by Jenn Marie Thorne
Read: Febrary 26 - March 2, 2015
Published: March 17, 2015 by Dial
Source: Borrowed from Irish @ Ticket to Anywhere (TY!)
Tags: Contemporary, YA, politics,
Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository
Kate Quinn’s mom died last year, leaving Kate parentless and reeling. So when the unexpected shows up in her living room, Kate must confront another reality she never thought possible—or thought of at all. Kate does have a father. He’s a powerful politician. And he’s running for U.S. President. Suddenly, Kate’s moving in with a family she never knew she had, joining a campaign in support of a man she hardly knows, and falling for a rebellious boy who may not have the purest motives. This is Kate’s new life. But who is Kate? When what she truly believes flies in the face of the campaign’s talking points, she must decide. Does she turn to the family she barely knows, the boy she knows but doesn’t necessarily trust, or face a third, even scarier option?
Set against a backdrop of politics, family, and first love, this is a story of personal responsibility, complicated romance, and trying to discover who you are even as everyone tells you who you should be.
When leaving her school one afternoon, Kate is surprised to find reporters camped outside. Then she's even more surprised when she gets home and finds her street blocked by more press and people who look suspiciously like Secret Service. When Kate finally makes it into her house, she discovers more official looking people, including the US Senator turned presidential candidate who claims she's his daughter. Kate's mom died a year ago never telling her the name of her father, so this is all a big shock to Kate. Now, all of a sudden she's moving in with the senator and his family and campaigning with them for the summer. It's a huge transition that changes everything Kate knew about her family and herself. Even more, this is all being played out in front of the nation and image is everything in politics.
The entire political campaign experience featured in The Wrong Side of Right was very eye opening for Kate and for me. Everything about her life became orchestrated, from her wardrobe to what she was allowed (and not allowed) to say in public. I thought the campaign process was objectively fascinating to watch from the inside. But it was hard to see how controlled-by-others Kate's life became, and to realize that her value to most staff was based on how she affected polling.
Within this environment, Kate had virtually no support system or friend looking out for her interests, and though she was constantly surrounded by people, her life felt incredibly lonely to me. Many times I wanted to scream at all the people running the campaign (one in particular), and I wished Kate had stood up for herself more than she did. Thankfully, we see some fire from her near the end of the story. I think Kate realized what was going on, but she was desperate to belong and be helpful to her father's campaign that she let a lot of things happen. Her character was also hard for me to grasp at times, an interesting blend of seeming very mature and circumspect, and at the same time, incredibly young and naive. All of this made the book much heavier emotionally than I anticipated. Though I don't think that was the intention of the story, just the way I viewed the situation.
One of my most favorite parts of this book was the sweet romance. But sadly, it only takes up about 10% of the overall plot. It was hard for Kate and this boy to spend much time together by nature of their parents, but that was also what helped to bond them together. I don't mind if the love story isn't the main focus, but I wanted a lot more of these two. Partially because I enjoyed them so much, and partially to add some balance to the stress of the campaign. Plus I connected to Andy and his view of the political machine much better than I connected to Kate's stance. If not more romance, than more friendship was needed in this story. Kate's best friend lives on the west coast, and Kate didn't had many options to make friends. Her closest companions were her newly discovered siblings, who are several years younger than her (I loved Gabe), and the senator's wife Meg, whom I came to like a lot, but still not exactly the same.
Although a few political issues are highlighted and one major one does impact the plot, this story was more about what it is like to be part of the political process, than it was focused on policies. For that, it was a fascinating insiders look, though I'm very glad I'm not a politician or a celebrity, because I couldn't handle the constant public opinion or scrutiny. Despite some mixed feelings about the book, I was happy with how it all turned out in the end. (highlight for spoiler>> I never cared for the senator. Actually, I loathed him throughout this entire book and was not satisfied that he'd made any changes by the end. He was a major disappointment, honestly. I wanted more true growth on his end, because it seemed all politically motivated to me. But I'm glad that Kate did get the family she wanted, even if he had to be part of it. << end spoiler)
Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone
If you want to see how I'd rate this book, check my review on Goodreads.