The Exact Opposite of Okay

HarperCollins/HarperTeen. Jun. 2019. 352p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062877529.
Gr 9 Up–Eighteen-year-old Izzy O’Neill is unapologetic about her sexuality, her humor, and everything else in her life. Even when a sex scandal brings her life crashing down around her, she still stands tall and proud of her identity. There is only one thing that she will apologize for—a major mistake she makes with a friend who has stood up for her through everything. Written entirely in online journal entries, this book digs up the double standards of slut-shaming and revenge porn in the lives of high school seniors and makes strong points about the damage that can be done by this type of bullying by both teens and adults. While this book is supposedly set in the United States, where revenge porn isn’t illegal as it is in the UK, it still reads like it’s set in the UK and narrated by a British character. This weak sense of place and vagueness about the political role held by one character’s father makes the narrative feel unrealistic, keeping readers from fully connecting with the story line.
VERDICT For teens and adults looking for a mature title to address issues of feminism and sexuality, this title fits, although books like Louise O’Neill’s Asking for It and Emily Wibberly and Austin Siegemund-Broka’s Always Never Yours do so in a more authentic fashion.

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