Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication Date: March 3rd, 2020
ARC from Edelweiss
| Book Review |
When I read that Only Mostly Devastated was a boy-meets-boy spin on Grease, I was all in. This book was such a fun play off the movie. When Ollie’s family decides to stay in North Carolina to help out his ill aunt and her family, he is shocked to find that his summer fling, Will, is one of his new classmates. And that he is nothing like the boy Ollie remembers. He was gentle and kind over the summer, but as one of the class jocks, he is more flippant and sarcastic. This frustrated me as much as it frustrated Ollie, but also like Ollie, I had all the hope in the world when Will would give him a glimpse of the boy he’d been. I really liked the friend group. The girls were of course as feminist as could be, and while it felt like overkill at times, it still was fun. I do wonder why Ollie would be friends with girls who really weren’t very nice to him at times. I know he was new and wanted a place to fit in, but even after he met new people, he still hung out with them. I did like them in the end, but it’s almost like he hung around them the whole book just to have it all come together at the end, but because Ollie couldn’t see what was coming, I’m not sure I feel like it was worth it. As for Will’s friend group, they weren’t very aware of what was going on around them or the way they talked about people, but I think they were completely ignorant vs. purposefully being jerks, and in the end, I liked them and the fact that they became more aware. For other secondary characters, I really loved Ollie’s family dynamic so much. They were really close and there for each other, and this whole story arc broke my heart even while it left me smiling.
This story really was a lot of fun, albeit with serious issues cropping up. But that’s reminiscent of life – smiling when you can, making the most of every moment, and dealing with the hits as they come. I will say that while the tick tick ticking of social justice boxes wasn’t as prominent in this book as other YAs, there was still an ‘all Republicans are bad’ that left my eyes rolling. I’m as sick of both sides going after each other in books as I am in real life, even with snide comments. At this point, it’s starting to feel tropey, which feels a bit dangerous to me. And while, to me, it reflects the immaturity of a character, it’s starting to feel like a reflection of an author’s immaturity as well.
Having said that, I really enjoyed this book and had a blast reading it. And it’s probably not good form to say this, but I feel like this was everything I wanted What if It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera to be. If you’re looking for a fun way to while away the afternoon, you can’t go wrong with Only Mostly Devastated.
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