This is very much an excellent and well needed book right now. In times of female empowerment, books like The Exact Opposite of Okay are perfect books to read. Thanks so much to Electric Monkey for sending me a copy of the proof!
Izzy O’Neill is an aspiring comedian – being poor and an orphan won’t get in the way of her dreams! However, she never expected to have fame thrust at her at eighteen. Fame that has come from all the wrong places. When explicit photos of her and a politician’s son are published online via a hateful website, Izzy’s life is turned completely on its head. With best friend Ajita by her side, she tries to laugh it off – but as the slut-shaming intensifies and the hate gets worse, she learns that the world has a flawed way of treating teenage girls.
The Exact Opposite of Okay is told through blog posts – posts directly from main character Izzy herself which gives the reader all the raw emotions and unfiltered access to her train of thought. At first it was a little hard to get into because of this style, and I sometimes had to go back to check which dates the posts were on, but it made an excellent pairing for the topic of the book.
This book is a rollercoaster of emotions. I laughed, I got angry, I felt sad; there’s so much going on and so much injustice for Izzy that it would be impossible not to feel anything. It’s bad enough that photos are shared on a brand new website – World Class Whore – but when Izzy sends a nude photo in response to one she’s received, that gets leaked and the whole world comes crashing down. With best friend Ajita, she tries to weather the storm, but causes strain on their friendship as Izzy is constantly using humour as a shield. An understandable tactic, but as you read you can see how much pressure it is for her to constantly try and spin the situation into a joke, and how hard it is for her friend to wait for her to be serious about it. All while this is happening, the Nice Guy rears his ugly head. He’ll do a nice thing for Izzy while she’s in a bad situation, and then expect her to fall head-over-heels in love with him because of this act of niceness. The Nice Guy made me angry, and the more he’s in the book the more you dislike his character and his absolute selfishness.
I won’t spoil it, but the lengths that the person who created the website and leaked the photo goes to to ruin Izzy’s life are absolutely disgusting. Rather than defending Izzy and helping her to get rid of the website, the school ignores it and chalks it up to her being a slut. She gets death threats by girls in school, the boys call her all manner of vile names, teachers make lewd comments and people drag her name all over the internet. While Izzy gets destroyed for sleeping with a guy and sending him a nude, the guy involved doesn’t get dragged. Son of a politician, he manages to get distanced from the fall out and still goes about his life like nothing happened. It truly shows the skewed perspective of how men and women are treated in the media and by their peers. A guy sleeps around and he’s considered a saint, a legend. A girl does the same and she is jeered at and called a slut.
“If people cared more about being kind than being successful, the world would be a much better place.”
This quote stuck with me. If we all listened to this advice, then the world really would be a better place. The Exact Opposite of Okay holds a mirror up to society’s wrongs and does so without apology – rightly so.
Final thought: Bold and fierce with a powerful message. 4.5/5