#20BooksOfSummer 20: The Exact Opposite Of Okay- Laura Steven

#20BooksOfSummer is an annual event hosted by Cathy Brown of 746 Books and runs from 3rd June until 3rd September With the aim to clearing a target of 5, 10 or 20 books from your TBR but with very relaxed and fun rules.

This completes my #20BooksOfSummer!!!

Book cover for Exact Opposite Of Okay
UK Cover illustration by Good Wives and Warriors

Wow. Oh my godfathers wow. I could barely put this book down, I was incensed, inspired, uplifted and sorrowful across the range of this book.

This book is a powerhouse of feminism and a scathing attack on white male privilege, toxic masculinity, ‘Nice Guy’ entitlement and the obsession that ‘polite’ society has with sex, the sexualisation women particularly young women and slut-shaming and being horrified at the decline in morals of the young (conveniently projecting away from their own behaviours)

With flavours of Pretty in Pink meets Easy A but with a stronger certificate and updated for the social media generation this is a book that every teen, and importantly every adult needs to read to assess their own behaviour and attitudes.

Trigger warnings for: suicidal thoughts, discussion of suicide plans (in black humoured jest) and outing.

Victim-Blaming
Shame
Revenge Porn
Feminism
Friendship

18 year old Izzy O’Neill lives in small town America but she’s not enjoying the McMansion life with plans of college awaiting. She dreams of becoming a comedian and scriptwriter but her parents died when she was tiny and has since been raised by her rapidly aging and financially struggling grandmother Betty. However she is loved immensely and given freedom to express and develop herself and found friendship with childhood best friends Danny and Ajita.

One party during senior year Izzy whilst drunk sleeps with both a senator’s son and a basketball star in the same night (separately!!!) but something goes wrong when the contents of her online private diary including accounts of her trysts are collected along with candid pictures of her with the senators son and later her private nude texts are online on a personalised revenge porn website.

Her life falls apart quickly, and she has to learn how to cope in a world that treats women shamefully and find out who could do such a hateful thing and why.

Last night went up in flames. Seriously, I make such unbelievably bad life choices. Can I blame this on the tragic orphan thing again? No?

I’m not going to talk too much about the themes and the events because too much spoilers BUT I will say this is immensely powerful and dark but uplifting and funny at the same time. I called it, but I was devastated to be found right.

Izzy is a force of nature, full of fire, wit and vulnerability and you feel angry, shocked, hurt, and fired up with her, for her and for all girls that are judged and put in this position because of the disgusting way that society treats and views women’s bodies.

As a mother I rage and burn for Izzy, as a woman I resonate and ache for her and as a human I hope that things change, but then it will take generations of eroding a mountain range of misogynistic chauvinism and privilege. All I can say is if I was the mother of a boy this would be just as important reading as for my girls.

The Exact Opposite Of Okay by Laura Stevens is published in the UK by Electric Monkey an imprint of Egmont. In the US it is published by Harper Collins.

10 thoughts on “#20BooksOfSummer 20: The Exact Opposite Of Okay- Laura Steven

  1. One of our regulars in work raved about this one too. I think it sounds important and fierce and great in all those ways…but I also think it might be a bit too contemporary for me, though I know you’re fussy about that too so maybe I’d like it despite that!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have to say that the American setting was a little jarring, I don’t read a lot of American children’s books (I think the most has been this year!!) but it had to be because of changes in law over here.
      To be honest it’s one of those reads where it’s so incredibly powerful because it challenges preconceptions and attitudes on earlier pages it makes us look deep inside at how and why internalised misogyny has affected women and what that is doing to younger generations. It’s a very feminist book that the ‘small town America setting’ is kind of necessary especially in today’s climate to pull the drama off to the degree required by the plot. It was a difficult read in some ways for me but at the same time I couldn’t look away.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. No I get that, there’s cross themes with Rose Interrupted but I think Rose is more grittier and TEOOO is more about the life consequences of such pictures in absolute worst case scenario type of thing

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s