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Izzy O'Neill #1

The Exact Opposite of Okay

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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...

337 pages, Paperback

First published March 8, 2018

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About the author

Laura Steven

9 books562 followers
Laura Steven is an author and journalist from the northernmost town in England. She has published several books for young adults—such as the bestselling Every Exquisite Thing, YA Book Prize-shortlisted The Society for Soulless Girls, and CWIP award-winning The Exact Opposite of Okay—many of which have been widely translated and optioned for TV and film. When she’s not writing, you can probably find her trail running, reading chunky fantasy novels, baking cookies, playing old men at chess, or ignoring her husband and son to perfect her Stardew Valley farm. You can find her on Instagram at @laurasteven and TikTok at @authorlaurasteven.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,130 reviews
Profile Image for Beth.
748 reviews576 followers
April 25, 2019

Thank you so much netgalley for providing me with a free copy for an honest review.

"Shame. It’s a peculiar beast, especially when it happens in public. It leaves you powerless. It strips you of everything you thought you knew about yourself, forces you to examine the very core of your being."

Where to even begin with this book?! This is one of those where I would honestly want anyone and everyone to read it. It has so many topics that can start a conversation, all of the topics are problems that people may face in day to day life, and they are handled amazingly. We have: Slut Shaming, White Privilege, Feminism, Coming to terms with sexuality that a religion doesn’t agree with, the apparent “friend zone”, Revenge Porn and so much more.

The idea that if a male does something sexual they don’t receive any form of backlash and are often praised for it, whereas if a girl was to do something she would be slut shamed and everyone would turn against her is so true! It’s not fair that things can be so biased towards someone, it is their body and then can do what they choose to do and should not be judged because of how many sexual partners they’ve had. The idea of revenge porn is such a sad thing to hear, because at the end of the day that is someones life you’re ruining… not your own. In regards to this, we also see a sense of victim blaming and that is completely unacceptable. We see one person have her life go to shit, while another person involved gets accepted and as though nothing ever happened.

"Do no harm, but take no shit.”


Izzy is the main character, I loved her sarcasm, sass and how she handled EVERYTHING. She is un-ashamed of who she is. She’s so quick witted and her love for her grandma is so beautiful. The closeness between the two was so well-done, it reminded me what me and my nana are like and it was nice to see. We see Izzy at her highs and her lows, and I loved how strong she was, even if she wasn’t actually feeling that. She calls out bull shit, and tries to keep her head held high.

Ajita is the best friend anyone could wish for! Her support for Izzy is incredible! For me Ajita played a big part in this book for me, while she was struggling with some of her own life she was still there for Izzy. The support she gave was so lovely, and I like the fact she took no bull shit either, when she KNEW something was wrong she wouldn’t sit there and let her best friend take it all on her own. I just loved her SO much.

For me Danny is a piece of shit. As soon as I met him, I just didn’t like him. He was supposed to be Izzy and Ajitas friend, but you just get the feeling from him that he is entitled to things because he has money. He tries to buy Izzy’s love, he said he forgave her when she did nothing wrong… like COME ON. Danny clearly has issues at home with his family, but that doesn’t excuse how he treats his so called friends.

What I liked?
- We had SO many references to todays culture: Films, Songs, YouTube, Buzzfeed: THEY QUOTED MEAN GIRLS!
- The whole friendship between Izzy and Ajita, everyone needs a friendship like that.
- Betty is the kindest person EVER.
- I loved the detail that was described for Carsons painting
- The characters on most part are so relatable, for instance Izzy explains that it’s not just boys that are horny, I was like FINALLY someone has said it!
- So many different representations!
- It was so honest when it came to talking/describing sex. Not only that, but it’s telling you not to be ashamed if you DO have sex, and if you DO have sex and it’s a one night stand then no one should care other than yourself. You are human, these things can happen.
- The issues on retirement and that people who are older, may work longer because they need more money (I feel like I’ll be working until I’m 90 at this rate)

What I didn’t like?
- Honestly it’s hard to explain because I’m glad they included it in the book, but just how unfair Izzy was treated, it made me feel so angry, and the fact that she received barely any support from her teachers, and they LET it happen. Nope.

Overall, I will not stop saying how much I loved this book. It brings so many issues to light, it is hard hitting, raw and deep. For me this is one of those books that will stay with me for a very very long time.

”Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent”

19.04.2019 Re-Read Thoughts
I don't think I will ever stop praising this book so highly, it honestly makes me so angry when I read it because this shit legit happens! I'll add to this later but first I need foooood!

The Exact Opposite of Okay - 5 Stars
A Girl Called Shameless - 4 Stars
Profile Image for Lia.
340 reviews94 followers
March 10, 2018
I don't want to sound dramatic but this book is going to change the world.

---------------------- REVIEW ------------------

When I just finished reading this book, my first reaction was “this book is going to change the world” and I still stand by that statement. There have been a lot of books with feminist themes and about feminist topics but none of them have been like this. None of which have had the potential to be this influential (at least not to the extent that I’ve read). This book is so powerful and inspirational, but also so necessary in this time. Slut-shaming is the norm in this society: girls who have a lot of sex is looked down upon, but at the same time girls who haven’t had sex are “prudes”. AND WHY?

"I obsess over who might be looking at these pictures of me – bare, exposed, eighteen – and judging me for them. Judging my body; my choices; my life. I know this will blow over eventually. But until then, it’s going to be hell."

Laura Steven’s writing style is refreshing, new, shameless. Izzy, the character she created unlike any other character I’ve read before. I am struggling to form the right words to describe Izzy’s character. She is incredibly funny, unafraid to make fun of herself, she is bold, fierce and honest. She is shameless when it comes to sex and her sex-positive ways come under sudden scrutiny when pictures of her end up on the internet. Beside Izzy, there are some amazing side-characters: her best friend Ajita, who I adore to pieces, her other best friend Danny, and her grandmother Betty. I love how all the relationships are complex and imperfect. There are a lot of pretty sides but not all of them are pretty.

"It could be worse, I suppose. It could always be worse. I’m not quite sure how exactly, but Betty often sas I am so optimistic it borders on the sociopathic, and now is as good a time as any to look on the bright side. I’ve been through the death of both parents on the same day. I won’t let the words of a pathetic bully leave a scar."

