Only Mostly Devastated
SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA meets CLUELESS in this boy-meets-boy spin on GreaseSummer love...gone so fast.Ollie and Will were meant to be a summer fling—casual, fun, and done. But when Ollie’s aunt's health takes a turn for the worse and his family decides to stay in North Carolina to take care of her, Ollie lets himself hope this fling can grow to something more. Dreams that are crushed when he sees Will at a school party and finds that the sweet and affectionate (and comfortably queer) guy he knew from summer isn’t the same one attending Collinswood High.Will is more than a little shocked to see Ollie the evening of that first day of school. While his summer was spent being very much himself, back at school he’s simply known as one of the varsity basketball guys. Now Will is faced with the biggest challenge of his life: follow his heart and risk his friendships, or stay firmly in the closet and lose what he loves most.

Only Mostly Devastated Details

TitleOnly Mostly Devastated
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 3rd, 2020
PublisherWednesday Books
ISBN-139781250315892
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Contemporary, LGBT, Romance

Only Mostly Devastated Review

  • Chaima ✨ شيماء
    January 1, 1970
    SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA MEETS CLUELESS, INSPIRED BY GREASEI expect to be only mostly devastated or else I am complaining to the manager for false advertisement
  • Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
    January 1, 1970
    I really, really enjoyed this!! I do wish we had gotten a little more show and a little less tell in regards to the romance between Ollie and Will, but I still really enjoyed this and I could NOT put it down. Not only was it super fun and romance-y, but it also had some depth and really took a good look at grief and I liked it a lot. I cannot wait to read what Sophie Gonzalez puts out next!TW: terminal illness, death of a loved one, homophobia
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  • Maja - BibliophiliaDK ✨
    January 1, 1970
    I CANNOT EXPRESS HOW MUCH I LOVE THIS BOOK! I requested this book from Netgalley for one reason - it is branded as an LGBT version of Grease! Instantly I thought, 'How can that not be great?!'. I was lucky enough to get this on a wish and oh boy was I right! It was so great, so sweet, so nostalgic but still so fresh. I am all out fangirl-ing for this one!! I only have one thing to say - get your hands on this as soon as you can!! "All I'd needed was a Destiny's Child song playing as an I CANNOT EXPRESS HOW MUCH I LOVE THIS BOOK! 😍❤️💖I requested this book from Netgalley for one reason - it is branded as an LGBT version of Grease! Instantly I thought, 'How can that not be great?!'. I was lucky enough to get this on a wish and oh boy was I right! It was so great, so sweet, so nostalgic but still so fresh. I am all out fangirl-ing for this one!! I only have one thing to say - get your hands on this as soon as you can!! 😍😍 "All I'd needed was a Destiny's Child song playing as an overture and it would've been the greatest "screw you" since Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind." - Ollie ❤️ THE THINGS I LOVED ❤️Grease: One of my all time favourite movies is Grease, it always takes me back and makes me happy. I absolutely love how this book drew on the overall concept of Grease and how it was, in many ways, delightfully recognisable. You could identify the different characters in this book with the movie cast and certain scenes are reminiscent of the original. But it was still a story all on its own and that was amazing!LGBT: There are too few LGBT books out there that truly represent what it's like to be LGBT (I am bi, myself). But I absolutely loved the different representations in this book, the closeted, the openly out and the confused. It felt like a very real representation and it really hit home for me over and over again ❤️Ollie!: OMG if it wasn't because he was gay I would totally fall in love with Ollie! He was so amazingly sweet, adorable and awkward, he had my heart from the first moment! I was rooting for him right from the start! "Note to self: carry bass around everywhere and break into impromptu solo whenever anyone tries to force you into conversation."- Ollie LOL: I am usually not the person who says - or writes - LOL but this book just embodies it so well! There were so many passages that honestly had me laughing out loud, it was so amazing. I mean, I can get a good chuckle going usually, but actually laughing is rare for me. ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review Follow me for more book goodness: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
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  • Judith
    January 1, 1970
    3.5A hugely enjoyable YA romance which also tackles a serious subject-very well.This is only slightly touched on in the blurb so I'm not going to elaborate too much.The theme of the book isn't a new one.High school setting with an out character and one firmly in the closest.But this is truly engaging.Told only from Ollie's pov and I think I fell for him instantly.Ollie and Will have a summer fling.It's intense and passionate but once the summer is over Ollie is baffled by Will's silence.To make 3.5A hugely enjoyable YA romance which also tackles a serious subject-very well.This is only slightly touched on in the blurb so I'm not going to elaborate too much.The theme of the book isn't a new one.High school setting with an out character and one firmly in the closest.But this is truly engaging.Told only from Ollie's pov and I think I fell for him instantly.Ollie and Will have a summer fling.It's intense and passionate but once the summer is over Ollie is baffled by Will's silence.To make things worse Ollie and his family must move temporarily and Ollie starts a new school.Will's school and if Ollie was confused about Will's silence after their fling he's even more bewildered by Will's indifference to him at school.Ollie is befriended by three girls who kind of take him under their wing.These characters definitely added depth to the story.They're not the stereotypical high school girls.They're individual with issues of their own that I'm sure any young person reading this will identify with.I read The Law of Inertia by this Author and loved it so I knew I liked her writing.She manages to tackle a serious subject here,which doesn't overwhelm the story,along side the romance between Will and Ollie.There are no on page sex scenes between the MCs at all.And I honestly didn't miss them.The story didn't need them.Strangely,I think I enjoyed the story more without them.The story is very well crafted.It's sweet with a bit of angst,funny,with a serious side.Two highly likeable MCs,and great supporting characters.A YA story that will appeal to a lot of people.Maybe too much of a 'young' feel for me but still very engaging.Review copy provided by the publisher,via NetGalley.
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  • C.G. Drews
    January 1, 1970
    You know what? I just simply adored this. I'm heart-eyes over it, but also in awe, because it tackled so many complex and serious topics AND managed to be an adorkable romcom that squished the air out of my lungs so many times. No, no, I genuinely had to put it down and scream at one stage. Out loud. You know a book is absolutely fantastic when it makes you feel absolutely e v e r y t h i n g the characters are feeling.omfg, Ollie, I was with you in that moment at the end. We exploded together. You know what? I just simply adored this. I'm heart-eyes over it, but also in awe, because it tackled so many complex and serious topics AND managed to be an adorkable romcom that squished the air out of my lungs so many times. No, no, I genuinely had to put it down and scream at one stage. Out loud. You know a book is absolutely fantastic when it makes you feel absolutely e v e r y t h i n g the characters are feeling.omfg, Ollie, I was with you in that moment at the end. We exploded together. (view spoiler)[THE BASKETBALL KISS I WILL NEVER BE OVER IT. I DIED AND I THINK WILL HAD A HEART ATTACK AND OLLIE ASCENDED. (hide spoiler)]...is it too early to declare a book a favourite for 2020? No? Good. because here.[the cute]first off, this book is goddamn adorable. Ollie is the kind of narrator who is all gangly arms and unfortunate moments and has the softest heart of gold. His family recently totally uprooted themselves to move closer to his dying aunt, and he babysits his little cousins all the time, plus is there for his aunt, plus lost like...his whole life. And he just keeps on keeping on. You can't keep this kid down, I swear. And he's totally a social dork (i love him) but he manages to make friends at his new school with three girls who seem close, but also at odds. And lo and behold: his summer fling named Will who ghosted him goes to this school too.it's a recipe for disaster, quips, banter, and adorkable catastrophes.I laughed, I feel in love with the characters, I wanted to cry. I just went through it all.[the heavy]Look, this book deals with family grief, of the anxiety of watching someone dying, and it felt really respectful and weighted how it talked about it. I LIKE when books know how to do the cute funny scenes, but also segue into serious moments. And this book is also so massively about being queer and being closeted. Ollie is out. Will is so so deeply closeted the actual thought of anyone knowing he and Ollie "had a thing" terrifies him. I thought Will was so well done, particularly when he was being an asshole...like I got it. I got why he hurt Ollie, and I got why Ollie got angry. And the book really really delved into this discussion of: you don't owe anyone to come out of the closet, you need to do things in your time, when you are safe. But you can hurt people. And that's still on you. There was so much aching and longing and fear here. And it felt real, and well handled, and I will just...I will just cry on you. I connected to so many of the topics here. The nuance was just -- yeah still crying brb.Honestly, this one has characters who will fill your whole heart, addictive writing, and themes that resonate so deeply. It's SUCH a good book omg what can I say but throw a lot of exclamation points at you.
