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Althea & Oliver

3.25  ·  Rating details ·  4,320 ratings  ·  700 reviews
What if you live for the moment when life goes off the rails—and then one day there’s no one left to help you get it back on track?

Althea Carter and Oliver McKinley have been best friends since they were six; she’s the fist-fighting instigator to his peacemaker, the artist whose vision balances his scientific bent. Now, as their junior year of high school comes to a close
Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Published October 9th 2014 by Viking Children's
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Average rating 3.25  · 
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Cran Berry
Dec 02, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Actual Assholes
Trigger Warning

...If you like pretentious asshole hipsters and rapists this book is for you.

Did I just say Rapist? Spoiler Alert - Fuck yes I said rapist! In fact I don't think this is a spoiler, It should be some sort of disclaimer when you start the book that says something along the lines of "Althea makes the worst bad decision ever and that decision is to RAPE her fucking best friend." There is no argument, there is no gray area and I am not using this word lightly. The bad decision mentio

Sue (Hollywood News Source)
Before I read Althea & Oliver, I have decided that I'm in love with it already. Best-friends turned to lovers (sort of) is my favorite trope ever.

I should have run away when I heard this book is similar to John Green and Rainbow Rowell's work but guess what?!? I am ambitious and thought I would genuinely like it.

The start is really impressive. I love it. Althea and Oliver are such a great characters who have so much chemistry together. Where did it all go wrong?

I think, I will need a strong dri
Feb 19, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
You’re probably under the impression that this is a cool, edgy love story about two best friends falling in love. I know because that’s the assumption I made before starting Althea and Oliver. I was horribly disappointed. I don’t write book reviews, but this book made me so angry I had to.

This book is an unbelievably sexist mess. Moracho tries to make Althea seem like cool, angry, confused badass but only successfully creates a whiney rapist. RAPIST.

Because what’s described in the synopsis as “t
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

Althea & Oliver is a different take on the best friends-to-lovers trope. A very different take. I’m not going to waste any time or words on dealing with anything other than . . . .

The story here is that Althea and Oliver have been best friends since their first game of Candyland when they were six years old. When Oliver develops a strange illness . . . .

A line gets crossed that can never be uncrossed.

Bottom line is: Althea rapes Oliv
Althea Ann
Full disclosure: I read this book because of the title. Yeah, that's my name... and when the blurb told me it was about a punk rock girl moving to New York... I was sold.

Well, it's not, really.
It's about a girl whose best friend from childhood comes down with a rare and life-changing illness. Althea has to face both the difficult time Oliver is having, and the normal strains and stresses about how relationships - and one's sense of self - change as one grows up.

Yes, as part of growing up, Althea
Oct 31, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sara Grochowski
Althea and Oliver have been best friends since age six, their very different personalities somehow balancing and combining to form a whole. Life without the other is unimaginable, until Oliver develops a sleeping illness tears them apart for weeks and months at a time. While Oliver loses chunks of his life to the disorder, Althea is adrift. Confused and angry, she makes an irreversible mistake from which their relationship might never recover. Althea and Oliver is one of those dirty, raw, and ho ...more
Jan 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was really good. I loved the writing. It was so rich and beautiful and raw and real. I grew very attached to the two main characters, Althea and Oliver. I liked this much, much more than I was expecting to, thanks to the undeservedly low ratings here on Goodreads. This was a pleasant surprise. I definitely want to read more from this author in the future. A very solid contemporary. 4/5 stars.
Eunice Moral
This book is anything but typical.

Do not expect the mushy cheesy type. Do not expect swooning and gushing. Do not expect for the typical love story. Expect what real raw love is. Expect the unconventional affection. Expect that reality isn't always as beautiful as you hoped it to be, that reality is reality and most often than not, it is ugly.

From the moment I read the synopsis, about two best friends, one wanting more than friendship and is set in mid 90's with mix tapes and whatnot - I wa
Nov 16, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
Let me begin by saying that I understand the complaints against this book. We'll put those out of the way first:

1) Althea and Oliver's relationship is deeply unhealthy. They're overly dependent on one another. They're mean to each other. They're looking too hard for the other to fill all the holes in their lives. Such relationships almost always end in tears.
2) There's a violence to their relationship that is uncomfortable. The language they use with one another can be harsh and the physicality
Wendy Darling
2.5 stars I think fans of WHITE LINES or BROOKLYN, BURNING will appreciate the style. I liked the first half better than the second, though I liked the atypical ending. But yeah, (view spoiler) regardless of context. ...more
Tellulah Darling
Sep 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-adore
I want to stand on a rooftop with a bullhorn and proclaim my love for this story. Then fling said bullhorn to smithereens on the ground at how this gorgeous tale broke my heart. It's a funny, sweet, sad story about best friends - one of whom wants more and one of whom just wants life to go back to normal. It's about how complicated and wonderful and awful relationships are when the other person knows you better than anyone. I literally just finished and it's all so raw and precious that I can't ...more
Nereyda (Nick & Nereyda's Infinite Booklist)
I don’t even know where to start with this… I didn’t think it was a bad story, I just don’t think it was the story for me. I also don’t think it’s a story for most people. The misleading summary is just one of the many issues I had with this book. I was expecting a best friend romance, a somewhat dysfunctional one, but I was expecting a romance nonetheless. This and the fact that this book is set in the 90’s are just a few of the reasons I wanted to read this. While this story was very beautiful ...more

Althea is a fighter and Oliver is not. Except, when Althea fights it's for her feelings and Oliver can't requite them. They've been best friends for years -- for a decade and some change -- but Oliver doesn't want more and Althea does. For all she pushes, the more he pulls away.