When I started to read this book, I was in a horrible mood. I was in one of the worst moods I had probably ever been in. And this book dragged me out of it. It was so good, that it made me forget about everything that was going on in my life. Though the story is about a lot of ugly things in this society, it also let me escape from my own ugly stuff. And I couldn’t be more grateful for that. I honestly could go on and on about how much I loved this book and how much you should all read it, but I think you should just experience it yourself.

"Slut-shaming is not really about women’s sexuality. It is grounded in the belief that men have the right to assert themselves, and women do not."

I am giving this books 5 stars because I honestly couldn’t think of a single thing I didn’t like about this book. I couldn’t recommend it more and will not rest until I’ve made everyone I know read this book. It’s an instant-favourite and YOU SHOULD ORDER THIS BOOK NOW. RIGHT NOW, I’m telling you. GO.
Profile Image for chloe.
246 reviews28.5k followers
November 26, 2019
This book definitely had a lot of amazing feminist commentary and themes that it explored, but it just really didn't work for me. I really didn't like the writing style/the main character's voice. The main character Izzy is a comedian and I really didn't connect with her humour most of the time. There was even a really gross bleach joke that made me feel disgusted. So, because of that I didn't really enjoy my time reading this despite the amazing discussions it had.
Profile Image for Fuzaila.
251 reviews360 followers
March 1, 2020
While this book is right on terms like dealing with revenge-porn AND slut-shaming only the girl where a boy is equally involved, it fails in giving out a proper message.

Izzy O’Neill is bought to nationwide attention, when her two one-night stands at a party go viral. The humorous exterior she built for herself can only last so long when the whole nation has seen her private parts and is calling her a slut. The only thing she has going in her favor is her best friend Ajita, and being shortlisted for a popular screenplay-writing competition, and her grandmother’s undeserving support. But when the world seems intent on making things worse, she can only do one thing – find out who doth bought this wrath on her.

Izzy is thoughtless, careless, and every other good characteristic traits that come to mind – less. Sending a guy nudes just because he asked her, and revealing personal information about her best friend, and she expects us to feel sorry for her when some of her personal business leaks out?? Like, tell me, what would you do when a guy sends you his nude and asks you to do the same? That’s creepy and insulting and SO NOT FUN in any twisted way. NO, I don’t think she deserves what she got, I don’t think people have any right to judge her for her stupid choices, but I do believe she should have thought twice before doing all she did. And yeah, it’s not just the girl, but the boys are equally to be blamed.

I don’t get what the book was trying to tell me. Do not regret having sex with strangers even when you have all the reason in the world to do just that? Or just go and have sex with anybody you want, because it’s nobody’s goddamn business? iT iS eVERYBODY’S dAMN bUSINESS wHEN yOU dO iT iN a gARDEN bENCH iN pUBLIC, yOU sTUPID gIRL! If she needed privacy, and her sexcapades to be a secret, she should know better than to do it in front of everyone. Idk, I WAS JUST SO FRUSTRATED WITH IZZY ALRIGHT??! And her sense of humor while good at times, made me sick. And the plot device that was supposedly a plot-twist? It was so obvious. . I think the author wasn’t convincing enough with her reasons for revenge porn. It’s not explained how the events turned out the way it did. While I did feel sorry for Izzy at times, it still angers me that she hasn’t learned from her mistakes. So much happens to her, but she is still immature and stupid. There’s no character growth, no development. And the unnecessary feministic approach in the end? Uff, where does it all fit? True, the boys are as much to blame as Izzy, and true, her sex life is her choice and nobody gets to judge her for being her. But you know, it’s very un-feministic to bring up feminism to defend your honor. She was irrational, and also no grandma in the world would actually support their grand-daughter like Izzie's did. It was all just too much. You can do whatever you want, Izzy O’Neill, but you can’t ask others to like your nymphomaniac tendencies. JUST LIKE IT’S NOT ANYBODY’S BUSINESS WHAT YOU DO WITH YOUR BODY, IT’S NOT YOUR BUSINESS TO JUDGE OTHERS’ WAY OF PERCEIVING THINGS.

Plus, Izzy wasn’t a good friend. Correction, she was a TERRIBLE TERRIBLE FRIEND. But atleast she accepted that fact and made up for it, even if she didn’t even deserve Ajita’s friendship. And please, NO ONE, not one parent would like it when their teenage kid sleeps with guys/girls just for fun. I wouldn’t want my future child to read this book and think it’s okay to be like Izzy O’Neill.

Verdict ? Please, this is a book with an unnaturally cool-headed protagonist with a twisted sense of humor, and you can do without it in your life. I’d never willingly want my kids to read this book. So basically, it’s not a book I’d recommend.


Initial Review -

Guys, this book is The Exact Opposite Of Okay.

Profile Image for Tan Markovic.
350 reviews137 followers
April 25, 2019
Reviews can be found at: www.booknerdtan.wordpress.com

Izzy is a typical high schooler and budding comedian. She goes to parties, drinks beer and makes out with boys – just like every other 18 year old. What’s different in Izzy’s case is that one night, she goes to a party, drinks beer, has sex… and ends up being at the centre of a sex scandal with a politicians’ son and the victim of a horrible slut shaming website.

I was excited for this book the minute I read the synopsis on Goodreads and I am over the moon that I managed to get a copy from Netgalley. This book deals with a multitude of issues including slut-shaming, revenge porn, coming out and the double standards that exist between men and women in terms of sexual behaviour.

***There may be spoilers ahead***

From the moment I started reading this book, Izzy reminded me of myself and maybe that’s what sucked me in even more. Sarcastic? Check. Lazy? Check. Blunt as hell. Check. Nachos and mac and cheese fiend? CHECK. CHECK. CHECK. Izzy tells her story through a series of blog posts which are drenched in her wit and sarcasm and she doesn’t mince her words about anything. What you see is what you get.

The story revolves around the slut-shaming website created after the party where she had sex with two boys and peoples responses to what was published online. It focuses on the double standard between men and women when it comes to their sexual behaviour and this is perfectly highlighted when Izzy is removed from the screenplay competition because there has been SO much negative press about the photo she sent, but the boy who sent her an unsolicited dick pic receives an offer from a prestigious college.

