Look, you probably bought this book because you read the blurb about how I’m an impoverished orphan and also at the heart of a national slut-shaming scandal, and you thought, Oh great, this is just the kind of heart-wrenching tale I need to feel better about my own life, but seriously, you have to relax. I am not some pitiful Oliver-Twist-meets-Kim-Kardashian type figure.”
Izzy O’Neil is an impoverished orphan, aspiring comedian, and if you read the tabloids everything that is wrong with the youth of today. Finding herself in the middle of a sex scandal involving a politicians son and a garden bench her life starts to fall apart. Whilst trolls set to tearing her apart, she digs deep to find out who started the horrific website showcasing her ‘exploits’. Izzy is about to find out that the way the world treats girls is not okay… it’s the exact opposite of okay.
I have had The Exact Opposite of Okay on my to be read pile for ages. A year in fact. It was sent to me by Egmont for review before the publication day last year but in my complete and utter useless phase as a book blogger I just put it away and didn’t actually look at it. I figured I’d get round to it eventually. Then I got Laura Steven’s second book through ahead of International Women’s Day and I loved the sound of it.
I had in fact (regrettably) ignored The Exact Opposite of Okay so much that I didn’t realise that A Girl Called Shameless was the sequel. However I do believe you can read them separately if you wish.
It wasn’t until I attended the amazing Northern YA Literature Festival at UCLAN earlier this month and saw Laura on a panel that I realised the stories followed on from each other. And that The Exact Opposite of Okay was sat gathering dust in my long neglected library.
I went home and dun it out immediately. And I am so glad I did! The fact that this book was gathering dust matches the title of the book. It was not okay to leave it unread.
I have devoured this book in a few sittings. It made me remember why I love YA so much and why its so important to have Literature out there that teenagers can read and relate to. Izzy is bullied in the most horrific way. Life just keeps throwing her shit and there are times that she wants to give up. But she just has to keep remembering that it is not okay that this stuff has happened to her and she can stay strong.
The topics covered in the book are pretty mature, but the main character is 18 so thats not an issue to me. There’s sex, drinking, swearing and political outrage. There are points made about the fact that Izzys behaviour is called out, but wouldn’t be if she was male.
The book made me angry, sad and want to do something all at the same time. It also called out the importance of being true to yourself and speaking about the hard times, not hiding them behind humour. I loved every single word of this book and I can’t wait to read A Girl Called Shameless!
The Exact Opposite of Okay will be one that I will be recommending time and time again!
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