Of course I wanted the first book I review on my blog to be this little beauty.
Izzy O’Neill is an 18 year old who lost her parents when she was young and uses humour as a coping strategy for any and all problems in her life. Oh. I almost forgot. She’s also the talk of the school after a website dedicated to how much of a whore she is gets created and contains a photo of her having sex on a bench with the Senators son.
No word of a lie, if I had to pick a book to read every day for the rest of my life it would be this one. I read all 337 pages in 2 hours and 6 minutes, and as soon as I finished it I wanted to re-read it. I’m obsessed. I didn’t come across The Exact Opposite of Okay until fairly close to its release date and I knew immediately I had to get my hands on it! I don’t think I’ve been this desperate to read a book before. I happened to be in London the day before its release (ok, it might not have been a coincidence at all… I travelled for books… don’t judge me…) and I was so excited when Waterstones had some copies in stock already. Can we just stop and admire how stunning the cover is for a moment?!
See what I mean?
What I adored about this book is that it’s told in blog posts, I love the chatty feel of it which is always something that draws me into a book. I wasn’t too sure how the American setting meshed with British humour would work but I had no problem with it and understand why it was based in America. The fact that The Exact Opposite of Okay is a debut genuinely blows my mind. It’s incredibly diverse but not even once did it feel forced.
The topics TEOOO brings up are very important (slut shaming, the friend zone, male entitlement, sexuality and even financial problems) and they’re all spoken about very well and in a way that makes it easy to read about, rather than being completely dragged down by it all. Saying that, however, I did cry. More than once.
Reasons why I cried
- It’s all too real and unfortunately relatable. Not a bad thing, of course, but that doesn’t stop it from hitting home.
- The kindness of Meg and Mrs Crannon. Neither of these characters played a big part in this book but they both had a huge heart and it was just lovely to read and caused my emotions to fly out of my eyes.
- Umm, it was hilarious! Seriously. So many funny tears. I was cracking up so often. I’m glad I didn’t read it in public because I’d have got some stares.
Time to talk about the characters. What the hell, a book where every character has personality?! *gasp* It was clear to me that Laura spent time making sure they were all fleshed out, whether they were a main character or a side. Sure, not everyone was a Nice person (even if they really wanted to believe they were…) but they all felt real. I know you’re wondering, “Georgia! Who’s your favourite?” I CAN’T DECIDE. Obviously I love Izzy, at one point I was rather angry with her but she knew what she did wrong and did her best to fix it. Ajita is such a great friend, sweet grandma Betty works long hours to provide for herself and Izzy when she should retire, and Mrs Crannon always remained supportive and encouraging.
Some of my favourite quotes
- “Preserving his trademark Nice Guy image is very important to him.”
- “I can tell I’m expected to hold a normal adulty conversation at this point, not one that’s peppered with inappropriate gags and self-deprecating humor.”
- “Like, calm down. We still have milkshakes and racism.”
- “I know your crying episodes are invariably followed by half-hearted attempts to drink bleach.”
- “*lots of phallic vegetable emojis*” (I just had to include that one.)
This book has fantastic characters, a wonderful plot, the whole thing flows and develops well, and highlights important issues with society. I’m beyond glad that it lived up to my extremely high expectations. I never knew how much I needed this book in my life. I’m sure you all expect this, but The Exact Opposite of Okay gets the highest possible 5 stars from me.
If none of this encourages you to check this book out/purchase it/bump it to the top of your TBR, there’s also a lot of Harry Potter references. Do it for the sausage dog named Dumbledore.
P.S. Izzy, I too am a Gryffindor, please be my friend.