Another subject throughout was the notion of the ‘friend-zone’, or as Izzy described it, ”a convenient social construct” for boys when they get rejected and their futile attempts at making you like them fail.
HA. Finally. Someone said it. No, dude, we’re just not that into you and guess what, we have no obligation to be, no matter how many gifts you’d like to give us.

One of the best things about this book is the number of amazing characters. Her grandmother Betty is the sweetest, completely selfless, most understanding grandmother ever to exist ever and my heart melted for her throughout the novel as she had to deal with her granddaughters’ pain. Ms Crannon was the kind of teacher everybody needs when in secondary school (luckily I had one). From the start she had faith in Izzy’s work and provides her not only with the money for the competition, but with genuine support and honesty throughout the sex scandal ordeal. These two characters were superb, however I think Ajita takes the top place for me. She’s the fiercest, funniest and most loyal best friend out there. Throughout the whole thing. She takes all the humiliation and ridicule alongside Izzy and reciprocates her humour defence mechanism and everyone needs a best friend like Ajita.

The only slight issue that I had with this book (if I can even call it an issue) is that the book completely read like a British person. I get it, the author is British, America needed to be the setting for the premise of the book to work (revenge porn is illegal in the UK), but Izzy’s narration continuously uses typically British sayings and words. I dunno. Still loved it.

Overall, I’m extremely happy I was able to read this book ahead of publishing and urge everyone to read it at some point; I feel like everybody could learn a little something from this novel. I will be looking out for Laura Steven’s future work.

PS. ‘Vagenda’ should be a term used by everyone. 😅

I received an ARC copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank them, the publisher Egmont Publishing and the author Laura Steven for this opportunity.
Profile Image for Not My High.
288 reviews841 followers
August 12, 2022

Ta książka przejechała moją odpornością psychiczną i dobrym samopoczuciem po bruku ze szczególnym okrucieństwem.

Wyjątkowa książka, której wyjątkowość stanowi głównie to, że im bardziej się jej nie lubi, tym więcej gwiazdek się jej da. Jej wydźwięk jest wspierający, jednak treść irytuje, smuci i angażuje tak mocno, że czytelnik nie będzie w stanie odłożyć książki przed odkryciem jak skończyła się wielką seksafera.

Czy sytuacja, w której znalazła się główna bohaterka jest przekoloryzowana? Jak najbardziej. We współczesnym społeczeństwie nagie zdjęcia uczennicy z małego liceum w małym mieście RACZEJ nie wywołałyby krajowego skandalu (wszechświecie, nie udowadniaj mi proszę tego, że bardzo się mylę). Jednak to, co liczy się najbardziej, to przekaz:
• nie jesteś sama
• żadna ofiara nie jest "sama sobie winna"
• Twoje ciało jest Twoim ciałem i możesz robić z nim co tylko chcesz
• nadal jesteśmy w tyle z równouprawnieniem #EDUKUJMYSIĘ
• czasami po prostu warto nie wygłaszać swojego cennego zdania na temat wyborów innych, a życie od razu stanie się bardziej kolorowe (a przynajmniej mniej okropne)

Wyłapałam też:
1. Fakt, że główna bohaterka nie jest idealną pięknością, tylko zwykłą nastolatką
2. Reprezentacja queerowa I różnorodność bohaterów
3. Trochę jechania po konserwatyw_ach
4. Uwaga na TW, bo ta historia potrafi przytłoczyć

TW prześladowanie w szkole, m0lestowanie, przemoc s3ksualna, groźby, myśli s4m0bójcze, śmi3rć członka rodziny, używki, slut-shaming, homofobia
Profile Image for Cora Tea Party Princess.
1,323 reviews805 followers
January 10, 2019
5 Words: Friendship, sex, feminism, blame, attraction.

There are not enough stars in the world for this wonderful book.

Before reading, I was pretty excited for this book. I'd caught my first glimpse at YALC, failed in my endeavours begging for a copy, then managed to get it on NetGalley.

As I was reading, I felt all sorts of emotions. I subjected Steph to a lot of them because she'd already read it. This is a book to make you angry, but it is also gloriously written.

After reading, I sat and stared at a blank wall for a while, trying to get my thoughts into order. Still working on that, really.

I loved everything about this book. I loved the scathing take down of the friendzone, the heartbreaking reality of how girls and boys are treated differently by society, the way it rips into everything that is wrong with lad culture and slut-shaming. It is truly excellent. This book handles the most delicate of topics in the most earnest and sensitive way. It explores the power of words, the stigma behind then.

The writing is peppered with pop culture references. I was immediately grounded in the world, it felt all the more real and relevant.

I particularly loved the depictions of friendship. Izzy and Ajita are the best friends of reality. They know each other's secrets, and even when they fall out they both show that they still care about each other in a hundred little, subtle ways. And Danny. Well. WELL.

Izzy O'Neill is amazing.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
March 30, 2019
DNF. Looking at the reviews, I feel like the only person who thinks this so you should take my words with a pinch of salt-- but I couldn't get past how strange it was that this British author Americanized her book. The Exact Opposite of Okay feels like what it is - a Brit's attempt to Americanize a story which, in tone at least, read very British to me. Maybe I only think this because I'm a) British, and b) Have lived in the U.S. for several years. But it's so strange.

The humour didn't quite hit the spot for me either. I recently read Am I Normal Yet? and found that funnier.
Profile Image for Francina Simone.
Author 8 books2,096 followers
March 12, 2018


Profile Image for Ania.
161 reviews1,712 followers
June 28, 2022
Mega ważna młodzieżówka, poruszająca temat slut-shamingu. Chwilami irytuje, jednak zdaję sobie sprawę z faktu, że taki był jej ogólny zamysł. Naprawdę mi się podobała.
Profile Image for Abbie (boneseasonofglass).
293 reviews351 followers
February 24, 2018
I generally really enjoyed this, and it addressed some important issues too, but the one thing is that I wish there was more towards the end, with more of the feminism stuff

I really liked the layout, how it was written as blog entries mostly, it was really fun to read, especially with the narrator adding extra notes in every now and then

Izzy was such a great character tbh, but I wish there was more of her standing up to the world about the feminist things, like slut shaming, and 'nice guys' , rather than it just being a few pages towards the end, I would've liked the book to be a little longer so it could expand more on this stuff
Profile Image for kate.
1,227 reviews949 followers
March 14, 2018
You know you’re going to be in for a treat when a book features a dachshund called Dumbledore and after reading and heavily relating to the line “maybe I’m just being melodramatic. I just really hate getting out of bed” on the third page, I very quickly realised The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven was not going to disappoint. *spoiler alert: it definitely didn’t disappoint.* The Exact Opposite of Okay was the Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging/Easy A mash up I didn’t know I’d been longing for.

