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…
Beware of spoilers ahead, sorry!
So I just loved this book. It is definitely one I would recommend and am pleased I have read. It’s another that I think people should have to read because of what it covers.
I have marked this review for spoilers, but I’ve tried to keep them mild.
Izzy is not always a relatable character for me, and while I didn’t connect to her on a personal level, I definitely empathised with her and really just wanted to give her a hug!! I was so sad, if not surprised, that there were not more girls in her school defending her. I wouldn’t be friends with Izzy, but that doesn’t stop me being super angry on her behalf. And threatening to throw the book across the room at places (once when she does something super dumb, and then again when it inevitably backfires on her) because I was SO there for her story. Especially the core of it, revolving around Danny. We’ve been taught to empathise with his “plight” but really, haven’t we all been there? Where a guy you’re friends with suddenly realises you’re a girl and you are unsure if you feel obliged to give it a shot? Lord knows I’ve been confused by that a couple of times and it’s horrid. Also his whole gift thing. Ugh. Made my skin crawl.
Izzy and her screen writing and her relationship with awesome supportive teacher was amazing though – and while I don’t like how Izzy talks about her intelligence, I do love that we are shown a girl who is not super at everything. And her screenplays sound funny and witty and poignant.
But let’s be honest. Relationship wise, this book for me is all about Izzy and Ajita. Their friendship rules. 💙💙💙 and Betty! What an awesome grandma!
And going make to the main theme of Izzy’s actions and how society views them, and even takes ownership of them in a horrid way, I can’t say I would do what she did, but I can understand it and try not to judge it. I certainly can feel every bit of horror over it all coming out online and then blowing up so spectacularly. And as we are getting a sequel I desperately want to see the person behind it get more comeuppance! Izzy’s humour is not mine, but even her coarser moments work to lighten the book.
My only mild niggle is really when it plays into the “poor little orphan” and “humour to cover my pain” my tropes a little, but I think it works for the book to be honest.
Five stars, for sure, and a highly recommended read. Despite the light tone of the book, and the humour throughout, this is definitely covering some seriously heavy and important topics. And if you don’t get on with the book, I still recommend you read the blog posts at the end. They are the key of the message here, and very well written.
Buy The Exact Opposite of Okay at Amazon UK (affiliate link)