Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales – ⭐⭐⭐
Release Date: March 3, 2020
Needs work on some side characters who were undeveloped and pointless, as well as some of their main hobbies as characteristics for the MCs. But still, decent. Thanks to NetGalley & Wednesday Books for a free arc in exchange for an honest review! Since this one is still pretty far out for publishing, it’s very possible the story will have some changes between now and then, so I’ll try to revisit it once it’s out for any updates!
For an easy romance read, with some fun parallels to a classic story before developing into it’s own
Ollie has the perfect summer romance with the perfect guy during a vacation to the other side of the country. Unfortunately, Mr. Perfect (aka Will) ghosts Ollie – hard – once it’s time for Ollie to head home. So when Ollie shows up, very much at the same school as Will, things get… tense. Especially since Ollie starts his first day by accidentally outing Will to three of his classmates. Will denies his name by being unwilling to own the truth of who he is to his family and friends, inevitably trampling Ollie’s heart in the process. And frankly, Ollie is sick of it. Unfortunately, he’s not sick of Will. And so he makes the best life he can with what he’s given.
This was being touted as an LGBTQ+ version of Grease, and while I love that story, I wanted to read this story, and worried it wouldn’t develop it’s own identity for leaning too heavily on being a recreation with a twist. Happily, that was not the case! There were enough similarities, mostly towards the beginning, that it was a fun parallel to unravel. As the story continued, it branched onto it’s own path and away from being merely an imitation.
The struggles Ollie and Will have with their sexuality, Ollie as someone who’s out already and Will as someone who definitely is not, were decently handled. I appreciated that we got the point of view from both sides when Will opens up towards the end about how it felt for him. Understanding where your S.O. is at is critical in every relationship! It also helped redeem the past hurt and anger from Ollie, and remind the reader that Will is supposed to be the guy to love, not hate.
My biggest issue lies with some of the side characters who were quite undeveloped and felt somewhat pointless at times. If you’re not paying attention, you might have no idea who Ryan and Hayley are (I think I remember their names right…), or why Ollie briefly considers calling them when he’s distraught midway through the book. These 2 characters get 4 (MAYBE 5) mentions in the whole book, and for people who were his best friends his whole life, that felt pretty flimsy. Frankly, it made me think “Wow, Ollie sure is a crappy friend.”
Ditto towards Ollie’s band friends (who I really don’t remember the names of because they only got about 4 mentions as well), and Ollie’s musical passion in general. He has a lot of groups of friends going on, so maybe that’s why some inevitably got less screen time, but they at least a little bit more attention to make it feel believable. (Though they do say that when you’re in love, you forget about everyone else to the point of being rude… maybe it’s just playing that up really well? 😉 )His focus on music felt interchangeable: he could have had any main hobby, and it would have worked just as well. There was never really a pivotal moment where it had to be music. Clearly he didn’t need it to connect with people at his new school, since his band friends are barely mentioned despite seeming like quite interesting and considerate people.
Overall, it was a good read and I definitely enjoyed it. Still, it was pretty middle of the pack, which could be changed by a little more development of some of the people around Ollie. There was definitely at least one moment where I was reading and told my boyfriend to shush before he started asking me something because I had to finish the scene – so definitely not bad! ☺
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