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  • ✨ jamieson ✨
    January 1, 1970
    SUMMER LOVING, BUT GAY !!!Greese inspired queer romcom pitched as Simon Vs meets Clueless? @ SOPHIE GONZALES .... TELL ME MORE, TELL ME MORE
  • ☆ Todd
    January 1, 1970
    Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda meets Clueless, inspired by Grease. With all of the many, many dramatics of the straight friends in the book, I definitely got a "Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda" vibe from the story, no doubt.But "Clueless" was extremely funny, which this book had its moments, but I didn't personally feel that humor played much of a role here. At least not constantly, like in "Clueless".And "Grease"? Ummm, I didn't really feel that many Grease-like moments, but I'm not Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda meets Clueless, inspired by Grease. With all of the many, many dramatics of the straight friends in the book, I definitely got a "Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda" vibe from the story, no doubt.But "Clueless" was extremely funny, which this book had its moments, but I didn't personally feel that humor played much of a role here. At least not constantly, like in "Clueless".And "Grease"? Ummm, I didn't really feel that many Grease-like moments, but I'm not completely obsessed with that movie in the same adoring way that my hubby is. The boy has a problem, I'm telling you. hehAs the story began, it was Ollie's first day at a new school in North Carolina, then over the course of the story, we got flashbacks of a summer fling that he'd had with a local, closeted basketball player, Will, which seemed to end fine, only to be followed by a bout of extreme ghosting.Will had expected the end of summer to also signal the end of their short relationship, but when Ollie enrolled at his new school, Will freaked out pretty badly, exactly as I'd figured he would. Talk about your chickens coming home to roost.I liked both Will and Ollie, understanding all too well the predicament that they were in, but just like with "Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda", I had the same feeling that their friends' problems at least partially overshadows the *main* story in this M/M YA romance.The one side plot that I was happy to include pages for was Ollie's aunt's cancer, and how Ollie stepped up to help with her kids. Every single page of that sub-plot felt genuine and packed with tons of emotion.However, I could've honestly done without a few of the other side-plots with Ollie's new gal pals. Those parts felt long and drawn-out, making me want to skip pages until we got back to the romance.The story had no steam, but finished with a very strong HFN, with the boys thankfully going (view spoiler)[ to colleges very close to one another (hide spoiler)], something that a lot of YA stories fail to end with, which never fails to piss me off.Overall, the book made me smile and left me in a hopeful, upbeat mood, the main reason that I read YA to begin with, so I'd rate this one at around 3.5 stars and recommend it to YA readers looking for a manageable level of angst.-----------------------------------------------My ARC copy of the book was provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.See All My Latest Reads (Review Quick-Links)-----------------------------------------------
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  • Cassie
    January 1, 1970
    {"The catch is, girls have to ask guys," Matt added.Huh. Seemed pretty heteronormative. And what if a girl wanted to ask a girl? Or otherwise.} THIS BOOK! It is such an important story and brings up such valid topics, such as the quote above. Honestly, I went into this with expectations of having a good time and just rooting for all the gays. And I got that, but I also got so much more out of this book. The writing was also amazing. It was smart and funny and I adored every word on these pages. {"The catch is, girls have to ask guys," Matt added.Huh. Seemed pretty heteronormative. And what if a girl wanted to ask a girl? Or otherwise.} THIS BOOK! It is such an important story and brings up such valid topics, such as the quote above. Honestly, I went into this with expectations of having a good time and just rooting for all the gays. And I got that, but I also got so much more out of this book. The writing was also amazing. It was smart and funny and I adored every word on these pages.We follow Ollie and Will, two boys who had a summer fling together. Ollie was supposed to just spend the summer in North Carolina and then go back home to California. Unfortunately, Ollie's aunt's health took a bad turn, so he ended up staying in NC. Little did he know, he would be going to the same school as Will. Which, Ollie should be over the moon happy about that, right? Except there's just one problem. Will isn't out to everyone yet. In fact, the only person who knows he's gay is Ollie.Ollie ends up meeting some friends, which I grew to love his friend group, and by the end of the book I so wished I could have been friends with them, too. Niamh, Lara and Juliette were loyal to Ollie and to each other. They were also very passionate about their personal hobbies, with Juliette wanting to go to college for music, Niamh wanting to be a plus sized model, and Lara for just wanting to be her true self and to be happy in life. Ollie also ended up joining a band, but we didn't really get to see much of the other band members, and I kind of wished we had. But, to be fair, it's because I was thrilled that Ollie was able to join a band because he has such a passion for music and once upon a time, I, too, had a passion for music. I basically lived and breathed music for years, from the time I woke up every day until I went to sleep. So, not a big deal, but still something I wished we saw more interactions from. Also, Ollie's friends from California were barely mentioned and I honestly forgot all about them until the end of the book when he brought them up again. I also kind of wish they were a little more relevant to the story. But, again, not really a big deal.So, Oliver dealt with some shit and then some. I saw myself in his character and I was rooting for him the entire time. Honestly, he took so much shit from everyone but still stuck by their side because that's who he is. And I am the same exact way, no matter who the person is or what they've done to me. I blame this on me being a Hufflepuff, but I'm proud to be one, so really, it's all good! I did appreciate that Ollie did try to grow a backbone and put himself first. Okay, so speaking of Ollie trying to grow a backbone, I'd like to take some time to talk about the point in this story that sealed it as being my favorite book of this year. Yes, I'm calling it. I truly don't think anything else will be able to top Only Mostly Devastated. There was a point in this story where Ollie and Lara were talking about how the people they care about the most have wronged them and how they just need to move on because they both deserve better.And, honestly, this just resonated throughout my entire soul? Like, that sounds dramatic, but I truly don't know any other way to put it. Without getting too deep, I've been going through some things with my mental health and I keep trying to tell myself that I deserve better and that I need to learn better self-care. But, because I'm super fucking loyal when it comes to those that I care the most about, it's easier said than done for me. So, when this quote that Ollie said came up, I just sat there and cried for a few minutes.{"Maybe I hadn't spent enough time wondering when my needs would start to really matter to me."}That quote right there hit me in so many ways. Only Mostly Devastated is full of POC characters, bi characters, gays, friendships, family love, happy moments, sad moments, sappy moments, cute af moments, moments that will make you want to tear your hair out in frustration, dramatic moments, and flawed characters but real and authentic ones. Ollie and Will both learned from their mistakes and realized how selfish they were both being to each other. They both tried to understand each other's side of things and it was pretty great. For me, this is what made their relationship work and be perfect in their own way. But, seriously, Lara's character growth is one that I loved so much. I could not stand her in the beginning of the book, but she eventually learned from her mistakes and became a better person.{"I didn't want to talk about this. I thought I was fine.""Yeah, fine as a man who's been gently corrected on the internet," Lara said, crossing one leg over the other.}I can't thank Sophie Gonzales enough for taking the time to bring this absolute perfection of a story together. For being able to share this story for those who need it the most.I cannot wait for y'all to be able to read this story and hopefully love it as much as I did. It's a story about hope and caring about those whom you love while also not losing yourself in the process. It's a story about friendship and for always sticking together through the best and worst of times. It's a story you do not want to miss out on. I already plan on owning multiple copies of this book. (ARC, hardcover, and eventually the paperback edition) Because, as you know, there's no such thing as owning too many copies of your favorite books, right?I would like to thank Lexi at St. Martin's Press for reaching out to me and providing me with an ARC. It's very much appreciated and cherished.Quotes above are taken from an ARC copy and are subject to change upon the finished edition. Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales is set to release in March 2020.Trigger warnings for: Accidental outing, fat shaming, homophobia, cancer, loss of a loved one.----------------------I'm only mostly devastated that this book comes out in 2020 and we still haven't invented time machines.Look, a book loving bitch is impatient so I'm just gonna go crawl in my cave now and y'all can wake me up in 2020 when this book is released!!!
