Book: Only Mostly Devastated
Author: Sophie Gonzales
Genre: Young Adult, LGBT, Romance
Pages: 288 (Kindle)
Published: March 2020 (UK)
My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
So, technically LGBTQ+ month has ended - but I didn't quite finish my June TBR so here's my, (slightly later than planned!) review of Sophie Gonzales's 'Only Mostly Devastated'.
'Only Mostly Devastated' follows Ollie through his final year at Collinswood High. He didn't expect to switch schools for his final year - and neither did his summer fling Will! The two met on a summer vacation and agreed to stay in touch, but neither of them knew that they'd see each other again so soon. But after Ollie's aunt Linda's struggle with cancer becomes harder, their family see no option but to stay and help as best they can. Only, Will hasn't come out to his friends at Collinswood High, will he feel the pressure to now Ollie's here? Or will he deny it completely?
First things first, I've seen this categorised in different ways. Some sites suggest that it's for younger teens whereas some suggest it's written for young adults. Personally, I think it could be under any of the above genres, it's clearly about high school/college relationships, coming-of-age, etc. but there is some strong language , so it could suit both age groups really. Anyway, the writing is easy to understand and follow - it's the perfect summer read!
The characterisation felt realistic and down-to-earth, both characters were believable as older teens/young adults. There was plenty of LGBTQ+ rep, including homosexuality and bisexuality, and some exploration of people's attitudes and reactions to them. It was a heart-warming and sweet romance book, which was adorable yet also touched upon more hard-hitting and complex topics such as homophobia, the pressures of coming out and there's also a side story following Aunt Linda's experience with cancer - all of which the author handled very well.
I'm undecided about whether I liked how it was structured, I would have preferred to have read more about Will and Ollie's relationship over the summer and how it really began. We were given short snippets, but I feel that it could have been explored further - particularly so we could see the difference between the Will that Ollie first met and the one we know now. However, I did enjoy the book and it was well-paced for this type of genre.
I'd recommend it you're into cute romance reads, particularly if you're into LGBTQ+ rep as this one is fab for that! There are a few trigger warnings (the following does mention spoilers) for homophobia, terminal illness, death of a loved one, fat shaming/dieting pressures and there's some strong language also. It's not particularly mentioned in the blurb, but there is a strong focus on the terminal illness storyline and grief as a result, particularly children losing a parent/aunt.
Overall, I'd give this book a 3.5 star rating (perhaps closer to three stars, if I had to choose) as it's a cute summer read but I wouldn't read it again. Have you read 'Only Mostly Devastated'? What did you think of it?
Take care and stay safe,