From the get go, I instantly fell in love with Izzy’s brilliantly quick, sarcastic and self deprecating sense of humour. Humour is something I absolutely adore in books. For me, catching yourself laughing out loud whilst reading at 3am is definitely a good sign and The Exact Opposite of Okay definitely delivered numerous ‘I’m trying to be quiet because it’s 3am’ giggles.

At its core, The Exact Opposite of Okay is about slut-shaming, revenge porn and the ridiculous double standards between men and women when it comes to their sexuality. It brilliantly and continuously highlights these double standards, for example, at one point two characters send each other explicit photos, which end up becoming public. The girl is chastised, demonised and continuously harassed. The guy? Well, he’s praised, coddled and gets an offer from an Ivy League school. It also tackles male entitlement and the ‘friend-zone’ fantastically. I found myself on countless occasions severely frustrated, wanting to yell ‘she’s just not that into you’ at a specific character and loved that this was acknowledged and the actions of said character weren’t romanticised and were instead called out for what they were, manipulative, entitled and borderline harassment (okay, it totally crossed the boarder and jumped right into harassment.)

Another aspect I absolutely loved was the fact that throughout the book, Izzy is pursuing a career and hobby in comedy and screenwriting. I don’t think I’ve ever come across this in YA main character, let alone a female YA main character. Women in comedy and screenwriting are continuously and unfairly overlooked, so it was refreshing to see it being represented in a YA book. I often find that YA characters (especially female YA characters) tend to have very similar hobbies, so it was really enjoyable to read about a character with a unique passion. Izzy’s passion for comedy also bought up a topic which I adored, in terms of school’s often not encouraging a variety of career paths beyond getting into university/college.
“Most career counsellors are interested in one thing and one thing only: getting you into college. Schools are rated higher according to the percentage of alumni who get into college education, and thus career guidance is dished out with that in mind. If the Ivy Leagues don’t teach it, it’s not worth doing. And, believe it or not, the Ivy Leagues do not teach comedy.

From the hilarious and unique but wonderfully open relationship between Izzy and her Grandma, to the heart-warming support Izzy received from her art teacher, to the perfectly imperfect friendship between Izzy and Ajita, the relationships in this book were undeniably fabulous, as was the diverse cast of characters. Izzy and her Grandma are very much struggling in terms of money. Her best friend, Ajita, is Nepali. Mrs Crannon, Izzy’s art teacher, is married to a woman and Carson Manning, a love interest, is black. However, this is pretty much the only aspect of this book I had an issue with. As I said previously, having such a diverse cast of characters was wonderful and created some brilliant conversations regarding race, poverty and sexuality. However, Ajita is publicly outed as liking women against her will and her sexuality is somewhat used as a plot device/twist. Although she wasn’t outed with malicious intent and it was an accident, I don’t believe sexuality should be used as a plot twist. Not being gay myself but having read numerous tweets, reviews, blog posts etc. from people in the LGBTQAIP+ community on the topic, I know that a character being publically outed is a narrative that is potentially triggering and upsetting to read about, so I would advise that this is something you’re wary of when going into this book.

With it’s incredibly comfortable, funny, topical and fast paced writing, I flew through it in no time at all. From beginning to end, The Exact Opposite of Okay had me laughing, furious, heartbroken, frustrated, empowered and ready to take on the ridiculous unfairness of this place we call earth. #BitchesBiteBack
Profile Image for ambsreads.
656 reviews1,393 followers
August 20, 2018
Trigger Warnings: racist comments, homophobic comments, sexism, slut shaming, asshole guys, creepy older men, depression, anxiety, revenge porn, the death of parents, sex (not graphic)


I went in to The Exact Opposite of Okay expecting absolutely nothing. I didn’t think I would even like it. I’d read the first page on my Kindle at least seven times and gone ‘eh no thanks’ before I finally decided to completely jump in. I absolutely loved it. It is one of the most organically real and raw stories I have ever read. The main character is not a person you’re even meant to necessarily like. However, this book exposes so much of the ingrained sexism I had. I hadn’t even bloody noticed and now I am going out of my way to change. This is a feminist novel without ever saying the word. It is a book that makes you evaluate your own personal views.

The Exact Opposite of Okay tells the story of Izzy O’Neill through blog posts written by the main character herself. The story is told in days and different times, leaving you feeling as if you’re getting an inside view on Izzy. This story took a turn that I did not exact and I was here for it. All is going well for her until a site is created that starts leaking her sexual experiences, including photos. It’s absolutely disgusting. This person manages to hack the phones of several people to leak even more information. Neither of the boys who are involved in this is ridiculed. Only Izzy. She is labelled a whore and a slut. It is fucking disgusting. Not a single person wants to stand by her, apart from her best friends Danny and Ajita. The story follows the slut-shaming and utter loss that Izzy feels while also having he deal with her best friend Danny’s romantic interest (in which she doesn’t reciprocate). This book is literally just such a delightful and amazing look at the world. The realness of it literally took my breath away and left me sobbing. Not only that but this book also shows what it’s like to not be that smart and to maybe not want to go to college. I know YA books focus largely on this but it’s not everyone’s dream. I don’t want to say too much because I really want people to read this book.

Time to jump into what I liked and didn’t like about The Exact Opposite of Okay (spoiler alert, I loved it). Hopefully, some of these reasons will help with your decision to pick up this book.

what I liked

Betty (Izzy’s grandmother) and Ajita are the supported female characters I want in my life. Ajita literally throws kiwi fruits at people in support of her best friend and Betty screams down the school. These two female characters are kickass. Not to say that Izzy needed the help but sometimes it is nice to have that support.
Also, in situations where slut-shaming and revenge porn are the centre of the story some authors struggle with giving the main character a supportive group of friends and family. I really think the author did an amazing job with this one because she included both while also having Izzy go through her own struggles internally.


