There are no spoilers in this review.
Last year, around that time of the year, I fell in love with a book called Always Never Yours. It had everything I adore in my young adult contemporary books and, naturally, I had to add If I’m Being Honest, the authors’ sophomore novel, on my TBR immediately. Somehow, the book Gods and the authors incredible generosity made my book dream come true and I sobbed while holding the book and… well, you know, sometimes you have expectations and you end up being disappointed, because you expected too much.
Here, it was not like that, at all.
I expected a lot, of course and… once again these two just baffled me and made me just want more, more, more of their stories. Another new favorite to add to my shelves.
ONE OF MY FAVORITE MAIN CHARACTERS. EVER.
If there is something I noticed in the authors’ debut, Always Never Yours, it’s their main character. How unique she was, bold, brilliant, incredibly unapologetic and confident, one of these main characters we need to see more of in young adult contemporaries and one of these characters that, somehow, inspires me. If I’m Being Honest just follows up in the amazing-characters-I-will-forever-annoy-you-with, introducing us to Cameron. Cameron’s seen as a bitch by most of her classmates, the kind of person that will tell you the cold hard truth without blinking or apologizing for being honest. She’s driven, always likes to be in control, is confident and aware of her own awesomeness and YES to that, she makes lists of her plans-of-action and somehow made me think of a kind of Blair Waldorf, too.
Cameron doesn’t feel like a very unlikeable character, when you take a first look at her. Yet, I fell in love with her.
Despite appearances and what her classmates may think, Cameron was so, so well developed and so, so not a bitch. She was such a complex, three dimensional character and, as the story goes on and we get to know her, her family history, her own struggles and her own journey to there and now, everything just… made sense somehow and everything made me want to root for her and adore her. Moreover, her journey and growth through the story was absolutely stunning and most likely one of my favorites ever.
FRIENDSHIPS, FAMILY, ROMANCE: IT HAS IT ALL.
Just like the cover and the synopsis might make you think, If I’m Being Honest gives a big place to its romance, but doesn’t reduce itself to that, at all. The story was perfectly rounded between family, friendships, romance and character-growth and, friends, this is everything I need in my books.
Obviously I’m going to mention the romance first because it had my heart. It was a blooming romance, slowly starting and with every interaction, from the first banter-ones to the second to the third to the tenth, I was just so. Here. For. All. of. it.
The story also focused on friendships, new, unlikely blooming friendships that, at the start of the story, Cameron would have never imagined going into herself. Yet, slowly, as she’s trying to make amends for the ones she’s wronged and somehow, finding herself enjoying her time with these new friends, I found myself warming up inside and smiling, because sometimes the best friendships come in the most unexpected of places.
Cameron hasn’t the easiest family history and relationships with both her mother and her father and somehow that was such a big part of her, her story and her emotional and personal journey in the book, too.
Honestly I don’t know how to talk about this book without GUSHING or something, because it had it all. Friendships. Family. Romance. A complex main character going through such a great development. Banter. Great writing and great everything and I just swallowed this book whole and have no regrets. I adore everything these two authors write and will be reading everything they release next.
Friends, if you’re looking for GREAT young adult contemporary books, please take my recommendations and check out both If I’m Being Honest, their debut, Always Never Yours and everything next. I know that I will.
Final rating: It’s a hurricane!
The biggest thanks in the world, the entire universe and all of the galaxies to the authors for sending me a free ARC of this book. This did not, in any way, influence my thoughts and rating.
Trigger warnings: cheating & talk of cheating, emotional and verbal abuse from parents.
Diversity: One side character is Black (Andrew).
Emily Wibberley, Austin Siegemund-Broka, If I’m Being Honest, Published on April 23rd, 2019 by Viking Books For Young Readers.
High school senior Cameron Bright’s reputation can be summed up in one word: bitch. It’s no surprise she’s queen bee at her private L.A. high school—she’s beautiful, talented, and notorious for her cutting and brutal honesty. So when she puts her foot in her mouth in front of her crush, Andrew, she fears she may have lost him for good.
In an attempt to win him over, Cameron resolves to “tame” herself, much like Katherine in Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. First, she’ll have to make amends with those she’s wronged, which leads her to Brendan, the guy she labelled with an unfortunate nickname back in the sixth grade. At first, Brendan isn’t all that receptive to Cameron’s ploy. But slowly, he warms up to her when they connect over the computer game he’s developing. Now if only Andrew would notice…
But the closer Cameron gets to Brendan, the more she sees he appreciates her personality—honesty and all—and wonders if she’s compromising who she is for the guy she doesn’t even want.
Did you read If I’m Being Honest? Do you want to (please do do do it’s SO GOOD)?
What was the last YA contemporary book you’ve read and loved? Let me know in comments!