Publisher: Electric Monkey/Egmont
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance, Feminism
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Izzy O’Neill is an aspiring comic, an impoverished orphan, and a Slut Extraordinaire. Or at least, that’s what the malicious website flying round the school says. Izzy can try all she wants to laugh it off – after all, her sex life, her terms – but when pictures emerge of her doing the dirty with a politician’s son, her life suddenly becomes the centre of a national scandal. Izzy’s never been ashamed of herself before, and she’s not going to start now. But keeping her head up will take everything she has…
If I could describe this book in one sentence it would be hilarious, pro-feminism badassery. I cannot count how many times I burst out laughing while reading this book on public transport. Izzy’s unapologetic stance regarding her sex life made for a refreshing and inspiring character. Girls are shamed from a young age and it was refreshing to have a character that defied the social expectations attached to being a female – though of course, we then saw the backlash she faced because of it.
I’m a reader whose enjoyment of a story is influenced greatly by the characters, and this one is full of loveable characters. Izzy and Ajita’s relationship made me want to hug my own best friend,
and I fell harder than I’d care to admit for Carson. My favourite character, besides the main bunch, definitely had to be Izzy’s hilarious grandmother whom Izzy – orphaned at a young age – lives with. The story even explores how bottling up emotions and dealing with them in an unhealthy/unproductive way can lead to those you love picking up similar coping mechanisms. Izzy and her grandmother often use humour to avoid serious subjects, and though it is comforting, it doesn’t deal with the actual problems they face – which they come to realise later on in the story.
The Exact Opposite of Okay is an unapologetic, heart-wrenching and brutally honest exploration of what it’s like to be a female growing up in a world where guys use being ‘friend-zoned’ as an excuse to do unspeakable things. A world where women have to be wary of every move they make and word they speak. Where breaking up with a guy, or even just rejecting his advances, can get you killed. Laura Steven does this through characters who are complex and inspiring in their own right and I honestly can’t wait to read more from her.