The Exact Opposite Of Okay by Laura Steven
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…
I definitely need to start this review off with warnings. There is a lot of sexual content. There is slut shaming, revenge porn, bullying, descriptions of body parts, hints at suicide, and outing someone’s sexuality. It’s a mature book.
I am actually surprised by how much I liked this book and read it in 24 hours (with breaks, obviously). I love sex positive and body positive books and we need more of that in YA. Because teens have sex. And no one should be made to feel bad about it (safe sex only people). There were parts of this book I related to and I loved the feminism.
Izzy has had a pretty rough life. Her parents died in a car accident when she was young. She lives with her grandma, Betty, and they don’t have money. Izzy is struggling on her decision on what to do after high school. She can’t afford college and her grades aren’t good. She doesn’t want an internship because she needs to help Betty pay for things and maybe retire. But Izzy loves making people laugh. She wrote a screenplay that her drama teacher loved and convinced her to send in for a competition. The teacher (who is freaking awesome) even paid her entry free.
Izzy has two best friends and they all hang out together, without others around. Ajita is super sarcastic and funny like Izzy. And Danny is the friend Izzy has had the longest. Their relationship reminded me of my two best friends and me. There is a lot of sarcasm and mean comments said out of love. Things get a bit weird when Ajita introduces a new girl, Carlie, to the group. Carlie pretty much ignores Izzy and Danny. Things get even weirder when Izzy realizes that Danny is in love with her. And she doesn’t feel that way about him.
I’m mainly sad, because anything that jeopardizes our friendship is not okay, and everyone knows unrequited love is the cancer of friendship circles.
I didn’t relate to the unrequited love part of this, but I did lose two friends over a bad choice of sleeping with them. Things got weird and were never the same. So I think that goes for love or sex. Don’t sleep with your friend unless you’re prepared to lose them if/when things don’t work out.
Izzy is not embarrassed that she has sex. It’s always safe sex and she doesn’t seem to form the attachments to guys like a lot of girls do after having sex. So I say, good for Izzy. She also has a high sex drive. I wish I wouldn’t have felt shameful and slutty for sleeping with two people in high school. Yes, two. And I felt bad. My attitude about it changed after I turned 18, but I didn’t have any self esteem about my body. Izzy is comfortable being who she is. Then the party happens. Izzy sleeps with two boys in one night. She honestly doesn’t feel bad for herself, but a bit for them. Shortly after this, one of the guys sends her a picture of his penis and asks for a nude photo back. Izzy wonders what the harm can be, so she sends it.
Yes, I take his virginity on the porch swing. Izzy O’Neil: keeping it classy since never.
I honestly do not know why guys think unsolicited dick pics are a turn-on. Like, have they ever seen a penis?
Izzy is able to talk to Betty about sex and their relationship made me happier than anything in the book. Betty was hilarious. She loved Izzy so much and would do anything for her. I loved that she never shamed Izzy for having sex as long as she was safe. Her school is not that open. In fact, they teach only abstinence. Schools like that make me crazy.
The worst thing that can happen to Izzy happens. Someone starts a website about what a slut she is, sharing a photo of her and Vaughn on the swing from the party. Things spiral from there. People start commenting. Everyone is talking about her. A male teacher looks at her differently. And Danny starts buying her gifts thinking that she’ll love him for it. And Ajita is still spending time with Carlie. It’s hard since their tripod is struggling. Izzy makes a mistake and feels alone.
Danny smiles awkwardly. “You’re welcome. I’m going to win you over. You’ll see.”
Izzy tries really hard to ignore all the comments and stares. She tries some comebacks. But inside, she feels icky. Not for having sex or sexting. Just that everyone has seen her naked (a big violation), she doesn’t know who started the site, and it’s causing problems with everything.
Sending nudes as an eighteen-year-old isn’t a crime. Revenge porn should be.
Seriously, I am just some random teenage girl with a penchant for nachos and peanut butter cups and sexual intercourse.
Izzy starts getting texts telling her to kill herself. The news picked up the story because Vaughn’s dad is this super conservative senator. Everything is spirally out of her control. It gets bad, but Izzy picks herself back up (with some help) and decides to make something positive of this.
I don’t want to reveal too much. I figured out early who started the website, but there was another surprise in there. Izzy is just such a kick ass protagonist. I was laughing a lot throughout the book. I got angry for her. And I celebrated how she was able to stick up for herself in the end.
I gave this book 5 stars and plan on reading the second one. Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for sending me an arc for review.
Have you read The Exact Opposite Of Okay? If you did, are you planning on reading the sequel?