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  • Kelly (and the Book Boar)
    January 1, 1970
    Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/As soon as I heard “inspired by Grease” – well . . . . . . Much like the band TLC I will fully admit I ain’t too proud to beg either and did everything in my power to acquire an early copy of this one. And as soon as Ollie started his new school only to run into his summer lovin’ Will who totally pulled a Danny Zuko with his popular basketball buddies by saying he spent his summer just . . . . . You know this old lady was like . . Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/As soon as I heard “inspired by Grease” – well . . . . . . Much like the band TLC I will fully admit I ain’t too proud to beg either and did everything in my power to acquire an early copy of this one. And as soon as Ollie started his new school only to run into his summer lovin’ Will who totally pulled a Danny Zuko with his popular basketball buddies by saying he spent his summer just . . . . . You know this old lady was like . . . . . Only Mostly Devastated was everything I wanted it to be. It totally had a Simon vs. the Homosapiens Agenda vibe as the blurb promised (not so sure about the Clueless namedrop – not really accurate and it wasn’t even necessary when the book is a guaranteed winner like this one), Will totally had some legit reasons for being a bit of a turd, Ollie was a great/understanding friend, but not afraid to use his words and was unwilling to be a doormat just to make someone else’s life easier, there was just enough teenage drama, and of course it all culminated ♪♫♪at the high school dance, where you can find romance, maybe it might be loooooooove♪♫♪.I ate this sucker up . . . . . Highly recommended.Endless thanks to Wednesday Books for the early copy. You got me feeling all . . . . Rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dongShoo-bop sha wadda wadda yippity boom de boomChang chang changitty chang sha-bopDip da-dip da-dip doo-wop da doo-bee dooBoogedy boogedy boogedy boogedyShoo-be doo-wop she-bopSha-na-na-na-na-na-na-na yippity dip de doomWop ba-ba lu-mop and wop bam boom!
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  • Anna Luce
    January 1, 1970
    3 stars“It was late afternoon, on the very last Wednesday of August, when I realized Disney had been lying to me for quite some time about Happily Ever Afters.”Only Mostly Devastated tells a cute but extremely formulaic story that is as memorable as a teen coming-of-age movie (possibly of the Netflix variety). I really wanted to enjoy this but I found the story to be unimaginative, the plot to be uneventful and—with the exception of Ollie and Will—every single character struck me as being ★★★✰✰ 3 stars“It was late afternoon, on the very last Wednesday of August, when I realized Disney had been lying to me for quite some time about Happily Ever Afters.”Only Mostly Devastated tells a cute but extremely formulaic story that is as memorable as a teen coming-of-age movie (possibly of the Netflix variety). I really wanted to enjoy this but I found the story to be unimaginative, the plot to be uneventful and—with the exception of Ollie and Will—every single character struck me as being little more than a stand-in for a certain issue.Positives✓ Sophie Gonzales' simple writing style effectively conveys Ollie's various thoughts and experiences. Rather than loosing herself in a purply metaphors Gonzales has opted for a more direct and plain prose and this first-person narrative is perhaps the most accomplished aspect of Only Mostly Devastated. Ollie hooks readers in, right from his opening lines, and keeps us entertained and engaged throughout the majority of the novel.“Thankfully, Mom and Dad raised me to aim low, to encourage a healthy contentment in hitting par.”Ollie's is an amusing narrator. He is fairly awkward, very sweet, and has a lovely sense of humour. He shows self-awareness and self-respect (two things that are often MIA in a YA main character). While he does use acronyms (I had to google D and M) and makes plenty of references to popular culture, these were well incorporated into the narrative (they didn't come across as just random insertions). If anything they made him into a believable teenager.“A week later, and I was still getting lost more often than the girl in the Labyrinth movie, except I didn't even have David Bowie in tights as a reward for my efforts.”✓ The Grease-inspired story had potential. This ‘Will isn't the same after the summer’ scenario created a good amount of tension and angst. Ollie is confused and hurt by Will's change of character (from a sweet and sensitive boy into an obnoxious class clown who doesn't even want to be seen with Ollie).✓ The relationship between Ollie and Will was well developed. While Ollie doesn't excuse Will's behaviour (“I'm a dick because I've always been a dick around my friends wasn't really an excuse.”) he doesn't pressure him to make their summer romance public knowledge. Ollie, quite rightfully, finds it intolerable to be someone's ‘dirty secret’, yet he also understands the difficult position Will is in (“No one deserves to be outed against their will.”). In spite of their disagreements and different attitudes, readers can see just how much they care for each other. They share many tender moments and I thought that their ups-and-downs were very realistic.Negatives✗ The storyline starts well enough but soon fell into a predictable path. We have a certain number of subplots following Ollie's friends and his aunt which were so thinly rendered as to have little impact on the overall story.✗ Ollie's friends and his aunt seemed to exist only so that the novel could address certain hot topics. Sadly these characters were reduced to the issues they were contending with. Take Ollie's new friends: they just happen to be the three people he gets to know on the first day. One is there so the novel can include a hurried, and extremely superficial, discussion on body positivity. She has few lines and they mostly have to do with her appearance/body/diets+exercise regime...her personality was mostly non-existent. She was defined by this subject matter. Another one of his new friends (the girl who decides to nickname our protagonist Ollie-oop on the very first day...who does that?! Someone from Riverdale?) exists so the story can include an 'its okay to fail/keep trying' message. And then we have the girl who had the potential to have a more defined personality (not a good one but still) ended up being portrayed as a rather clichéd bully-with-a-heart. These three girls were poorly developed and rather unbelievable. Ollie's aunt (and her illness) seem to have been included only as an inciting plot-device...which isn't great as it is a cheap way to try to make your readers feel sorry or sympathise with Ollie (he didn't need this extra dose of sad).✗ Ollie's parents are so unimportant and 'unwritten' as to be closer to two nebulous entities than to two human individuals. In her first appearance Ollie's mother tells him that they will be moving to a new state and he can't complain because she has a lot on her plate. Which...yeah. After that she has a few lines about 'energy' and such. Ollie's father makes his first appearance around the 40% mark and tells him off because he is stressed. After that I'm not sure he does or says anything of notice. They were like the adults in Tom and Jerry..cut off from Ollie's story, barely in the picture. ✗ Ollie's 'old' friends disappear after one video call...clearly they had a very meaningful relationship with Ollie.✗ Will's two 'dude friends' were as poorly developed as the rest...✗ That ending was way too cheesy (even by rom-com standards).Teens who haven't read a lot of YA might find more enjoyable than I did...but readers who aren't keen on plots that rehash tired elements from high-school dramas might be better off skipping this one.Read more reviews on my blog / / / View all my reviews on Goodreads
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  • Hollis
    January 1, 1970
