Book Review: The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 352 pages

Published: June 11, 2019

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Young Adult, Fiction & Literature, Contemporary

Synopsis: 

Bitingly funny and shockingly relevant, The Exact Opposite of Okay is a bold, brave, and necessary read for fans of Louise O’Neill and Jennifer Mathieu. 

Eighteen-year-old Izzy O’Neill knows exactly who she is—a loyal friend, an aspiring comedian, and a person who believes that milk shakes and Reese’s peanut butter cups are major food groups. But after she’s caught in a compromising position with the son of a politician, it seems like everyone around her is eager to give her a new label: slut.

Izzy is certain that the whole thing will blow over and she can get back to worrying about how she doesn’t reciprocate her best friend Danny’s feelings for her and wondering how she is ever going to find a way out of their small town. Only it doesn’t.

And while she’s used to laughing her way out of any situation, as she finds herself first the center of high school gossip and then in the middle of a national scandal, it’s hard even for her to find humor in the situation.

Izzy may be determined not to let anyone else define who she is, but that proves easier said than done when it seems like everyone has something to say about her.


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Izzy O’Neil is…well, it is safe to say that she is not like most teenagers. Her parents, unfortunately, died when she was young and is currently in the care of her grandmother. However, the sudden tragedy didn’t stop her from having a blunt personality, an extremely funny bone and a creative spirit. All her focus is on coming up with a screenplay for a competition that would help her win money for college. But all this comes to a screeching halt when sexually explicit photos are leaked on the internet. And trolls are determined to tear her apart. And Izzy quickly finds out how society works differently for girls.

Just by reading this synopsis I provided, you are probably wondering how is this any different to the other books that are similar to this any different to the other books that are similar to this? The answer: it’s not. It may have similarities to other books that explore similar themes but that doesn’t mean that you should count this book out. In fact, with the #MeToo and the pique of the feminist movement, this book is more relatable than ever. But it’s the book’s raw, honest and opinionated tale that makes it stand out from the rest.

I was drawn to Izzy’s sarcastic but honest personality. We, as readers, are not here to condone Izzy’s actions. In fact, Izzy is apologetic and understands that she could have done without certain things. However, the aftermath that she deals with, the double standards she faces, truly shows sexism at its best. There are not that many books that make me feel both angered and empowered at the same time, a feeling that Izzy embodies towards the end of the novel.

Steven manages to reflect both personal and realistic feelings in this compelling story. I don’t think of this only a feminist story but a significant novel to a teenage audience. Although written in a blog post format, written in this unique way made the story more personal. What made this book such a compelling one was the emotional tone the story conveyed. Because of this method, I feel that I was able to fall in love with this book even more. The honesty and the righteousness dripped from the pages that I have a hard time finding readers not enjoying a female character standing up against the patriarchy.

Overall rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Get it At: Amazon |Barnes & Noble|Book Depository|IndieBound| Your local library

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