We are so happy to be part of the blog tour for The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven that is put on by the lovely The Fantastic Flying Book Club. To see the full schedule, go HERE. Also be sure to check out the playlist, favorite quotes and US contest after the review!
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Genre: YA Contemporary
Published: June 11th 2019
Trigger Warnings: Revenge Porn, Slut Shaming, Bullying, Publicly Outting Someone, Sexual Harassment
Eighteen-year-old Izzy O’Neill knows exactly who she is—a loyal friend, an aspiring comedian, and a person who believes that milk shakes and Reese’s peanut butter cups are major food groups. But after she’s caught in a compromising position with the son of a politician, it seems like everyone around her is eager to give her a new label: slut.
Izzy is certain that the whole thing will blow over and she can get back to worrying about how she doesn’t reciprocate her best friend Danny’s feelings for her and wondering how she is ever going to find a way out of their small town. Only it doesn’t. And while she’s used to laughing her way out of any situation, as she finds herself first the center of high school gossip and then in the middle of a national scandal, it’s hard even for her to find humor in the situation. Izzy may be determined not to let anyone else define who she is, but that proves easier said than done when it seems like everyone has something to say about her.
“Don’t look at me like that. This is a book about a sex scandal: did you really expect me to be a nun and/or the Virgin Mary?”
Izzy O’Neil, where were you when I was a teen?!?!?! Thank god you are here now, because even in my 30s – I still need voices like yours challenging me and empowering me as a woman!
Revenge porn doesn’t really get talked about in YA and it’s an increasingly large problem for young people today, particularly girls. The Exact Opposite of Okay handles the issues with humor, sensitivity and courage. I wish this was required reading in highschools but it will never happen because it features an unapologetic girl who is comfortable with her sexuality, who isn’t broken and ashamed. She loves sex and doesn’t hate her body and society still isn’t ready for that. This book doesn’t condone casual sex, it doesn’t condemn it either. It simply looks at all the bullshit double-standards women have to deal with and the shame that is put on them if they dare to step out of line or heaven forbid, actually like themselves.
The Exact Opposite of Okay is incredible, no like it’s fucking fantastic (yes, I needed to drop the F-bomb!). I’m going to go out on a limb and say this book is going to challenge the hell out of you. I consider myself a pretty liberal person, certainly a feminist but there were instances in this book that I had to check myself and my judgements and that is brilliant. This story centers around our protagonist, Izzy O’Neil, who is 18 years old – in her last year of highschool and about to go through one hell of a sex scandal. Izzy and her friends head to a big party one night and Izzy ends up having sex (by choice) with two different guys at the party – pretty much one after the other. I think most girls will even struggle with not judging Izzy here but she’s totally comfortable with casual, safe sex and she’s 18 and it’s her body. After she has a bit of a flirtmance with one of the guys and ends up sending him a nude and from there it’s all downhill.
Someone it turns out has a grudge against Izzy and has created an entire site calling her a whore and uploading pictures of her having sex at the party and eventually uploading her nude photo. This is completely disastrous for Izzy but she holds her head high and refuses to apologize or be ashamed – the only one in the wrong here is the person who has put up revenge porn of her. The slut shaming and bullying in school and outside of it begin and none of the adults seem to be doing a damn thing about it, other than blaming her.
One thing I love about this book is how much it really challenges without lecturing. It just tells the story and through it, you start to realize so many truths and and it’s so empowering to see it on paper. You know we’ve all heard “why don’ you ever date a nice guy like me,” this book explores that stupid sentence that men love throwing around like we owe them something. It shows that we don’t have cut a man slack because “he just really likes me and I feel bad” – this book tears that shit apart and shows it for what it truly is. Also, we get an amazing female friendship, it almost brings tears to my eyes how beautiful and supportive and real this friendship is and when one of them does something that hurts the other – they make zero excuses for it. They are so clear how wrong it is and how truly sorry they are that they hurt the other one. I just love this friendship to the bottom of my soul.
This book DESERVES to be read – it NEEDS to be read and on top of everything, this book is fucking HILARIOUS. It will make you rage but it will also make you want to put on your favorite empowering “I am Woman Hear Me Roar” song and give everyone the middle finger!
What are you waiting for? Go pick this one up! You wont’ regret it!
Exact Opposite of Okay Playlist
I was asked to create a playlist for this awesome book and here are my choices. You can also find the playlist over on Spotify by clicking HERE or by searching for Exact Opposite of Okay Playlist.
Bad Reputation – Avril Lavinge
Your Body – Christina Aguilera
Do it Like a Dude – Jessie J
Confident – Demi Lovato
Titanium – David Guetta Ft. Sia
Can’t Hold Us Down – Christina Aguliera ft. Lil’ Kim
Scream it Out – Ellie Goulding
Woman – Kesha
Fight Song – Rachel Platten
Till It Happens To You – Lady Gaga
“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.”
“Basically, if you’re a woman, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.”
“If the school population discovers I banged two dudes in one night, the girls will call me a bitch and a slut, and the guys will high five and call me easy while flinging their own feces at each other.”
“I don’t need gifts! I just need you to stop being a grade A bucket of dicks!”
“This entitlement has to stop. The world owes you nothing. Girls owe you nothing.”
“I’m not a girl anymore. I’m an animal in a cage.”
“Bitches bite back. And men hate that. Society hates that.”
If you are interested in signing up for future blog tours with authors, be sure to check out The Fantastic Flying Book Club.