader feel immersed in a high school mindset.

I’m not so sure that I believe Molly deserved as much acceptance and forgiveness as she received from her friends and family. She was downright selfish. Her actions and decision making were sometimes cringe worthy. Her character was hard to like. She only got a pass from me for the fact that she WAS a teenager and they do stupid things.

I did genuinely like Molly’s brother and friend Gavin. They were awesome comic relief throughout the book. 

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this. It was a very quick read as I finished it in about 4-5 hours. It had a good mix of coming out, humor, and angst. I recommend to people who enjoy high school stories, teenage angst, accepting families, gay activism, and those first-time-all-consuming-crushes-that-are-never-a-good-idea.

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