Okay, it’s not that Izzy is unlikeable. It’s that I know a lot of y’all hate female characters who aren’t nice and the social stereotypes. Not everyone, but a lot of y’all. Izzy literally doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her. She is strong, she is badass, and she will do whatever the fuck she wants with her body. An icon, honestly. Izzy does go through some character development throughout this book but at the end of the day she doesn’t change her fundamental values despite all the ridicule she is facing from people.


I’m truly blown away by how realistic this book is. I truly can’t believe it. I can’t talk a lot on the slut-shaming because despite the fact I experienced it (hello girl who told my entire year 12 class I was a slut and made everyone hate me) I don’t feel as if I experienced it on this level. The big thing I found realistic in this was Danny. Danny and Izzy have been best friends since childhood and at the beginning of the book he realizes he likes her. He goes out of his way to shower her with gifts in a very ‘white male privilege’ kind of way. He is a classic ‘nice guy’ and if I haven’t come across SO MANY of those in my life. It was terrifying to see how well the author wrote this particular part of the story and it was truly eye-opening to a lot of my own personal experiences I had brushed off.


I did write a whole blog post on this (YA is maturing and it’s good, click here) but it just feels so good to see a female main character to be having sex. It feels weird to write but girls can do whatever the heck they want with their bodies. The disappointing thing is that there is slut-shaming but Izzy isn’t ashamed of the fact she’s had sex. It is not a terrible thing to have sex. If you want to, do it. If you don’t, don’t do it. It is just so delightful to see something so normal represented in fiction. For anyone wondering, the sex is not graphics. Izzy mentions it in her blog posts.


I was really scared that the romance would take the center stage throughout The Exact Opposite of Okay. It didn’t. There were hints of romance and what’s to come but nothing that makes you go ‘bleh’. I think the author interwove it into the story very well, not giving it the spotlight and allowing Izzy’s struggles to shine through in a way that breaks your heart.

what I didn’t like

I wrote up these likes and dislikes straight after I finished this particular book. Only problem is on this particular dislike is that I’ve just found out this book will has a sequel. So disregard this. The second book will show Izzy dealing with romance, friendships and what to do after high school.

Overall, The Exact Opposite of Okay is a book that is going to stay with me for some time. It is truly deep and eye-opening. The story is one that is completely unique. I can happily say I recommend this book completely and will be shoving it into everyone’s arms I can. The Exact Opposite of Okay is one of those novels that will hopefully change YA fiction for the better.
Profile Image for noa.
164 reviews103 followers
June 6, 2019

"If only the entire world did not equate harmless fun with whoredom of the highest order.”

​Women don't owe you anything. The Exact Opposite of Okay tells the story of high schooler Izzy O'Neill whose nudes "accidentally" leak. Its recipient being the son of a political figure, Izzy quickly gets thrown under a toxic and very public spotlight. The Exact Opposite of Okay has a diverse cast of characters which is always nice to read about (Indian rep, LGBT+ rep, disability rep, "non-traditional" family structure rep as Izzy is an orphan, raised by her grandmother)

First off, the writing was really good and so was the comedic timing. However, the constant use of brackets became redundant and quickly annoying. Although they did serve a purpose since the book is basically the sum of Izzy's old blog posts, the brackets serve as "present day" Izzy's commentary. They simply didn't feel necessary in my opinion, even though they added a touch of "fantasy". I also didn't like the pace, either too slow or too fast.

The Characters

"Honestly, I swear I’m the only person in the universe who realizes how pointless life is. People act like mere existence is some beautiful gift, completely overlooking the fact that said existence is nothing but the result of a freak accident that occurred a cool 13.7 billion years ago."

Izzy and Betty (her grandmother) : Izzy is being raised by her grandmother, who is a very upfront old woman and an absolute treat to read about. Izzy is absolutely hilarious (she writes skits) and well-spoken. Reading her character progression as she has to deal with the backlash of the sex scandals was insightful and a learning experience, to be honest. Izzy has strong opinions and she's very smart. The discussions about abstinence, sex positivity, Teenagers Having Sex (the shock, right ?) and the lack of balance between male and female backlash in sex scandals were all very eloquent. I overall really loved reading Izzy's inner monologues. "So, to summarize: two guys, one night, both highly enjoyable. Is there a TripAdvisor for one-night stands? If there was, I would definitely recommend both gentlemen to a friend." I'm glad this book exists because it depicts realistic teenage behavior and I'm all for that. Yes, ladies and gents, teens have sex. Don't gasp.

Ajita : “It’s like when I talk about racism, I’m not asking for one single white person to wave their magic privilege wand and fix one single symptom. What I’m saying is that I want the systemic racism to not exist in the first place. I want a cure, not a Band-Aid.” She shrugs. “But a lot of rich white guys will never get that. They’ll always make it about them. And why wouldn’t they? Historically, it always has been about them.” Oof. Ajita is a Good Friend. No, scratch that, she's a Great Friend. She's supportive of Izzy, she's not judgmental and open-minded. She's so well-spoken and witty and intelligent and I loved her with all my heart.

Danny AKA DIE IN A DUMPSTER : oof, okay let me try not to get too annoyed. Nah, never mind. Danny aka the personnification of "White Male Privilege And Entitlement" was insufferable and I will dive more into his character later on in this review. Danny was disrespectful, insistant, he didn't care about Izzy's feelings, only his own. Izzy says this at some point and I thought it was very relevant and well-said : "You really think being ‘Friend-Zoned’ is worse than finding out someone you thought valued you as a whole person just wanted to fuck you?" At the end of the day, Danny is NOT a good friend, and NOT a good person in general

Token Love Interest and why they held no appeal to me : So okay, this might be harsher than need be but it's how I personally felt. There's a potential love story between Izzy and a male character whose name I forgot and I didn't like it. I feel like there's a tendancy in YA to randomly throw in a love interest in the path of the main character. I felt like the love interest here served no purpose whatsoever.