    I'll admit that this didn't end up being the most amazing wonderful adorable hilarious queer YA rom-com I expected it to be back when it was first announced. But I think, based on how insane my expectations were, this was still a pretty good read; even if, despite the ages of the characters and some of the subject matter, it did read a little on the younger of the YA side.If you're picking this one up hoping to see some Grease references, you'll be pretty happy, I think. They weren't overdone, I'll admit that this didn't end up being the most amazing wonderful adorable hilarious queer YA rom-com I expected it to be back when it was first announced. But I think, based on how insane my expectations were, this was still a pretty good read; even if, despite the ages of the characters and some of the subject matter, it did read a little on the younger of the YA side.If you're picking this one up hoping to see some Grease references, you'll be pretty happy, I think. They weren't overdone, it didn't stick to the script half as closely as I expected, and it ended up being very much it's own thing -- with it's own emotional backbone to set it apart -- but you don't need to go hunting too hard to see some parallels. Though I'm still waiting to understand the Clueless connection, so, fair warning for that comparison.This wans't quite the lighthearted-adorable-this-was-everything that I wanted, but this was diverse, and queer, and I know that plus the adorable cover is going to make this a hit for so many readers.Full review to come.** I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **
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  • Hayley ☾ (TheVillainousReader)
    January 1, 1970
    Am I humming "Summer Nights" while I write this review? Possibly. Yes.Only Mostly Devastated is a story about two boys who spend the summer falling in love only to have to say goodbye at the end of it all. But wait. SURPRISE! Ollie shows up as the new student at Will's school. Whoops. Cue drama. Cue romance. Cue SUMMER NIGHTS. Let me just start off by saying that, although I tried to lower them, my excitement and expectations for this book were very high. I mean look at that cover and that Am I humming "Summer Nights" while I write this review? Possibly. Yes.Only Mostly Devastated is a story about two boys who spend the summer falling in love only to have to say goodbye at the end of it all. But wait. SURPRISE! Ollie shows up as the new student at Will's school. Whoops. Cue drama. Cue romance. Cue SUMMER NIGHTS. Let me just start off by saying that, although I tried to lower them, my excitement and expectations for this book were very high. I mean look at that cover and that blurb! How could my expectations not be high! While this read was enjoyable and cute it, didn't quite do it for me like I was hoping. Ollie was a joy to read. He was sassy and melodramatic, but in the ridiculously hilarious way all teenagers think that the world is going to end because they have a pimple (*whispers* I was said teenager). I loved Sophie Gonzales uses of italics as emphasis. I don't see a lot of authors do that and it really helped me hear the character's voices and their tones. While Ollie's inner monologues were fun I do think at times they were a little... much. So many jokes that it got a little repetitive. Will on the other hand was pretty flat to me. After reading 279 pages I still don't really feel like I know his personality let alone what he looks like, and I really like to know what characters look like. I did really love the importance Sophie placed on family. The world today is so individualist and what can people do for you that it was nice to read about a family who dropped everything to be there for each other. I loved that Ollie was not once upset about the sacrifices he had to make to help out. I read this book, and enjoyed it, but I wasn't consumed by it. The secondary characters were quirky and fun, but things just seemed a little flat. Surface level. It didn't give me the feels I was hoping for. It didn't stand out. I don't know something was just missing. Things happened but also nothing really happened? The foundation was there, and while it was a good one, there just needed to be more depth and sparkle. In the end this was a quick, lighthearted read that's perfect for a beach day or a day laying in the park.I really do think Sophie Gonzales has a lot of potential and I'm excited to see what she comes up with next. **ARC provided by publisher in exchange for honest review. Thank you!
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  • Sophie Gonzales
    January 1, 1970
    TAGS:First Love, Unrequited love, Rollercoaster Romance, Pining, Boys in Denial, Happily Ever After, MC is self-deprecating, Sarcastic / Deadpan Humour, Gay rep, Bi rep, Anxious MC, Shy MC, Cocky Love Interest, Comfort, Bitchy Girl with a Heart of Gold, Medium Level Angst, MC is Already Out, Supportive Parents, Boys Riding Unicorns, TW Mentions of homophobia (called out), TW biphobia (called out), TW fatphobia (called out), TW Family Member with Cancer.Also: Here are some other books that are TAGS:First Love, Unrequited love, Rollercoaster Romance, Pining, Boys in Denial, Happily Ever After, MC is self-deprecating, Sarcastic / Deadpan Humour, Gay rep, Bi rep, Anxious MC, Shy MC, Cocky Love Interest, Comfort, Bitchy Girl with a Heart of Gold, Medium Level Angst, MC is Already Out, Supportive Parents, Boys Riding Unicorns, TW Mentions of homophobia (called out), TW biphobia (called out), TW fatphobia (called out), TW Family Member with Cancer.Also: Here are some other books that are queer af written by authors who are also queer af. Add them, read them, boost them. Because the only way to get more queer books out there is to support the ones that already exist. That's how capitalism works, boys, gals and nonbinary pals. https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/1...And lets do something fun! If you know an amazing, traditionally published / to-be traditionally published book that's queer af by an author who's also queer af, please recommend it in the comments below! Give everyone a new to-read list! Go!
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  • Tucker
    January 1, 1970
    you guys i'm getting an ARC... i cannot contain my glee!!!!!!!!!!!-------------i can already tell that this is going to be a smash hit
  • Moony Eliver
    January 1, 1970
    So, I have this on my YA shelf, and I'm going to leave it there, even though this reads much more like middle grade. (But I don't have an MG shelf and I don't want one, because that's not a genre I usually read on purpose.) Having said that, it's a good MG book, and I think it will hit a sweet spot for that audience.As shown in the blurb, this is a Grease retelling. And that was a cute novelty for a few chapters. But I ended up feeling like it tried a little too hard to squeeze into that mold, So, I have this on my YA shelf, and I'm going to leave it there, even though this reads much more like middle grade. (But I don't have an MG shelf and I don't want one, because that's not a genre I usually read on purpose.) Having said that, it's a good MG book, and I think it will hit a sweet spot for that audience.As shown in the blurb, this is a Grease retelling. And that was a cute novelty for a few chapters. But I ended up feeling like it tried a little too hard to squeeze into that mold, to its detriment. If the inspiration had been taken for the story setup, but organically followed its own story after that, it may have worked better. “Why aren’t you getting up, then?”Kids were full of excellent questions. How could I explain to a seven-year-old that I was afraid to get out into this too-dark street, walk up that too-long driveway, and ring the too-loud doorbell?Maybe I could put it in a way that was accessible to them? Like, this is the cortisol that’s flooding the blood, that flows in the veins, that lead to the heart, that’s pumping too fast in the chest of the guy, who’s too scared to knock on the door of the house where Will lives. I still found it mostly entertaining. The POV character, Ollie, had a plucky, witty narrative and it gave me a few chuckles. I enjoyed the side characters who made up his group of friends (à la the Pink Ladies) -- and there was great representation with them, as well. “I didn’t want to talk about this. I thought I was fine.”“Yeah, fine as a man who’s been gently corrected on the internet.” Ultimately, my biggest challenge was that the characters felt much younger than they were. They were supposed to be seniors in high school, but their reactions, maturity, and focuses seemed several years younger. If allowances are made for that, I think the book offers a good time for the audience who wants a cute, slightly angsty, queer story. It has some serious topics but doesn't cover them very deeply or emotionally - more like Serious Stuff 101. Conflict for Beginners.So, essentially, a good MG book.**ARC requested and received from NetGalley and the publisher.
