The Exact Opposite of Okay – Laura Steven

‘Look, you’ve probably bought this book because you read the blurb about how I’m an impoverished orphan and also at the heart of a slut shaming scandal and you though ‘oh great, this is exactly the kind of heart-wrenching tale I need to make myself feel better about my own life’ , but seriously you have to relax.

The exact opposite of okay

Izzy O’Neill here! Impoverished orphan, aspiring comedian and Slut Extraordinaire, if the gossip sites are anything to go by . . .
Izzy never expected to be eighteen and internationally reviled. But when explicit photos involving her, a politician’s son and a garden bench are published online, the trolls set out to take her apart. Armed with best friend Ajita and a metric ton of nachos, she tries to laugh it off – but as the daily slut-shaming intensifies, she soon learns the way the world treats teenage girls is not okay. It’s the Exact Opposite of Okay. 

 

 

What I thought:

This book is funny! I mean it’s really properly funny. I don’t normally laugh out loud when reading a book because for me comedy is about the way it is said as much as the words that are used, something that is hard to put in writing. I think the fact that it is written as a collection of blog posts is part of that.

It has the tone of a ‘grown-up’ Georgia Nickelson book (Angus, thongs and full frontal snogging) in the way that Izzy sees the world and is unwilling to put up with the shit being thrown at her and using comedy as a defense against any attacks. She’s unashamedly feminist and pulls people up on their privileged comments, even if the person making the comments is one of her best friends.

When people first start slut shaming her for sleeping with two people in the same night she’s able to laugh it off but it starts impacting more and more in her life it becomes harder and harder to ignore. It also becomes more clear that what’s happening to her isn’t okay and yet people, such as the the school, seem to think she’s brought it upon herself.

There are times when this is a hard read because it’s so realistic, seeing the two blokes get let off while she gets more persecuted is completely unfair. But it’s also something that still happens in our society more than we would like to admit. Through Izzy, Laura Steven is able to push issues such as slut shaming, male privilege and ‘the friend zone’. Because how dare a girl only want to be friends with a guy who has clearly told her he wants to be more. I mean surely the best way to get her to like him is to keep giving her stuff and saying that ‘everyone thinks they’d be cute together’, the word no just means he has to try harder! Urgh!
And yet it’s because of moments like these that it can be a hard hitting read, it rings true. What originally happens to Izzy might be extreme but the fallout isn’t, the fallout is exactly something I could see happening at my secondary school (I mean I did leave 10 years ago and it is an all girls school but still…).

 

Why I read it:

I’d picked up this book in Waterstones and ummed and ahhed about getting it and eventually decided against it so put it back down again and walked out. That night Laura Steven was on #UKYAchat (which is a weekly chat on twitter at 8pm on a Friday about UKYA), I went back into the shop on the Saturday, bought it and finished it the day after.

 

Final Thoughts:

This book is a funny YA that looks at what it means to be a feminist in the 21st century, slut shaming, the friendship zone, and bullying. I LOVED IT. If I gave scores, it would easily get 5 stars. Easily

Would I recommend: If I could politely throw this book at people I would.Seriously though people, EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS BOOK.

 

Challenges

Popsugar: About feminism, Alliteration, published in 2018, problem facing society today.

 

If you’re a friend of mine and I normally give you books for your birthday expect this to be one of them this year. Please let me know if this review has made you interested or if you’ve already read it.
This book more than any I’ve read so far this year is asking for a book club like discussion about the things that happen and I have no one to talk to about it in real life.

Ta Ta for now,

Rea

 

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4 thoughts on “The Exact Opposite of Okay – Laura Steven

  1. It’s commonplace seeing this kind of shaming both when you’re at school, and then in the media with regard to celebrities. Particularly common to see people blaming the victim as having brought it on themselves. So to read a book from that victim’s perspective. going through that, could be a interesting and revealing read.

    Liked by 1 person

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