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Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales
Wednesday Books / St. Martin’s Publishing Group
Publication Date: March 3, 2020
Ollie’s summer in North Carolina turns into a semi-permanent adventure when he and his parents stay on into the fall to help his ailing aunt (who is dying of cancer) to take care of her family. Collinswood High is not nearly as progressive as his previous school in California, but senior Ollie is determined not to hide his sexuality from his peers. His summer crush and brief fling, Will Tavares, materializes at the school as a popular but closeted jock, and while Ollie pins his hopes on rekindling their spark, he is faced with the decision to be true to himself or accept a hidden romance in order to experience the excitement of first love.
Ollie is a well-rounded character, experiencing emotional ups and downs and conflicting feelings. The reader roots for him to find happiness, whether that is with Will or on his own as a young, gay man who knows himself and won’t accept less than he deserves. The story is filled with drama and humor, sure to appeal to the reader who typically has trouble relating to protagonists. Most teens should see some aspect of themselves in this book, and recognize their peers in any of the numerous supporting characters who pepper the story in the form of friends and family. Just under 300 pages and replete with dialogue, this novel is approachable and easy to read.
For fans of Darius the Great Is Not Okay, Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, Leah on the Offbeat, and Heartstopper, novels where LGBTQ-friendly themes feature sweet, likeable protagonists going through a coming-of-age first love story.