Review: Top Ten by Katie Cotugno

Top Ten
by Katie Cotugno
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication date: Oct. 3, 2017
Genre: Young Adult

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?



Top Ten is a book about an unlikely friendship between two teens. Gabby has some major social anxiety that is almost crippling and Ryan is a social butterfly and the high school’s hockey star. Even though these two run in two completely different circles, and have two completely different personalities, they are the best of friends. Top Ten is the story of their top ten moments throughout their friendship.

I was so excited to read Top Ten. It just sounded like such an adorable read and I’d been wanting something to give me the warm and fuzzies. Except, this book didn’t do it for me.

The characters were annoying to the point where I almost put this book down on so many occasions. Gabby is an absolute brat. She’s always putting others down and making people feel bad instead of addressing what the real issue is, herself. I mean, she finally attends one of Ryan’s hockey games and she ends up playing on her phone the whole time. I honestly don’t know how Ryan could have been friends with her. These two should not have been friends. Their personalities were not compatible at all.

The characters themselves were very flat. I just didn’t find myself caring about them… at all. I honestly just couldn’t latch onto anything with this one. Their friendship seemed forced and was always filled with drama and fighting, Gabby’s relationship with that girl (I can’t even remember her name) seemed like it was just thrown in there so that the story had a bisexual character for diversity, and I don’t think her or Ryan’s medical conditions were ever fully fleshed out.

It didn’t help that the story jumped all over the place. Which I get since this is a top ten list and things aren’t necessarily going to go in chronological order, but to go from them being the best of friends to not even knowing each other in the span of a chapter threw me off. I was always trying to get my bearings when a new chapter started because things just jumped around too much.

Top Ten had potential to be an adorable YA read and I was really looking forward to it but it fell flat for me. There was no depth, no character development, and no real reason why these two were even friends to begin with. This would have been a great way to bring mental illness and even sports related brain injuries to the forefront but it barely even scratched the surface. It would have been great if Gabby’s relationship with that girl (I STILL can’t remember her name) was more hashed out and believable. I was so looking forward to this story and I feel really let down by it.


Favorite quote…

“They were like one of those picture books about a tiger cub making friends with a mongoose, Gabby reasoned. She couldn’t explain it. It just was.”



13 Thoughts on “Review: Top Ten by Katie Cotugno

  1. YIKES! It’s hard to connect when the characters don’t grab me, so I can relate. Add to that a kid who sounds like a bully, and this probably would be a DNF for me. Your review is wonderful! Hugs…and Happy Monday! RO

  2. No thank you. THose are too many breaking points

  3. Hmm, bullys and not connecting have me thinking this is not for me. Sorry this disappointed you.

  4. Nina Happy Endings on 23 October, 2017 at 8:49 am said:

    Sorry to hear that the characters were too flat and not much depth to them. Annoying characters are terrible.

  5. I haven’t enjoyed her writing int he past so I was skipping this one anyway. Guess I made the right choice.

    For What It’s Worth

  6. well that blows.. People either LOVE this book and hate it, unfortunately a lot of people who I trust don’t like it so I keep pushing my copy away

  7. Oh I don’t think I would have enjoyed this one either. I do hope your next book rocks for you!

  8. I agree with Karen – I have not found this author’s prior books to be a good fit for my taste so I am skipping this for sure!
    Jen Ryland Reviews

  9. I am sorry this did not work for you and I understand why it didn’t. Flat characters and a story that does not flow is enough to drive anyone crazy. Great review.

  10. Sorry to hear this didn’t work for you! It’s tough when you really just do not connect with the characters- and Gabby sounds a bit rough!


  11. I’m pretty darn sure that I saw your rating on Goodreads and avoided getting this one based on it. OH I am so glad I did. SOOOO much potential but characters that avoid the reader would have distracted from ANY message. And I’ve been wanting to read of hers for a while. Oh well… Awesome review!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for the save 🙂

  12. No! I am so sad to see this one didn’t pan out for you. It’s on my to be read list, but it slid down a few notches after this.

    Thanks for the review!

  13. Sounds like it would have been fun. I hope your next read would be better Kristin!

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