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  • Cat
    January 1, 1970
    “Promise me we’ll find a way to see each other again.”“I can’t promise that.”“Then lie. Please.” I had a feeling going in I was going to enjoy this. With Grease, Simon and Clueless as comps, how could I not? What I wasn’t prepared for was how smart it was going to be, how often I was going to literally snort at the jokes, how much I would cry. Most of all, how freaking relatable everything was. The premise is familiar and Grease-like. Ollie meets Will over summer vacation and falls head over “Promise me we’ll find a way to see each other again.”“I can’t promise that.”“Then lie. Please.” I had a feeling going in I was going to enjoy this. With Grease, Simon and Clueless as comps, how could I not? What I wasn’t prepared for was how smart it was going to be, how often I was going to literally snort at the jokes, how much I would cry. Most of all, how freaking relatable everything was. The premise is familiar and Grease-like. Ollie meets Will over summer vacation and falls head over heels. When his family decide to stay in North Carolina to look after his sick aunt, Ollie finds himself at the same school as Will, only to find that, here, Will is popular, rude and one of the jocks. Oh, and closeted. Ollie is adopted by a group of girls, and I think they might be the crowning achievement of this story. As much as I love the romance between Ollie and Will (and I’ll get to that later), the girls are freaking wonderful. You have Lara, who’s white, bisexual and bitchy in a way that’s reminiscent of Rizzo. But unlike Rizzo, she’s called on her shit over and over again. I think in the end that’s why I thought her bitchiness worked. I don’t mind gray characters, as long as they’re not allowed to get away with it. But she’s also a lot more than that! No spoilers, but by the end of the book Lara was my favorite character. Character growth, baby. A lot of it. Probably one of the best examples I’ve ever seen. There’s one particular scene with her that made my bi heart soar, when, following a slut-shaming scene revolving around Lara kissing another girl, Ollie tells her she can kiss whoever the f*** she wants. I literally fist-pumped reading that. The bi rep in this was incredible. And it also had some important discussions about how bi people are still bi if they’re in male/female relationships, which isn’t discussed enough, I feel. My favorite character aside, you then have Juliette, who’s black and a clarinet prodigy, loyal and sweet. Then you have Niamh, who’s black, fat and traditionally beautiful, who’s pursuing a modelling career in New York, while dating Darnell, a popular basketballer, who isn’t sure if he can drop everything to go with her while she chases her dreams. It was so refreshing to see a fat character get the guy and her dreams without needing to lose a single pound, and it has important discussions about the dangers of restrictive eating, especially as a teen. “Who needs love when you can have passion?” Lara said. NOW IT’S TIME TO TALK ABOUT OLLIE. Ollie is a cot-damn cinnamon roll. He’s just the squishiest, funniest, sweetest character I’ve ever read about, and he deserves the WORLD. THE WORLD, I TELL YOU. When he has that whiplash with Will…… you’re there getting whiplash with him. The amazing thing about this book is that even though the LI can be a genuine dickwad, he has those ‘hot then cold’ moments where you see exactly why Ollie adores him. I think that’s important, because so many books just expect you to believe the mc is in love with a terrible person, and you’re sat there wondering why on earth? I’m going well over my planned word count now, so imma wrap it up. In summary, this book is the funniest thing I’ve ever read (“I’d been a bush in a school play once, and, not to brag, but I’d been told I was a natural at it” – I spat out my drink here), it has some of the best, non-forced diversity rep I’ve personally come across (I can’t speak to the POC rep as I’m white, but the bi-rep made me tear up. It’s ownvoices, so I’m not surprised, but still!!!), a cast of characters who are completely gray, and more importantly, allowed to be gray and sometimes-shitty without being cast as villains (so often marginalized characters are presented as one-dimensional and not allowed to make human mistakes, and sometimes it can come across as patronizing). I read this in one sitting. It’s that good. 5 stars, can’t recommend highly enough.
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  • Silvia
    January 1, 1970
    I was sent this book as an advance copy by the publisher for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own. 4.5 starsI was taken by surprise by this queer Grease retelling, not because I didn't expect it to be good (it sounded amazing) but because it kept trying to annoy me and it just...didn't.Only Mostly Devastated is both a light-hearted romcom and a book that has many heavy themes within it, and the two aspects felt well-balanced and well-researched. With so many delicate themes at hand, I was sent this book as an advance copy by the publisher for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own. 4.5 starsI was taken by surprise by this queer Grease retelling, not because I didn't expect it to be good (it sounded amazing) but because it kept trying to annoy me and it just...didn't.Only Mostly Devastated is both a light-hearted romcom and a book that has many heavy themes within it, and the two aspects felt well-balanced and well-researched. With so many delicate themes at hand, there is going to be space for nuance as every reader reacts to each instance according to their own sensibilities and life experiences. To me, there was so much I could see easily going downhill but instead going the opposite way. Comments that were immediately challenged on page, conflict that could've been easily dismissed by one character but instead was acknowledged and respected. (Only one thing that I could think of didn't really leave me satisfied, because the apology came late and wasn't really an apology but it's seen as one because of the character's personality.) This is not to say it's all black and white: these are teenagers and they make mistakes and in the process learn to navigate life, and to me that was enough.If you've seen Grease you might already expect how the romance works: summer fling, same school, two groups of friends. Add in the queer element, and the major conflict becomes the fact that Will is deeply closeted. This constitutes one of the heavier aspects of the book, second to the illness plotline, so I wouldn't call this story fluffy by any means. But to me it felt very real and all in all I feel like Ollie never expected Will to come out for the sake of their relationship, he was fully willing to keep it a secret from everyone while simultaneously rightfully being frustrated by some of the decisions that Will took in order to keep his sexuality safe.Will's sexuality is not the only one in question, and there is a secondary sapphic character who gets outed to the whole school and this kind of furthers the narrative in more than one way. This is not something I had thought much about while reading and ultimately I think it was done more for the sake of the Grease retelling than to further the m/m relationship, but I can see how it might not sit well with everyone.Ollie's aunt's terminal illness is the other major aspect that makes this book not the easiest to read. I don't want to get too personal but I had to force a sense of distance in order to power through the book, and I found Will's emotions very real and the grief aspect one of the best I've ever seen handled in a book. I wasn't surprised to go on the author's biography and find out she works as a psychologist, because she really hit all the spots with this story line.With so much that was ultimately emotionally heavy content, how come I still called this light-hearted? Ollie's internal monologue was simply a delight, and this is coming from someone who's finding herself more and more distant from the "contemporary YA 1st POV voice", but I could simply not care. Was it over the top sometimes? Yes, but I didn't care. I liked Ollie's voice and I thought he was highly relatable and funny.I also loved the friendships in here. I couldn't immediately understand the girls but once I did I loved their little messy group, and the guys were annoying but ultimately not unredeemable, especially once they got educated.Speaking of the girls, it's the first time I see PCOS being talked about in a book, YA especially, and how it affects the girl's life. It was something I wasn't expecting and it almost brought me to tears since nobody ever talks about it.So, I think it's fair to say I loved this. I would recommend to make sure you check the TWs first in order to be prepared, and even if you're someone who doesn't read a lot of YA (in general or anymore) but you're still curious to try this, I think you won't regret it.Rep: gay MC, bisexual Venezuelan LI, female bisexual side character, POC characters, fat character with PCOSTWs: a character gets outed against their will, terminal illness (cancer), hospitals, fatphobic and fatshaming comments (not immediately challenged), talk of weight loss and dieting, talk of PCOS and its symptoms and how they affect the character's weight loss/diet, homophobic comments, death of a family member, grief, underage alcohol consumption