The Themes

"A month ago, if you’d asked me what three things I wanted to be, I’d have said: funny, cool, well-liked. What do I want to be now? Bold. Fierce. Honest. A fighter. A revolutionary. A bitch. Because the way the world treats teenage girls—as sluts, as objects, as bitches—is not okay. It’s the exact opposite of okay.”

>> women's claims on their own bodies : When are our bodies really our own ? When do they not belong to the world through an unfortunate revealing picture ? When does it not belong to a friend who deems his place in the so-called "friendzone" is unfair and consequently that he has a right to claim it ? At what precise moment do we go from prude to slut ? What's the determining factor ? Where's the line, the limit a woman shouldn't cross? The Exact Opposite of Okay was a good reminder on two different levels : 1° the fact that as women we can and should claim back our bodies, 2° the male gaze can go fuck itself.

>> women's bodies are NOT a political playground : Vaughan (i.e the recipient of the nude picture) is the son of a political figure. Said political figure uses Izzy's nudes as a way to further his political agenda by promoting abstinence and inherently oppressing women by shaming them.

>> Slut-shaming and women's sexuality : "Because here’s the thing: slut-shaming is not really about women’s sexuality. It is grounded in the belief that men have the right to assert themselves, and women do not." SAY IT LOUDER. Her Mind ! Her Eloquency ! Her Brain And Brilliance !

"Our sexuality is a commodity, and thus the principles of supply and demand can be applied. If we’re sexy but untouchable, we’re in short supply. Demand goes up. And because demand goes up, the aforementioned old white man can charge more money for it. But if we give it away freely? If we actually have sex—and have the audacity to enjoy it? Supply is booming. Profit margins die. Old white men can’t make as much money, so they get out their sticks and beat us into slut-shamed remission. And the rest of the society buys into it. When you’re a young girl, your developing sexuality is a loaded weapon. You should polish it to a shine for the sake of the male gaze, but you shouldn’t seek any enjoyment from it yourself. Play with power, as long as you never claim it. Enact desire, as long as you don’t follow through. I call bullshit. "

>> constant objectification : The male entitlement and the male gaze are omnipresent and this book was a good reminder that it's okay to tell dudes to fuck off. Izzy has an uncomfortable conversation with one of her teachers. It's revealed in the course of that discussion that he has indeed seen the nudes. His reaction was disgusting but not far-fetched from what actually does constantly happens to women and girls.

>> Sorry to tell you but The Friendzone Is A Myth aka Izzy Did That aka Danny Can Die In A Dumpster Part 2.

Friendzone (noun) "a convenient social construct designed to comfort men who cannot cope with rejection." Izzy's best friend, Danny, has a crush on her and rather than understanding that NO means NO, he'd rather spend his time and money buying Izzy gifts in the hopes to buy her love and get the love he thinks he "deserves". It says a lot about male behavior and about this unspoken dictatorship from the patriarchy projected onto women who are just supposed to accept men making the choices for them. "This wasn’t a display of romance and affection. It was a categoric ultimate rejection of his place in the Friend Zone. A thinly veiled assertion of male dominance. A statement: that his feelings and desires are more important than mine. It’s like he’s saying: “I don’t respect your decision not to want to fuck me, and I will manipulate the hell out of your emotions until you change your mind.” Argh. I’ve told him I don’t want a romantic relationship. Why isn’t that enough?"

>> How sex is dealt with in school : cue That Mean Girls Scene. "For some reason, our Bible-thumping English teacher and all-around abstinence champion Miss Castillo is the one delivering the talk. Because obviously in America the only thing we should be teaching our teens about sex is that they shouldn’t do it. Don’t have sex because you will get pregnant and die. That sort of thing. It’s working out soooo well for us."

Laura Steven dealt with these various themes in such an eloquent way that it was impossible for me not to enjoy this book. Although I didn't enjoy everything, I found it refreshing to read and I'm glad this book exists because it's a necessary one.

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Profile Image for Odette Brethouwer.
1,456 reviews237 followers
April 26, 2018
Dit kan wel eens het beste YA boek van 2018 voor me zijn.

Slutshaming, vrouwelijke seksualiteit en alles dat er mis is met onze huidige maatschappij zit in dit boek. En het is overgoten met een enorme uitgeschoten scheut gortdroge humor.

Ik kan een heel verhaal gaan ophangen met meer uitweidingen over waarom dit boek zo geweldig is, maar dat ^ vat het samen. Dit boek is geweldig. En superbelangrijk. En megagoed.

Iedereen zou dit boek moeten lezen. Iedereen. Echt.
Profile Image for Zoë ☆.
906 reviews178 followers
November 24, 2018
Just ordered a physical copy because this was one of my favourite books of the year! I also found out that there’s going to be a sequel just now so that’s awesome!!
I can't believe how underrated this book is, I have literally only seen like two people reading it BUT IT'S SO GOOOOD
The Exact Opposite of Okay was such a great book!
I think it is relatable to a lot of girls and it was very inspiring and empowering to read! It was full of great humour too!!
Definitely recommend 😊
Profile Image for Shealea.
449 reviews1,217 followers
October 1, 2020
Did I root for the extremely unlikable main character? Yes.
Did I enjoy reading this book despite its narrow, white-centric portrayal of feminism? Yes.

And will I recommend this book to others? Not anymore.

Much like Izzy O'Neill, the author is an unapologetic white feminist, and as a woman of color, I can't bear to touch any of her books anymore. I am deeply disappointed by her behavior and principles (or lack thereof), and I refuse to support anyone who partakes in harming marginalized communities.

Also, The Exact Opposite of Okay is a decent read if you're into American humor, but trust me, there are better books out there and there are definitely many books out there that dive into feminism in a richer, more profound, and more meaningful way. I highly recommend that you read those books instead.

🌻🍃 More bookish content on Shut up, Shealea 🍃🌻
Profile Image for ȷαεlα.
714 reviews
August 15, 2018

I really didn't think this would be one of my favorites. It's been such a long time since I labeled a book as a favorite.
I am impressed. With the main character. Izzy is such a beautiful soul. I don't agree with all of her choices, but she's only 18!!! A teenager. What do you expect? At that age everybody is allowed to make stupid decisions or act crazy. What should everybody shame her for her way of living? Everyone of us does most of what she did. It is so normal now. The only problem was that her personal life became public and she had to suffer the criticism of the whole society.
I am so mad at most of the characters in this book. I know they exist in the real life and they always will. People who are so desperate with their own life. Boring people.
Well, shame on them!

