The Wrong Side of Right
Author: Jenn Marie Thorne
Publication: March 17th, 2015 by Dial
Genre: YA Contemporary
Fans of Sarah Dessen and Huntley Fitzpatrick will enjoy this smart debut young adult novel, equal parts My Life Next Door and The Princess Diaries—plus a dash of Aaron Sorkin.
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.
First of all, can we just take a moment to appreciate that cover? I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT. Very simple and artistic <33 Anyway, I really had no expectations when I started this book and I’m glad I did because The Wrong Side of Right turned out to be a pleasant surprise!
Even though politics is a very dark world and not all politicians are good, I’m quite fascinated by it, especially since last year was an election year for Indonesia. I’m somewhat familiar with the campaign — the debates, the interviews and commercials on TV and the analysis on newspaper. But what I do not know is the inside. The Wrong Side of Right provides an insight on how a campaign is run, including the dirty details. Everything is arranged, starting from your outfit to how you should answer questions. Campaign team members have to be swift to counter scandals and negative responses thrown by the mass or opposing candidate, spinning stories from available sources, steering away from the negative aspects and highlighting the positive qualities. It’s eerily similar to the entertainment business, if not more orderly and orchestrated.
That’s basically how Kate Quinn’s life changes. She thinks she’s an ordinary, orphaned girl. Then someone leaks an information that she’s the illegitimate child of a presidential candidate and she finds herself in the middle of a major political campaign. Her father acknowledges that she’s his child and his team members manage to project a positive results out of that incident.
The Wrong Side of Right follows Kate as she tries to adjust to her new life and establish a good relationship with her father and his family. I had a good time reading this book and found Kate’s narration to be highly enjoyable. Though at times she can be a little selfish and impulsive, overall I like her character. She cares a lot about her family and despite her circumstances, she accepts her new life and has a positive outlook.
“But it occurred to me suddenly that truth wasn’t an object, not something that arrived on your doorstep, solid and absolute. It was a decision, a leap.”
The family aspect is definitely prominent in this book. I liked reading about how the family interacts with Kate, knowing very well that she is the living proof of her father’s unfaithfulness to his wife. Especially Meg. She is one hell of a mature and strong woman and I grew to respect her throughout the book.
I couldn’t say the same about the campaign team members though. Even though they’re only side characters, I felt like they had the potential to be more fleshed out but in the end, they are just names and some issues with them are left unresolved. They are one-dimensional and nowhere near memorable. I wish Kate had settled things with them first before the book ends. It’s a shame because I really like one of the campaign team members.
Another issue I had with this book is the length. While I enjoyed reading the political campaign and family interaction, the middle part of the book just drags and felt insignificant. We do get a good glimpse of the campaign process but really, this book could have a better pace.
Regarding the romance, it’s safe to say that it only serves as a subplot — an element that merely adds to the story. It’s a predictable romance yet it’s something I found somewhat endearing, considering how much effort the boy gives in order to get close to the girl.
A pleasant surprise indeed — that’s what The Wrong Side of Right really is. I’m amazed that this book manages to stick to the political backdrop and not using it for mere setting. There’s an emphasis on familial relationship and moral conflicts about staying true to yourself despite what everyone’s telling you to be. I think this book is all about Kate adapting to her new life. Not about Kate and how her love interest makes her new life better, but more about Kate and HER journey, which is so refreshingly good.