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  • Larry H
    January 1, 1970
    This book is all kinds of adorable!!"It was late afternoon, on the very last Wednesday of August, when I realized Disney had been lying to me for quite some time about Happily Ever Afters. Because, you see, I was four days into mine, and my prince was nowhere to be found. Gone. Vanished."Ollie and his parents moved to North Carolina from California for the summer when his aunt becomes ill. He spends most of his summer at the beach, taking care of his young cousins. There he meets Will—handsome, This book is all kinds of adorable!!"It was late afternoon, on the very last Wednesday of August, when I realized Disney had been lying to me for quite some time about Happily Ever Afters. Because, you see, I was four days into mine, and my prince was nowhere to be found. Gone. Vanished."Ollie and his parents moved to North Carolina from California for the summer when his aunt becomes ill. He spends most of his summer at the beach, taking care of his young cousins. There he meets Will—handsome, kind, athletic, and fun—and it's not too long before the two have completely fallen for one another. But after Will leaves the beach to head home, Ollie never hears from him again—no calls, texts, nothing.As if that's not enough for Ollie to deal with, his family has decided to stay in North Carolina to help care for his aunt for a year. Now he has to do his senior year in a completely new school, which seems like the worst possible scenario. Then he discovers that it's the same school Will attends, which is fantastic...until he discovers that no one knows Will is gay, and worse than that, this version of Will—the cocky, clownish, closeted bro—isn't someone that Ollie likes at all.Ollie makes friends with a circle of girls, each with their own challenges to deal with. Will is torn between wanting to spend time with Ollie and overcompensating whenever one of his friends from the basketball team comes by and could possibly suspect the truth about Will. It gets to the point where Ollie is tired of being treated like dirt by Will, tired of being jerked around so Will can maintain his reputation.Meanwhile, as things with Ollie's family get tougher and tougher to deal with, Will's on-again, off-again feelings become a challenge for Ollie, too. He understands what it's like not to be ready to share your sexuality with others, but Ollie doesn't deserve to be an afterthought. But how many times can he be the butt of a joke from Will's friends or, worse, Will himself? How can he stand by and watch as Will pretends to be someone he's not at Ollie's expense? Only Mostly Devastated is a really sweet and funny book, with an added layer of poignancy. I like the complexities that Sophie Gonzales gave her characters, so this was a little bit more than just a high school rom-com. Once again, when I read this book I found myself wishing something like this existed when I was younger and wondered whether there was anyone else out there who felt the way I did, and once again I'm grateful we live in a world where books like these are plentiful.I've got to question the marketing of this one, though: it's being billed as Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda meets Clueless in this boy-meets-boy spin on Grease . The only similarity I see between any of those and the book is when Will's new friends realize that the boy he's been talking about is someone from their own school—a slight parallel to that scenario in the movie Grease .As with many rom-coms, there's nothing earth-shattering about Only Mostly Devastated , but Gonzales' writing is so engaging, and its story is one you want to root for. Can you ask for much more than that?NetGalley and Wednesday Books gave me an advance copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available! Only Mostly Devastated publishes March 3.Check out my list of the best books I read in 2019 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2019.html. Check out my list of the best books of the decade at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/my-favorite-books-of-decade.html.See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.
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  • Finitha Jose
    January 1, 1970
    I do have a soft spot for high school romances, especially the one involving a coming-out story. Oh, not that I miss school days . . . just prefer the adult life without the worries of exam grades and revisions. All the same, glad to receive a copy of this book through a wish in netgalley. The novel progresses through the perspective of Ollie (yes, our devastated hero). Brave and caring, he manages to win our hearts from the very beginning. There are no usual teenage tantrums as we expect, I do have a soft spot for high school romances, especially the one involving a coming-out story. Oh, not that I miss school days😬 . . . just prefer the adult life without the worries of exam grades and revisions. All the same, glad to receive a copy of this book through a wish in netgalley. The novel progresses through the perspective of Ollie (yes, our devastated hero). Brave and caring, he manages to win our hearts from the very beginning. There are no usual teenage tantrums as we expect, instead, we are shown to the life of a mature boy (partly owing to his upbringing) who steps in to help his aunt in the time of need. And that brings me to the next character: Aunt Linda. She may not have that many appearances, but her influence permeates throughout; some sad and some inspiring. It could be because I am on bed rest with a herniated disk that her plight drew me in. It is not anywhere near cancer, but she gave me the much-needed catharsis. There are sometimes in our lives, we are confronted with some unexpected and unsurmountable barriers, and that in turn make us realise how much we are going to miss some ordinary things. So the way Linda approached her deadly illness, reminds one of the importance of little things. Will, Ollie's Disney prince, has his own demons to fight. Unlike his lover, his parents and friends are not open to his sexuality. His problems could be the usual ones, but the author way of dealing it is quite refreshing. Well, some scenes are quite unoriginal but that didn't stop me from shouting out with glee (internally, of course). Altogether a beautiful, heartwarming story that will make you weep and smile till the blissful end. Surely something to mark your calendars for in 2020.
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  • Mandi1082
    January 1, 1970
    Summer Love or Summer Fling? That is what happens between Ollie and Will. Summer comes to an end and Will has officially ghosted Ollie. On the other hand Ollie has a lot of things going on in his life. His parents spring on him that they are staying in Town to help with his dying aunt instead of heading back home to California. Ollie is a senior starting a new school where nobody knows he is gay. To make matters worse he finds out he is going to the same school as Will who has ignored his text Summer Love or Summer Fling? That is what happens between Ollie and Will. Summer comes to an end and Will has officially ghosted Ollie. On the other hand Ollie has a lot of things going on in his life. His parents spring on him that they are staying in Town to help with his dying aunt instead of heading back home to California. Ollie is a senior starting a new school where nobody knows he is gay. To make matters worse he finds out he is going to the same school as Will who has ignored his text and acts like nothing happened between them. I loved this book. I loved the story and the writing. I loved Ollie's sense of humor. I loved the vast cast of different characters and all there story lines. It made me cry and it made me laugh. Thank you St Martin's press and Wednesday books for an ARC of this book for an honest review!
