Hayley's Reviews > Only Mostly Devastated

Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales
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it was amazing

Oh my goodness. I somehow got lucky enough to get my hands on an early copy of this, and I'll tell you something right now: you should all be marking your calendars for 2020.

The story kicks off as we're introduced to Ollie, who's hilarious, wry, and hopelessly in love with Will, who he met at the lake over summer. The problem is, Will lives in North Carolina, while Ollie is due to go home to California. Then things get complicated when Ollie's parents announce a last-minute change of plans to look after Ollie's very sick aunt and her children, moving Ollie to North Carolina for his senior year.

Ollie is hopeful that he might be able to see more of Will, however, Will seems to have ghosted him. Then, after Ollie makes friends with a group of vibrant girls, he discovers that not only has Will not been abducted by aliens as he'd feared, but goes to the very school he's just moved to! One issue: Will isn't out. And as much as he seems to very much still have feelings for Ollie, he's so terrified of being outed that he refuses to even be seen with Ollie in public.

What follows is a breathless push and pull dynamic, as both boys oscillate between moving on from the other and being sucked right back into the other's orbit. Ollie, trying to figure out what's more important: Will learning to prioritize his feelings, or Ollie learning to prioritize his own feelings. Will, trying to figure out how to embrace the sides of him that aren't accepted by his family and friends, and how to fight the urge to run back under his safe, fake mask whenever he takes a small step out of the closet. One of the most amazing parts of this story is how no one is really in the wrong. You can see where Ollie is coming from, and you can see where Will is coming from, and the only solution is for them to work through their own issues. It's extremely refreshing to read a relationship where the conflicts aren't evil villains, or one partner being flat-out awful, or worst of all, the conflict is poor communication. This is real. Here, the conflict is life, and both boy's character flaws.

Sophie Gonzales nails the teen boy voice so well that I was truly gobsmacked to learn that she isn't / wasn't one! I find that a personal peeve in YA is when stories tend to beautiful, sometimes purple, prose that is lovely to read, but let's face it: very few sixteen year old boys would be caught dead rhapsodizing about the exact shade of the dew-covered tulips in the soft glow of morning. Gonzales manages to deftly avoid that trap by weaving a story that is voicey without being basic, and smart without being unrealistic, with Ollie throwing in astute life observations and startlingly funny asides in a conversational manner that makes you feel like you know him personally.

Reading this book brought me back to when I was a teenager, falling in love for the first time, having my heart broken for the first time, and the delicious thrill of realizing that I wasn't imagining those signs after all. All the best parts of the wild, desperate ride that is falling in love as a young person are the focus of this book. Gonzales seems to simply revel in it.

I can't wait for this book to come out, so I can yell about it with the world, instead of my dog. He's not a very good listener. I'm quite sure I won't be alone in my excitement!!!!!!!!!!
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
July 16, 2019 – Shelved

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