What Happens When
By Samantha Boyette
Published March 2019 by Bold Strokes Books
For Molly Kennan, senior year is already an epic disaster. It feels like the whole school knows she made out with Lily at that party, and now she’s accidentally outed herself as a lesbian. Her ex-best friend is trying to ruin her life, and school generally sucks. All she wants is to drown her sorrows in sweet potato fries, but she finds herself tongue-tied by the diner’s new waitress, Zia. Zia is way out of Molly’s league. Older, beautiful, and definitely way more sophisticated. It’s probably just wishful thinking, but Molly can’t help wondering if maybe Zia is flirting with her. Despite Zia’s always-there boyfriend, Molly falls hard for her, and Zia says she feels the same way. So then why doesn’t Zia break up with her boyfriend, and why does she keep so many secrets? Then there’s Lily, who she can’t seem to stop accidentally kissing. When your head and your heart are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?
What Happens When is a fast paced story about a girl who outs herself without meaning to.
Molly goes from questioning her sexuality to suddenly being out as gay, and it all happened so fast. Her best friend Carmen is now her ex-best friend. She’s made it her mission to make Molly’s life miserable this school year.
Not knowing Carmen before the outing happened, all we see is how vicious she is. To me, it felt a little unrealistic how mean she was and vindictive so quickly. However, since I have never been in this sort of situation, it’s entirely possible that while it felt overdone, that it’s someone’s reality.
Anyhow, suddenly Molly goes from no romantic prospects to two. One is Lily, the girl she made out with at the party, and the other is Zia, a server at the diner Molly frequents and now works at.
Lily should have seemed like the obvious choice at first, but Molly falls hard and fast for Zia, who has a boyfriend and claims to be straight.
Zia and Molly’s relationship is whirlwind. That’s the best way to describe it. And honestly, Zia is a mess in her own life. It was interested gaining insight into their relationship and what others thought of it. There’s some perspectives shared on their relationship from secondary characters that are points I never had considered.
Lily, on the other hand, is steady. She’s patient and willing to wait for Molly to figure herself out.
I loved the secondary characters in this story, because there was such a variety of them and they all brought interesting perspectives to the arc of the story.
There’s a lot that goes into this story with the main focus being Molly learning who she is, what she wants in life and how to accept those parts of herself.
Overall, while I felt like this book went a little too fast, I thought overall it was a great read!