The message in this book goes deeper than just feminism. Our society is rotten and most of the people hide their real opinions and feelings.

I hope there are more people like Izzy out there.

Profile Image for Dany.
265 reviews85 followers
March 11, 2019
I will be whole heartedly dramatic and yell "this book will change your world".

I had resistance picking up this book because of my friend(whose opinions i care for) who didn't had a strong opinion about this one .

But this book changed the world and changed me.
(If you're here for the review scroll through until you find review in block letters. Thank you for your patience)

Izzy is a sexually active and "do or die" kind of person . (We have to remember the boy MC who we had with this same trope until a few years back ). She gets drunk and sleeps with two guys in a single night and sends a naked pic of herself to one of the aforementioned boys. And her pictures having sex and being naked gets online and becomes a world-wide scandal.

Laura presented a MC with a controversial activity and explores into deep involved thoughts of human mind. Slut shaming , Mob mentality , news industry stalking scandals , Primitive views on pre marital sex , victim blaming , revenge porn and more are being analysed.

Sending nudes as an eighteen-year-old isn’t a crime. Revenge porn should be.

Izzy's character evolves with the plot. She starts as a sarcastic easy going person and we pass through her depression , anxiety , regret.

What do I want to be now? Bold. Fierce. Honest. A fighter. A revolutionary. A bitch. Because the way the world treats teenage girls—as sluts, as objects, as bitches—is not okay.

This book is honestly more about izzy being slut shamed and bouncing back. It's about finding ourselves , people who we love and standing up for what we believe. Pick up this book whatever you believe. Read this , especially for the connection you get from Izzy at some point. Read this because the voice of the victim ought to be heard.


The plot line and the title were intriguing enough to pick up. And i wasn't even disappointed a bit .


Izzy is sarcastic , funny and awesome. She loves her friends and her life even though it's not 100 percent. She is lovable.

Ajita can't be more adorable. She's the perfect piece for Izzy. Think of the two best friends you've envied or wished you had or the one you have . Thats izzy and ajita.

Danny has many surprising twists and if you don't know anything else than the goodreads summary , there are many shocks awaiting you.

Betty was so cool and surprising. She is one hell of a supportive person and she's just being the grown up version of izzy makes it so cute.


Writing was great in a good way but it might've been more . I can sense Laura can do more. Thats all.

Izzy was funny alll the time and it being her pov makes us wanna hit izzy for her being funny.


I really wanna say the plot was handled well. But it wasn't. A book this controversial and heavy should've been covered more point of views. I would've killed to read Betty's and Ajita's POV.

Why is his life worth more than mine, just because he’s rich and male?

Yes this wasn't a perfect book. But this as well have been. This book sheds a new point of feminism which is always being said. Equality. A person shouldn't be judged by their actions differently because of their genetelia or money or race or anything else.

I'm grateful for Harper Collins and Edelweiss providing this copy in exchange for my honest review.

Profile Image for Sophie "Beware Of The Reader".
1,335 reviews360 followers
July 23, 2019
5 “pure brilliance” stars


I am madly in love with this book!

It is clever, witty, moving, smart, bold under the cover of a seemingly innocent YA story!

I think every teenager and professor and parent should read this book!

I also give Betty the gold medal of supportive, unconventional and witty grand-mother.

And I want to be Izzy O’Neil when I grow up!


Let’s rewind here.

I decided to read that book after having read Sim (alias Simant @flippingthroughthepages) raving about it on IG and her blog! As Laura Steven will attend YALC UK I decided to give it a go.

By the time you’ll read this review I’ll be either en route, either at YALC by the way.


Izzy O’Neil is an orphan raised up by a courageous and totally modern grand-mother Betty.

She has two childhood best friends the nerdy Danny and the tiny but intimidating Ajita.

Izzy is what you could call your jokester. She is a real comedian and is the best at working on funny scenarios. Barely passing her classes her counselor and drama teacher will encourage her to enter a competition for screen play. Kind of The Voice but for aspiring writers who dream of working for the movie and tv industry.


Izzy is a free-spirited girl, always trying to see the bright side of life whatever the curve ball it’s throwing at you. Her favorite weapon is humor.

At ease in her skin, stretch marks, cellulite and all she enjoys boys as many teenagers do.

She is one of these characters who hates confrontation. She is a peace maker at heart.


One night of fun will end up on a blog set up exclusively to bash her and her slutty behavior. Full on disclosure about her “sexcapade” , her body, her habit. It was “slut shaming”. Every single detail or her life, every intimate part of her body. Everything on full display for everyone to see.

It did not end after that “one night”. The hater managed to hack her phone and send nude pics of her and nude “dick pic” of the senator’s son.

But of course, the girl will be a whore and the boy will be a boy.

The boy will be offered a place at Stanford and Izzy will be crucified by everyone.

This is totally double standard.

The students, the teachers, the parents will leer at the sight of Izzy.

“I know this will blow over eventually. But until then, it’s going to be hell.”

How would YOU react if everyone was looking at you and murmuring about what a whore you were? And have you seen her thighs? She should go on a diet.

What would you do if politicians used that as fuel to their campaign and encourage abstinence as the only way for our youth today?

What would you say if the grand mother who had raised you working tirelessly long hours to give you a roof upon your head and food on the table was judged for her bad parenting?


Would you still dare going to school or would you stay in bed all day, forgetting the world?

“Standing on the front steps and trying to catch my breath, I want to claw my skin off. Despite all of the things that make me me – my personality, my heart, my sense of humor – I’ve been reduced to a grainy filter and a pair of tits. To a mere sex object.

I wonder whether I’ll ever stop feeling so dirty.”


That’s where I am really in awe of Izzy because that girl went to school chin high, ignoring the shame fest the best she could!

Her friend Ajita was her fantastic champion! I want a best friend like her! Small yet so fierce!

But Izzy was also prone to make mistakes. She did not think before posting some comments via messenger. She trusted too easily.