Which is convenient when he begins suffering with a sleeping disorder and is out for weeks at a time. In one of his more lucid moments, Althea (view spoiler)
Update: I enjoyed the sneak peek but when I tried to read the book I started to like it less and less. I found both characters very dull and annoying. There’s was nothing happening to keep in interested or invested in these characters so DNF it is!

**I received Sneak Peek: Althea & Oliver from NetGalley via Penguin Young Readers Group (Viking) in exchange for an honest review.**

3 stars - This is based off of what I've read (aka, it's going to change)!!

What a lovely and interesting
Review originally posted on Rather Be Reading Blog

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Althea & Oliver is probably the YA that the naysayers don’t realize exists. It’s literary, it’s layered in its storylines and the emotions build up in all of them, and not even close to fluffy. In fact, I would call the general feeling of this book melancholy.

If you haven’t guessed from the above description, Althea & Oliver is not exactly a story you are going to fly through. I was unsure if I was actua
Nov 22, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library, read-2015
It's probably a bad sign when the book is named after the two main characters and you can't really stand the two main characters.

Althea & Oliver felt really unnatural, while also feeling completely expected.

I felt no genuine connection between our two title characters. They grew up together, became great friends, and have stuck together ever since. Okay. Fair enough. But, if these two are going to be written as best friends, I want to be able to believe it and I couldn't. Despite having some so
Sep 03, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Woah isn't the premise exciting! I CALL YOUR BULLSHIT I CALL YOUR BULLSHIT I DO!
I don't even know what I just read. This book is a disaster after the first few chapters. Disaster.
Everything's alright, every thing's merry and then, thunk! everyone becomes an idiot, how convenient
Nov 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you like John Green, you'll like this book.
Then again, if you don't like JG, you also might. I don't know.

The book stars Oliver, one of the blandest characters you'll ever meet, and Althea, who's almost-but-not-quite one of those manic pixie dreamgirls that have saturated the market these days. (Hey, still better than a Mary-Sue.)

From that sentence, this sounds like a book that I would hate, and I should. But I didn't, because the tropes were played well. Cristina Moracho has a gift for writ
Oct 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
*Also posted at Oops! I Read A Book Again*

So much ache. So much love. To quote the book:

"It feels good, and it still hurts."

That's exactly how I felt. I'm so glad I read the book and it blew me away but it really broke me too at five in the morning when I finished it. Cristina Moracho, you owe me a night's sleep (But who cares? Definitely not me.) but I'd gladly give it to you all if you keep on writing books like this.

Grittily beautiful - that's how I'd describe this under the radar gem (well,
Paula M
Apr 26, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Review to be posted.
Althea and Oliver have been best friends ever since Althea moved in down the street from Oliver at the tender young age of six. Now in their senior year of high school, they are still inseparable, but complications are arising in their usually-easy friendship. Althea is starting to develop a romantic interest in Oliver. Oliver, while not adverse to the prospect of advancing his relationship with Althea, is busy dealing with a strange illness that causes him to fall asleep for weeks, even months, ...more
Debbie Gascoyne
I see a lot of dissent amongst reviewers of this book - some love it; some hate it. I don't have a lot of sympathy with those who dismiss it because the incident that is the catalyst for the central conflict is "just wrong." It is wrong, but I don't think there's any claim by the author/narrator, or by any of the characters, that it was anything but wrong. It also, if you allow yourself to think about it, opens up some extremely interesting ethical questions. I think it's somewhat short-sighted ...more
Sian Lile-Pastore
Dec 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Aw, lovely and felt like real life. A sweet (yet grungy) story of two teenagers who are best friends and then kinda fall in love, oh and one of them has a sleep disorder. Reminded me a little of Nick and Nora.
Trigger warning: This book contains sexual assault and an abusive relationship between friends


I was excited to read this book because it was supposed to be a coming of age story about punk rockers. Instead I got a friendship story about two kids in North Carolina that reminded me of Dawson's Creek. Althea & Oliver are an unlikely pair, like Joey and Dawson, that have been inseparable since they were six. Like Joey and Dawson both have feelings for each other they don't know
Tori (alwaysbookphoenix) Kisamore
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 05, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was really really REALLY hoping this book would be good. The plot seemed to me like a best-friends-fall-in-love kind of plot. However, this really was not the case. To me, the characters were shallow and I didn't really get into them or experience how they were feeling like I usually do in other books. It seemed like what they had for each other was more lust than love. The author kept saying Althea was in love with Oliver, but she didn't really show the readers how much. I did not like Althea ...more
Marissa (Rae Gun Ramblings)
This book is about rape and is NOT shown in a bad let alone serious light. It happens early on so I don't think it's a spoiler. For a book that is marketed to young adults I'm honestly horrified. I was SO disturbed by the character's actions and reflections on the rape. Let's be clear people GIRLS CAN RAPE BOYS. YOu're completely screwed up and sexist if you think otherwise. It might be harder to do but the author sets up a scenario in which one character has sex with another who is UNABLE TO CO ...more
So I basically hated this book. Which really sucks because everything up to page ~60 was excellent. Clearly Moracho is talented; she writes (mostly) excellent dialogue and some nice lyrical descriptions.

Sadly everything fell apart after that. I don't even want to get into it but this book had some major, major issues that are inexcusable (concerning what Althea did to Oliver with NO consequence) that were never discussed, never addressed and never dealt with. If the genders had been reversed wit
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What did you guys think about how this ended? 2 21 Jun 23, 2017 02:28PM  

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Cristina Moracho is a novelist and freelance writer/editor. Her debut novel, Althea & Oliver (Viking), will be published this October. She lives in Red Hook, Brooklyn, where she makes all the bad decisions.

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