The Exact Opposite Of Okay by Laura Steven
Illustrated by: n/a
Translated by: n/a
Published: Expected Publication Date: 8th March 2018, Electric Monkey (Egmont)
Length: 352 pages
Narrated By: N/A
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult Fiction, Realistic Fiction
Where Did I Get It? I was lucky enough to get an ARC at YALC 2017
Blurb: 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 her 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 was the world treats teenage girls is not okay.
It’s The Exact Opposite Of Okay.
Look, you probably bought this book because you read the blurb about how I’m an impoverished orphan and also at the heart of a national slut-shaming scandal, and you thought, Oh great, this is just the kind of heart-wrenching tale I need to feel better about my own life, but seriously, you have to relax. I am not some pitiful Oliver-Twist-meets-Kim-Kardashian-type figure. If you’re seeking a nice cathartic cry, I’m not your girl. May I recommend binge-watching some sort of medical drama for the high caliber of second-hand devastation you’re looking for.
Either that or you saw the nudes, which, y’know. Most people have.
My Review: Cor, what a read!
The world is a big scary place anyway but once the internet gets involved as well, the likes of social media means that news spreads like wildfire. Even when it isn’t actually ‘news’ and is actually just somebody getting on with their own life and making their own decisions that are exactly nobody’s business but their own and that of those directly involved.
That is what happens to the main character in The Exact Opposite Of Okay. Izzy is a fairly self-confident teenager who is comfortable in her own skin and happy with her sexuality – everything teenagers should be, really.
But then someone takes an unsolicited photograph of her at a party and creates a website purely to slut-shame her. They photoshop her selfies from social media, post intimate details about her life that almost nobody in the world knows and keep it updated as time goes on.
It is brutal.
And totally unfair.
There are enough traumas in teenage life what with learning how to be a decent person and how to be a good friend, passing your exams, getting through school-lunch hours, coming up with ‘what do you want to do when you leave education’ answers that don’t get an eye-roll in response, and working out vaguely who you are – without adding a national slut-shaming barrage into the mix.
I will confess that Izzy would have utterly terrified me at school. As a book character she was funny, bold and bluntly honest – if teenage me had been anywhere near her, I would have legged it. Not because of the sex-scandal but just because big personalities and brash humour in the classroom made me nervous.
They also make some of the best narrators.
The Exact Opposite Of Okay made me laugh, grumble bitterly, snort derisively, cry in the bath, and left me feeling utterly outraged on more than one occasion. Touching on subjects of personal privacy in the digital age, revenge porn, slut-shaming of teens and women in general, sexism, and teenage relationships in an open, honest, and uncompromising way, it presented our harsh reality with buckets of wit and, whilst opening up worlds of discussion and debate, still left you with a feeling of hope for the future.
The way we treat teenage girls and adult women is crap. If you are openly sexual then you are a slut, but if you are too demure then you are a prude. If you are confident then you’re a bitch and deserve whatever you get, but if you’re too quiet then you’re a doormat and deserve whatever you get.
There is no winning.
This needs to change.
Books like this one bring that up to the table and slap you in the face with it. It’s a book with an important message that is also highly entertaining.
My Rating: 5/5*
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