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  • Georgia
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Netgalley for providing an early copy for review. Wow. I was told by a friend to read this ASAP, and I am so very glad that I did. The buzz about this one is truly deserved. Most of the time books get a chuckle out of me at most. I was rolling around in my seat with laughter during only mostly devastated! Gonzales has a way of slipping humor into her MCs inner monologue, as well as dialogue, that never feels forced, and caught me off guard again and again with how hilarious it was. Thank you to Netgalley for providing an early copy for review. Wow. I was told by a friend to read this ASAP, and I am so very glad that I did. The buzz about this one is truly deserved. Most of the time books get a chuckle out of me at most. I was rolling around in my seat with laughter during only mostly devastated! Gonzales has a way of slipping humor into her MCs inner monologue, as well as dialogue, that never feels forced, and caught me off guard again and again with how hilarious it was. Beyond that, it did make me cry, too. I was extremely impressed with Gonzales' skill in weaving so many serious issues into a comedy while not dragging down the overall mood or resulting in an uneven tone. The sad scenes were appropriate, and felt earned. I don't want to spoil things so I won't go into too much detail here, but suffice to say, be prepared to cry with laughter and with sadness while reading this one. I would compare this style of humor with the Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue. This book is something special, and I anticipate the buzz will only grow as we get closer to the release date. Ollie and Will are the couple everyone is going to fall in love with: funny, angsty, sweet, determined, flawed and real.
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  • Teal
    January 1, 1970
    Hmmm, I'm at a bit of a loss with this one. For two reasons:1. The blurb.When a blurb touts a book as "This Bestseller and That Bestseller meet T'Other Bestseller!!!" it passes my glazed eyes without registering. Because usually that's marketing bullshit, and at least 99% wrong. Thus, I went into this book oblivious to the fact that one of the comparisons made is to Grease. Which is apparently, like, a cultural phenomenon? A Thing that people are into? That they squee over? That makes them want Hmmm, I'm at a bit of a loss with this one. For two reasons:1. The blurb.When a blurb touts a book as "This Bestseller and That Bestseller meet T'Other Bestseller!!!" it passes my glazed eyes without registering. Because usually that's marketing bullshit, and at least 99% wrong. Thus, I went into this book oblivious to the fact that one of the comparisons made is to Grease. Which is apparently, like, a cultural phenomenon? A Thing that people are into? That they squee over? That makes them want to read this book, because, wow, Grease!?? If so, I feel weirdly unqualified to write a review, because I saw the movie when it was first released, and that was, shall we say, a long time ago. Also, I hated it, so I've never thought about it again in all the years since.So if you've reading this because you're excited to see the parallels between this book and Grease explored -- well, you've come to the wrong review. Consider yourself forewarned, so you can bail out now and save yourself the disappointment.2. The fluff.It's being marketed as YA, with MCs who are seniors in high school -- therefore 17-19 years old -- yet they read much younger than that. I had to keep reminding myself they were 18-ish, but it never did stick, because they felt 15-ish to me. Ollie, the 1st-person narrator, comes across as someone very innocent and chaste who never never even dreams of, say, peeking at internet porn. It's as if he doesn't even know it exists. And maybe in the book's world, it doesn't.The book's world is not the real world, in more ways than that. The public high school setting in "nowhere" North Carolina, smack-dab in the middle of the Bible Belt, is an airbrushed version of reality, where a gay kid gets absolutely no harassment whatsoever from his peers. Not a single slur is heard. Everything is just sweetness and light. Huh. I lived in the Bible Belt for almost 20 years (rural Virginia, not NC), and unfortunately the real-life version of it is vastly nastier. And Ollie's parents never even acknowledged that they were dragging him back into the closet by moving to NC, never once checked with him on how things were going in this new (and in real life, vicious) environment -- which in my eyes is practically tantamount to child abuse. So it's difficult for me to see this book as anything other than fluffy, fluffy fantasy. I'd say the target audience should be young teens. The younger and more innocent, the better. I can't see it resonating with older teens, unless they're specifically looking for escapist fluff.My two caveats leave me unsure of how to rate this. I recognize I have a tendency to over-star LGBTQ+ YA books. I'm just so damned grateful they exist. So I really waaaaaaant to give it 4 stars. It's well written. Ollie is feisty and thoughtful and thoughtless and fairly convincing as a kid who's in the process of growing up into an interesting person. The love interest, Will, is obnoxious and spoiled and sensitive and insensitive and maybe could be an interesting person himself someday.But I couldn't get invested in them as a couple -- possibly because of how they came across as 15 rather than 18. If this had been Ollie's coming-of-age story, rather than a romance, it would have suited me more. If he'd fallen in love, and it hadn't worked out, lesson learned, and life goes on, I think it would have made for a better story.Three stars is a rating more in line with my reading experience. But given that the book isn't due to come out for another 2 months (this is an ARC I won in a Goodreads giveaway, without any obligation to write a review), I'm going to hold off on giving a rating for now. I'll just mull it over some more, aka procrastinate, and decide on the star rating later.
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  • anna (½ of readsrainbow)
    January 1, 1970
    RTC but like, i felt A Lotrep: gay mc, bi latino li, bi side character, plus-sized poc side character, poc side characters
  • Lisa Wolf
    January 1, 1970
    Summer loving had me a blastSummer loving happened so fast.Well, you know how it goes.Two cute teens meet on their summer vacation, fall head over heels, say sad good-byes… and then end up attending the same high school in the fall.But in Only Mostly Devastated, we’re not talking good girl Sandy and bad boy Danny. Instead, we have two adorable boys, Ollie and Will, who have a magical summer together. They should be thrilled to end up at the same school unexpectedly, right?The problem is (and of Summer loving had me a blastSummer loving happened so fast.Well, you know how it goes.Two cute teens meet on their summer vacation, fall head over heels, say sad good-byes… and then end up attending the same high school in the fall.But in Only Mostly Devastated, we’re not talking good girl Sandy and bad boy Danny. Instead, we have two adorable boys, Ollie and Will, who have a magical summer together. They should be thrilled to end up at the same school unexpectedly, right?The problem is (and of course, there has to be a problem): Ollie is out; Will is not. And while Ollie came out to supportive parents and a chill circle of friends and school acquaintances back in California, Will grew up in more conservative North Carolina, where homophobic jokes are de rigeur for the cool jock crowd and their hangers-on.When Ollie and his parents relocate to North Carolina to be near his terminally ill aunt and help with her children, he doesn’t really expect to run into Will without some effort. Not to mention that Will appears to have ghosted him right after their final summer good-bye kiss.So when Ollie tells the group of girls who befriend him on his first day of school about his summer love — and shows them a picture — complications almost immediately crop up. Because of course, Will goes to the same school, and of course, the girls are thrown for a loop by this news that straight hot basketball star Will is maybe not so straight after all.Ollie is sweet as can be, and it’s so sad and painful to go through all his emotions alongside him. He’s firmly out and will never accept a situation where’s he’s forced back in the closet — but he has to respect Will’s choice, even if it means accepting that Will has to pretend not to know Ollie, and can’t hang out with him too visibly for fear of being teased about turning gay.The author does a great job of helping us (and Ollie) understand why Will might fear being outed, showing the social environment at school and the not-so-subtle pressure to conform, as well as the scorn reserved for those who don’t fall nicely into socially acceptable gender and relationship roles.Meanwhile, Ollie forms close friendships with a trio of girls who seem to adore him and take him under their wings. They’re all interesting and varied, not just a generic crowd of high school girls but real people with distinct personalities and conflicts and challenges.Ollie’s family life is also portrayed sensitively, and it’s quite sad to see Ollie processing his aunt’s decline while also being there for his two little cousins. As if Ollie wasn’t adorable and sweet enough already, he’s also a terrific babysitter and loves his family unconditionally, and it’s heartbreaking to witness his grief when the inevitable finally happens.The cast of characters in Only Mostly Devastated is nicely diverse without making a big fuss over it, which I really appreciated. The romance at the heart of the story is so well done, and even though it’s almost too sad at times to see how hurt Ollie is, by the end, it feels like a realistic journey that the boys go through to get to where they end up. (Being vague here, so as not to spoil too much…)If you enjoy sweet, sensitive young adult romances with well-earned happy endings, definitely check out Only Mostly Devastated!