Because even if your friend can be trusted now, maybe in the future he won’t be! Or the account can be hacked and your words displayed for the whole world to see!

In French we say “Les paroles s’envolent, les écrits restent” something that you could translate as “Words fly away, writings remain” and that’s so true in this social media era!


Even the strongest can have their bad days and all these attacks will wear Izzy out.

It’s when you are feeling low that you discover what matters most for you: the people you love.


Laura’s writing is extremely funny because Izzy is a comedian! You have tons of come back and humor. Yet this is also tragic and vulnerable. Like these kids who hide their sadness and their fear under a jokester mask.


I could go on and on about this book!

Just know that under that brightly colored cover and seemingly innocuous YA contemporary hides a smart, thoughtful, funny and shameless little jewel!


Thank you Simant for being such a fierce advocate of this story! I had a blast.


Now it’s my way to boss you and tell you to JUST READ THAT BOOK!

Have you read it? Or plan to now?

Thanks for reading and greetings from YALC!

Find me on:
Wordpress: Beware Of The Reader
Facebook: Beware Of The Reader
Facebook group : Beware Book Boyfriends Alert
Instagram: @bewareofthereader
Twitter: @BewareOffReader
Profile Image for Megan.
1,225 reviews71 followers
March 28, 2018
3.5 stars.

This had a ton of great feminist vibes and messages, and I enjoyed it overall, but the second half of the novel was definitely the strongest. It took a little while for me to get into the writing at the beginning (in the style of diary-entry type blog posts, with some extra edited asides from Izzy), but my main problem was that the humour didn't always translate well on the page.

Books like this that rely a lot on humour can be pretty hit and miss for me, because telling jokes verbally in a social context is one thing. Making the same joke but instead written on a blank piece of paper? Yes, some of Izzy's humour was funny, and at times her sarcasm was scathing and on point, but other times I actually didn't find things funny at all. And I have a pretty good sense of humour, too. So yeah, I had my ups and downs with this particular aspect of the novel, and it didn't always work out too well.

I don't want to get too list-y, but another thing that really began to piss me off was the way that Izzy kept throwing out the 'woe-is-me-i'm-an-orphan-my-parents-have-died-i'm-so-tragic' thing every five minutes. The first few times is understandable to establish her character, but when she keeps throwing it in your face every five minutes or so - almost like an excuse for her behaviour? I'm sorry mate, but that's not going to fly with me, and you can change the track on your record player now, please.

Probably one of my favourite aspects of the novel though was Izzy's relationship with Betty, her grandmother and guardian, and her best friend Ajita. Honestly, Ajita is the type of friend we all need and don't deserve, she was amazing and I could probably gush about her for ages. Both those relationships were so strong and supportive, and I loved seeing Izzy interact with these people. (Oh, and her drama teacher as well, who's name has inconveniently slipped my mind....)

There's probably more negative things than positive things listed in this review (whoops), but like I mentioned above, I really did enjoy this one overall. You can't go wrong with it's empowering message, but I feel like the execution was a little... lacking. But I mean, it has a sausage dog called Dumbledore in it, so that's pretty much a reason to pick up the novel and give it a go in itself.
Profile Image for Becky.
394 reviews169 followers
June 8, 2019
Finished in one sitting! I sticky tabbed the shit out of this and also highlighted it A LOT. I really loved this book. It was incredibly intense, powerful, dramatic, funny and downright educational. 10/10 recommend.

This book discusses the injustice that women face on a day to day basis and takes a really raw subject to tell the story of a teen who was forced into a year of injustice because a boy decided to leak a nude photo she felt forced to send in the first place. It discusses victim blaming, rape culture, slut shaming, sexuality, feminism amongst more. I also really appreciated Izzy’s character; she was sarcastic, snarky, brave, and she was written in such a way that makes her charm irresistible.

Marking the remainder of this review as spoilers because I’m adding quotes! They speak for me better than my rambles ever could.

Profile Image for Rian *fire and books*.
525 reviews149 followers
June 6, 2020
Everyone needs to read this.

No seriously, your mom, your dad, your cousin, your niece, you son, your aunt with glaucoma, great uncle Rickey with a y, and your dog (especially if it’s named Dumbledore).

This was incredible. It was honest, funny, and a searing take on being a teen girl.

Fucking 10/10.

Everyone needs Izzy in their life. In fact can we all write to Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and have them adapt this. It can be their new thing and Maya Rudolf can play the lovely Mrs. Crannon?

This is a UK adapted YA about a comedic feminist teen pulled into a national sex scandal when she has sex with a politician’s son. No surprise, but photos get out compliments of a revenge porn site. This book is also in a way her “memoir”, where everything is pulled from blog posts and [current thoughts to make sure she doesn’t get sued] it’s amazing.

Each character is so freaking unique, wonderfully fleshed out, and even hilarious. There are so many lovely characters and I don’t want to tell you about any of them so you can discover their loveliness for yourself.

Please, do teen you a favor and read this.

As a note: Laura Steven is my new favorite author. I will actually pay the disgusting shipping fees to have all of her books sent to me in Alaska. It’ll cost a million dollars, but I can’t wait.
Profile Image for Marcia.
1,053 reviews110 followers
April 29, 2018
Allesbehalve oké is absoluut een aanrader voor alle (tiener)meisjes vanwege het onderwerp. Seksualiteit, slut-shaming, feminisme - een prachtig actuele thematiek. Ik vind het heel belangrijk dat er over dergelijke onderwerpen geschreven wordt.
Maar vond ik het een goed boek? Niet echt. De vele verwijzingen naar Harry Potter en andere popcultuur voelde voor mij erg geforceerd aan en ook de schrijfstijl lag mij persoonlijk niet. De personages zijn wat mij betreft iets te veel de 'perfecte buitenbeentjes'.
Een prima boek voor tussendoor, wat ik vanwege de thematiek zeker aan anderen zou aanraden, maar qua verhaal had ik toch iets meer diepgang verwacht.
Een uitgebreide recensie volgt.
Profile Image for natka_bookish_life.
214 reviews131 followers
August 21, 2022

cieszę się, że takie głosy w końcu wychodzą i docierają to każdej osoby która tego potrzebuje!
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