It’s the last Saturday of the month, which means we have a buddy review for you all today! A lot of time we manage more than once a month, but we always have one at the end of the month. It’s a lot of fun reading the same book and talking about it while reading. This month we read The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven.
The Exact Opposite of Okay was released on March 8th, 2018. 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…
“Because the way the world treats teenage girls – as sluts, as objects, as bitches – is not okay. It’s the exact opposite of okay.”
Candyce: This has become one of my favorite covers. I love how the colors jump out at you. When you take a closer look there are so many details. Every time I look at it I see something new.
Isabelle: I really like this cover! The white background with all the fun colors on top are right up my alley. And there is so much to see on it! I love all the details and could keep staring at it for quite a while. I listened to the audiobook but am definitely contemplating getting this book with its beautiful cover.
Candyce: This was a book I have wanted to read for awhile. I am lucky enough to be on her Street Team and I have to start off by saying that she is an amazing person and so kind. This book comes with an important message, but brings it in such a wonderful way. Izzy writes a blog and this is basically how her story is told. Laura Steven has an amazing way with words. Izzy is funny. She knows how to tell jokes, but it may just be a way for her to cope with things in life, like losing her parents at such a young age. Her grandmother took over the parenting and they do the best they can. Everything seems okay until the pictures of Izzy having sex with a senator’s son. It quickly becomes her fault, which is wrong in so many ways. Too often these days in society, the girls are blamed for stuff like this, they are acting out or misbehaving, while when a boy does it, it’s simply ‘boys will be boys’. Or her supposed best friend trying to guilt her into dating him, because he has always been there for her and has helped her out. There is a lot of betrayal in this book. The fact that the guys she slept with didn’t get any bad attention for this just shows how wrong this world can be. I was literally upset for Izzy. I can’t imagine how heartbreaking it must be to go through something like that. This book gives a great message though. It isn’t okay for girls to be treated like that and they shouldn’t feel bad for being who they are. I really think this should be required reading. I was done with this book before I knew it. The author took a subject that is very realistic and told an amazing story. I have no bad things to say about this book. This book made me laugh, cry, but I closed the book with a smile on my face.
Isabelle: I cannot tell you guys enough how much I loved this book. I flew through it, I just couldn’t stop listening to the audiobook. The message in this book is so important and I wish girls in high school had this one their required reading list. Scratch that, not just girls, everyone needs to read this one, boys might even need to read this more than girls haha. Like Candyce said, the message in this book is brought in the most wonderful way, Izzy was such a funny character and the narrator has a lovely voice and really brought the story to life.
I cannot imagine how devastating it must be to have intimate pictures of yourself being shared with the world while you sent those in confidence. I think this book did a great job of taking us on Izzy’s road of that devastation, embarrassment and of ultimately deciding who she wants to be. This road was so well written and you can really empathize with Izzy. I loved how sexting was a topic in this book but didn’t shame teens for doing it. It tells us about the dangers but doen’t say it’s wrong anywhere. I also really enjoyed reading about the Friend Zone, it raised some questions I never thought about but made some really valid points. I think a lot of us have been in a similar situation and it’s good to think about how we react to that and how that feels for the other person.
I don’t want to say to much else about this as I would love for all of you to just go and read it and enjoy it for yourselves. I will say that even though this is a very serious topic, I was laughing out loud so much! I think it was like the first page that already made me laugh. It wasn’t all LOL and happy tears though, I also chocked up a little at some point but I think that is just the sign of a great book 😉
“The Friend Zone An imaginary area filled with self-professed Nice Guys who’ve been sexually rejected by women they’ve been Nice to. See also: A convenient social construct designed to comfort men who cannot cope with rejection. See also: A manipulative tool used by Nice Guys to make a woman feel guilty for not wanting to have sex with them.”
Candyce: Izzy starts off as a girl trying to find her own way. Yeah, she likes to sleep with boys, but she wants to and it’s her choice (while I’m not encouraging sleeping with tons of people, it should be up to someone whether they want to or not). She still is trying to come to terms with losing her parents and figuring out what she wants in life, while keeping in mind she wants to take care of her grandmother who has been working way too much just to take care of her. She wants to write scripts and is really good at it. Even though she has had her doubts. I love Izzy’s journey. She has to deal with a lot and turns out to be a stronger person than she was at the start of the book. Izzy realizes she has a right to be who she is and it’s wrong for people to judge her the way they did. She is a good person and this isn’t her fault.
Betty is an amazing grandmother. Still grieving the loss of her daughter, she does her best to take care of Izzy. She is getting older, but still works as much as she needs to to provide for Izzy. They have a great relationship and she stands with Izzy without a doubt when everything happens. She never once says she was wrong, but is there by her side and supports her. That is what family does.
Danny was a character I liked in the beginning and even felt bad for at a certain point. That all changed though. For me he turned out to be an arrogant kid who doesn’t know how to treat friends right. He thinks he has right to things he has no say in. Yeah, he may have had his own problems, but that is not how you treat people.
Ajita is Izzy’s biggest cheerleader and support when everything is happening. She may get frustrated, because Izzy doesn’t always open up, but she wouldn’t trade her for the world. Ajita is an amazing person also trying to find her way. Even when her secret comes out and in many ways it’s Izzy’s fault, she finds her way back. Definitely a true friend. But she definitely has a lot of things to deal with when it comes to her family and the many expectations they have.
There is also a love interest in this book, but with the message this book gives us, I want that to be the message, not the boy she ends up with. It just seems less important in a book like this. Even though Izzy does deserve her happily ever after.
Isabelle: I loved Izzy a lot, she was a great character to read about. As I said, she’s really funny and she starts out pretty confident. She knows what she wants and likes and is not ashamed of it. However, in light of certain events she starts to doubt herself and the people around her. While I’ve never been in a situation like Izzy, I thought she was very relatable. After everything that has happened, Izzy turned out to be an even stronger person, more confident and more secure in how she wants to be. I would say she could be a role model for a lot of girls, even though she has slept with multiple boys, as I don’t see why that should be a problem if you’re not in a relationship and as long as you’re being safe and don’t let yourself be pressured into anything.
Betty was such a great parental figure, you could see where Izzy got her humor. Betty would do anything for Izzy and while they both don’t have it easy, you could tell they loved one another a lot. I particularly loved the scene in the graveyard, there’s always more to learn about a person and relationships keep evolving and growing.
Ajita is an amazing best friend, we could all use an Ajita! I liked that she also had her own story going on but was still so supportive off Izzy. I would have liked to read more about her and really hope we get to read her perspective in the sequel. Ajita was another fun character who had a lot to figure out, there wasn’t too much development for her character but I do think her and Izzy’s relationship grew stronger after everything.
Now Danny is a completely different story. While I didn’t really care one way or another for him at the start of the story he quickly started to annoy me more and more. He thinks he’s such a nice and great person but doesn’t see that he’s not always that nice and that just because he’s nice and buys gifts that doesn’t mean he has a right to become someone’s boyfriend simply because he really likes that person. He needs to make some better decisions!
“Don’t look at me like that. This is a book about a sex scandal: did you really expect me to be a nun and/or the Virgin Mary?”
This was such an amazing book and we are both looking forward to the sequel coming out next year! The Exact Opposite of Okay is an important book for all girls. The message this book wants to bring across is how this world is at times. Girls need to be aware of this and realize in a lot of cases it isn’t their fault. Laura Steven is an amazing author and everyone really needs to read this book!! Have any of you read this yet? What did you think?