Title: The Exact Opposite of Okay
Author: Laura Steven
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Release Date: March 8th 2018
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…
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
I received an ARC of this book free from Electric Monkey. It in no way affects my views on The Exact Opposite of Okay.
My Thoughts On…
Izzy is a normal student and her problems are the usual ones. An aspiring screenwriter with a sharp tongue and a sarcastic biting sense of humour she’s trying to work out what she wants to do when she heads to college, like the rest of her school mates. Her life is good, until someone creates the website ‘Izzy O’Neill: World Class Whore’, and suddenly Izzy is the most talked about girl at her school for all the wrong reasons.
I loved Izzy’s character from the very first page of this book, her sense of humour and her blunt way of speaking had me hooked. The Exact Opposite of Okay is a story told in the format of blog posts Izzy wrote as the events of this book unfolded which she is now (at some point in the future) looking back on. There were plenty of hilarious ‘author’s notes’ from Izzy but it’s her voice in the posts at the time of the scandal that really stood out as I was reading.
The author of the website knows details about Izzy no one could possibly know but it’s the pictures now out in the world, intimate photos of Izzy and of her hooking up with one of her classmates, that everyone has seen that have Izzy struggling to keep her head above the water. It can’t get any worse, until the father of the classmate Izzy hooked up with takes the story national and soon Izzy finds out how much worse it can get.
The Exact Opposite of Okay is one of those important stories that I think everyone should read, it focuses on the issue of revenge porn and gives it a voice in Izzy O’Neill. There’s no law against revenge porn in state Izzy lives in, and as the story unfolds we see how the things Izzy did, things she didn’t think twice about at the time, were turned into something so horrible and cruel that changed and ruined her life.
Izzy is an incredible character and she’s very passionate about what she feels; be it simply a crush on one of her schoolmates or the prospect of facing the unfair bar of trying to get into the screenplay industry when she doesn’t have the money she needs. She has her whole life posted online; her privacy has been violated in the worst way possible and she’s the subject of gossip at school but she is determined to keep moving forwards.
She uses her humour to keep people from seeing the hurt but there are times where the gossip and the whispers and the hate weighs on her and her humour fails. There are some heartbreaking scenes where things get really bad for Izzy, as much as she tries to keep her head up it’s impossible. It seems like every time she thinks the worst is over something new happens which just proves her wrong and over the course of the book her humour and her voice changes. Izzy is
There are some incredibly written side characters in this book; good characters who made me happy Izzy had so many incredible people in her life and bad characters who made me want to reach through the pages and strangle them. After Izzy lost her parents she was taken in by her grandmother, Betty is the kind of grandmother/guardian I think anyone would love to have. She works a hard job long after she should have retired just to support Izzy, she knows what her granddaughter needs and above all she supports Izzy no matter what.
Alongside Izzy are her two best friends Danny and Ajita. Danny has a crush on Izzy, and his development throughout this book was well written but he was a character I found myself disliking as he took on the ‘Nice Guy’ persona around Izzy. Ajita is the perfect friend for Izzy. The two bounce off one another when it comes to their humour and inside jokes, but they are always there for one another and, like Betty, Ajita is one of Izzy’s firm supporters throughout this book.
One thing I wish The Exact Opposite of Okay had expanded on was Ajita’s story. Like Izzy she’s struggling in this book but with something very different that she’s still keeping a secret. I understand that this was Izzy’s story, and the way it was written means we could only really get a glimpse at Ajita’s struggles through Izzy’s eyes, but I would have loved to see more of Ajita’s development in this book.
It took a while to get to the main part of this story as Laura Steven’s builds up Izzy’s character and her world before bringing in the website and the subject of revenge porn. I think the strength of this book isn’t in the plot itself but the characters. Izzy was an incredible protagonist, a likeable voice and a well developed character, and her relationships with those around her really made this book stand out for me.
What did you think of The Exact Opposite of Okay? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.
All quotes have been taken from an ARC and may differ in the final publication.