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  • Boston
    January 1, 1970
    DNF at 18%. I went into this book without any expectations whatsoever and I was still disappointed within the first few chapters. The writing was good and I’m sure a lot of people will end up liking it but it just made me uncomfortable. One particular line, which was intended to be a joke, seemed more like internalized homophobia that wasn’t addressed. From other reviews I’m fairly certain I won’t enjoy this book so I’m just going to stop here.
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  • Hayley
    January 1, 1970
    Oh my goodness. I somehow got lucky enough to get my hands on an early copy of this, and I'll tell you something right now: you should all be marking your calendars for 2020. The story kicks off as we're introduced to Ollie, who's hilarious, wry, and hopelessly in love with Will, who he met at the lake over summer. The problem is, Will lives in North Carolina, while Ollie is due to go home to California. Then things get complicated when Ollie's parents announce a last-minute change of plans to Oh my goodness. I somehow got lucky enough to get my hands on an early copy of this, and I'll tell you something right now: you should all be marking your calendars for 2020. The story kicks off as we're introduced to Ollie, who's hilarious, wry, and hopelessly in love with Will, who he met at the lake over summer. The problem is, Will lives in North Carolina, while Ollie is due to go home to California. Then things get complicated when Ollie's parents announce a last-minute change of plans to look after Ollie's very sick aunt and her children, moving Ollie to North Carolina for his senior year. Ollie is hopeful that he might be able to see more of Will, however, Will seems to have ghosted him. Then, after Ollie makes friends with a group of vibrant girls, he discovers that not only has Will not been abducted by aliens as he'd feared, but goes to the very school he's just moved to! One issue: Will isn't out. And as much as he seems to very much still have feelings for Ollie, he's so terrified of being outed that he refuses to even be seen with Ollie in public. What follows is a breathless push and pull dynamic, as both boys oscillate between moving on from the other and being sucked right back into the other's orbit. Ollie, trying to figure out what's more important: Will learning to prioritize his feelings, or Ollie learning to prioritize his own feelings. Will, trying to figure out how to embrace the sides of him that aren't accepted by his family and friends, and how to fight the urge to run back under his safe, fake mask whenever he takes a small step out of the closet. One of the most amazing parts of this story is how no one is really in the wrong. You can see where Ollie is coming from, and you can see where Will is coming from, and the only solution is for them to work through their own issues. It's extremely refreshing to read a relationship where the conflicts aren't evil villains, or one partner being flat-out awful, or worst of all, the conflict is poor communication. This is real. Here, the conflict is life, and both boy's character flaws. Sophie Gonzales nails the teen boy voice so well that I was truly gobsmacked to learn that she isn't / wasn't one! I find that a personal peeve in YA is when stories tend to beautiful, sometimes purple, prose that is lovely to read, but let's face it: very few sixteen year old boys would be caught dead rhapsodizing about the exact shade of the dew-covered tulips in the soft glow of morning. Gonzales manages to deftly avoid that trap by weaving a story that is voicey without being basic, and smart without being unrealistic, with Ollie throwing in astute life observations and startlingly funny asides in a conversational manner that makes you feel like you know him personally. Reading this book brought me back to when I was a teenager, falling in love for the first time, having my heart broken for the first time, and the delicious thrill of realizing that I wasn't imagining those signs after all. All the best parts of the wild, desperate ride that is falling in love as a young person are the focus of this book. Gonzales seems to simply revel in it. I can't wait for this book to come out, so I can yell about it with the world, instead of my dog. He's not a very good listener. I'm quite sure I won't be alone in my excitement!!!!!!!!!!
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  • . (not active on this account stop adding me)
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 starsas an actual bisexual woman who's been a victim of fatphobic bullying her entire life and suffers from pcos, i'm genuinely upset at some of the shoddy representation in this book. review to come? i'm still fuming about some of the rep, so we'll see representation: gay mc, bi li, bi side character, plus sized side character with pcos, non-white main and side characterscontent warnings: biphobia, fatphobia, homophobia, death of a family member ARC kindly provided by Wednesday Books in 2.5 starsas an actual bisexual woman who's been a victim of fatphobic bullying her entire life and suffers from pcos, i'm genuinely upset at some of the shoddy representation in this book. review to come? i'm still fuming about some of the rep, so we'll see representation: gay mc, bi li, bi side character, plus sized side character with pcos, non-white main and side characterscontent warnings: biphobia, fatphobia, homophobia, death of a family member ✨ ARC kindly provided by Wednesday Books in exchange for an honest review ✨
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  • ellie
    January 1, 1970
    synopsis: pitched as simon vs the homo sapiens agenda-me: say no more.
  • Elise (TheBookishActress)
    January 1, 1970
    this looks like the gay romcom of the century and i'm very here for it
  • *The Angry Reader*
    January 1, 1970
    A lot of thoughts. A lot of feelings. Primarily disappointment and aggravation. Let’s sort through this, shall we?Okay. Basic premise - sort of like Grease. Summer romance. And then they see each other again and it’s like “oh. I have an image to protect so I can’t be the cool dude I was to you all summer.” Will is a popular athlete who isn’t out. Oliver is our. Ollie ends up at Will’s school after a summer fling. And Will is just awful to Ollie. Over and over and over again. I get that Will has A lot of thoughts. A lot of feelings. Primarily disappointment and aggravation. Let’s sort through this, shall we?Okay. Basic premise - sort of like Grease. Summer romance. And then they see each other again and it’s like “oh. I have an image to protect so I can’t be the cool dude I was to you all summer.” Will is a popular athlete who isn’t out. Oliver is our. Ollie ends up at Will’s school after a summer fling. And Will is just awful to Ollie. Over and over and over again. I get that Will has a right to keep his sexuality to himself. I get that I don’t understand the stigma that comes with being a gay man in the south. And I keep trying to find a way to forgive Will. But laughing at gay jokes at your dude’s expense in front of him to save face? Nah. Just nah. And this just led to a lot of feelings - how can I review a book when I cannot identify with the characters’ struggles? How would i feel if this was a heterosexual relationship? Is it fair to review an LGBTQ book utilizing a heteronormative lens? Bc yeah - I’m pissed. If a man treated a heroine like this I’d like all “screw that guy.” And guess what? I’m all “screw that guy” now. Is my indignation misplaced? Does there need to be a different standard? I kept thinking “what If one character wanted to hide the relationship Bc of the other character’s ethnicity?” Which made me soooooooo much angrier. But again - is that an accurate comparison? I don’t think Ollie is less-deserving of respect Bc Will isn’t out. I’m not sure how you have a relationship with someone who wants to hide your relationship. Do you? Ever? And does hiding your relationship necessitate red herrings and meanness? It seems like you shouldn’t ever be with someone who isn’t proud to be with you. Does that mean folks that aren’t out have to be alone? I truly don’t know. But I do know young readers shouldn’t read this and think this is an okay way to treat someone or to be treated. So here’s what I’m saying. I don’t know. This book made me massively uncomfortable. The writing was adorable. The friendships were great. But good golly miss molly I cringed through this entire book. And maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I missed the entire point. I am super open to discussion here Bc it seems like this book has some pretty high ratings. And I don’t know why I feel how I feel - which is just dirty and sad. I’m going to start the next St Cyr - I’ve been looking forward to it for the last 75%. As always, thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to offer an honest review.
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