My Rating ~ Five Stars
RELEASE DATE: 3 March 2020
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Summer love…gone so fast.
Ollie and Will were meant to be a summer fling—casual, fun, and done. But when Ollie’s aunt’s health takes a turn for the worse and his family decides to stay in North Carolina to take care of her, Ollie lets himself hope this fling can grow to something more. Dreams that are crushed when he sees Will at a school party and finds that the sweet and affectionate (and comfortably queer) guy he knew from summer isn’t the same one attending Collinswood High.
Will is more than a little shocked to see Ollie the evening of that first day of school. While his summer was spent being very much himself, back at school he’s simply known as one of the varsity basketball guys. Now Will is faced with the biggest challenge of his life: follow his heart and risk his friendships, or stay firmly in the closet and lose what he loves most.
Thank you so much to Hachette Australia for providing me with a copy of Only Mostly Devastated in exchange for an honest review!
I was equal parts excited and nervous when I saw Only Mostly Devastated was a queer Grease retelling. It sounded amazing, but Grease is one of my all time favourite films, and it’s always nerve-wracking reading a retelling of a favourite! But, am I allowed to say….this book was the absolute best? Maybe even better than the original Grease?!
Ollie and Will met at the lake over the summer, while Ollie’s family were staying nearby, to help his critically ill Aunt and her children. They had the summer romance of their lives, but after the say goodbye, plans change and Ollie ends up staying on for the school year. He quickly finds out Will is also attending the same school – and Will is not openly gay, in fact, he is not out at all, and is a cocky basketball jock, with a group of friends to match.
Only Mostly Devastated dealt with some really heavy subjects, while still maintaining a fun romance story, and often laugh out loud banter. Ollie faces watching his Aunt fade away from cancer, while looking after his young cousins, and it was both devastating and sweet. There was a fantastic theme of understanding – both of Will and Ollie’s actions and feelings, and that sometimes we’re not all in the same place in life. We’re not always ready to face the same things, but we need to be respectful of other people’s feelings all the same. Although Ollie and Will were standout main characters, I also really enjoyed watching the other character’s (especially in their friend groups) grow. One of the issues I often have with YA contemporaries is their tendency to be too teen-angsty. As an (older) adult reading YA, sometimes it’s hard not to roll my eyes and want to yell at the characters’ self centred natures. Only Mostly Devastated didn’t make me feel like that at all. The character’s were teens, they acted like teens, but the level of angst they displayed was entirely appropriate for the issues they faced. So, if you usually avoid YA contemporaries for this reason, I’d definitely recommend picking this one up!
I think this has been my favourite contemporary read for quite a while and I already want to fangirl over it to everyone!
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