**I received/requested an ARC/Proof of this novel Via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**
I'm also incredibly lucky to be a part of the street team for this particular novel so expect to see it splashed across all of my social media. That aside this is simply a phenomenal book.
I cry at books all the time and films (Toy Story 3 I'm looking at you here) but it is very rare that I find myself laughing at a book. Sometimes I'll giggle a little, but no. The Exact Opposite of Okay had me cackling every other page. The humour Laura injected into the novel was incredible, it felt like it was aimed at me. As a character Izzy is so sarcastic and witty...which I like to think I am (but know I'm far from it). The pop culture references I loved, mainly because the vast majority of them were Harry Potter related. I mean a sausage dog called Dumbledore? Yes please.
Humour aside I was really impressed with how real each character felt. Izzy is a flawed human being, she's had an awful life but as a result uses humour as a defence mechanism. I've certainly met people who do that and across different forms of media its a recurring thing. She made mistakes, which everyone does and she acted like a teenager. God forbid some of us actually do (did I'm my case...21 is scary) that. Ajita is glorious. That is all. And I appreciate the diversity in this novel. There's POC characters, LGBTQ+ characters. But my favourite part. There isn't a song and dance about the race or the sexuality of the characters. They simply are and as a result I couldn't imagine them any other way. I sometimes find when its shouted about its a little like a ticking a metaphorical box. Also read the novel, I think everyone has had a Danny in their life at some point...
What impressed me the most was how Laura unapologetically went after the phrase slut shaming. The entire crux of the novel centres on one eighteen-year olds 'sexploits' (glorious word) being broadcast across the internet. Photos of her in compromising positions have been put onto a website labelling her a whore and then an intimate photo she sent was added to the mix. Izzy, aforementioned victim, then has to cope with backlash. Walking through the corridor and hearing disgusting slurs thrown her way, reporters hounding her at every chance. The worst part? She is the only person in the situation to be receiving this treatment. There were two other guys that were involved. One who had also shared an intimate picture but that was brushed under the carpet and forgotten. The final few pages of the novel really hits home what slut shaming essentially is. In essence, if you decide to take charge of your sexuality be it in the clothes you wear, your actions, anything. You're a slut. But my god is you refuse you get branded a tease, frigid. Damned if you do and damned if you don't.
This YA novel takes to task the double standard with regards to sexuality and exposes it for how ludicrous it truly is, whilst being absolutely hilarious.
Out on the 8th March. Read it. If you're a guy, a girl, or NB I think you'll get something out of it. This is the sort of book I want to hand out of a pamphlet.