There are no spoilers in this review.
Only Mostly Devastated, Sophie Gonzales
Publishing on March 3rd, 2020 by Wednesday Books.
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.
- Only Mostly Devastated is one of these feel-good, wonderful contemporaries I’ll still think about fondly in a couple months and years, I think. This story perfectly juggled with all the emotions I’m looking for in a contemporary: endearing, heartwarming, swoony moments, friendships and romance, family and heartbreaking moments, too.
- This story has been blurbed as a sort of Grease-inspired YA and I could get the overall feeling of that, with the group of “Pink Ladies” and the group of Basketball Players, a.k.a the T-Birds. Still, if I got the overall feels, Only Mostly Devastated felt fresh and new, maybe because my memories of Grease are fuzzy, but well, I appreciated it all the more for it.
- I loved the characters in this story so much.
- Ollie, our main character, is one of these characters I want to protect and hug and just wonderful. He’s kind and yet socially awkward a tiny little bit, he’s caring and just so relatable in the way he views things and life. He makes mistakes and assumptions and is really far from perfect, but despite his flaws, you just want him to be okay and happy. I really wanted him to be happy.
- I really appreciated the cast of characters overall, too. I loved the little group of friends Ollie finds his place in, each of them with their own goals and dreams and issues, they felt three dimensional and I really liked them all. Well, almost.
- The romance was really interesting to follow, just as well, with its confusing moments, misunderstandings and growth. If sometimes, I was frustrated by the way things were going, it was just because I wanted them to be okay and together and happy, because I KNEW THEY COULD BE.
- I think one of the most wonderful things about Only Mostly Devastated is the way it discusses the complexities of relationships, romance and sexuality, both with the main character’ story and a side character’s story. Each of them deals with complex feelings, some characters are still questioning their sexuality and coming out, some characters still closeted and others just in the middle of it all feeling confused about everything.
I HAD A HARD TIME WITH…
- What makes me put off one star in my rating is one particular character in the story. I felt like she was, at first, very toxic and didn’t really apologize for it all, which made me a little frustrated. I liked this character’s growth thorough the story and I liked understanding where her behaviour came from, for sure, but I didn’t feel like her behaviour was completely and rightfully made … okay, by the end of the story.
Only Mostly Devastated is a contemporary I remember fondly and will definitely recommend. Entertaining, heartwarming and emotional, with a lovely cast of characters, this is a book I hope you’ll end up picking up and loving, too!
Final rating: 4 drops!
A million thanks to Macmillan International & Wednesday Books for sending me an advance review copy of this book. This did not, in any way, influence my thoughts and rating.
Trigger warnings: family member with cancer, chemotherapy, mentions of homophobia (called out), biphobia (called out), fatphobia (called out), death and grief, polycystic ovary syndrom.
Diversity: queer main characters (gay, bisexual), POC characters.
Did you read Only Mostly Devastated? Do you want to?
What was the last contemporary book you’ve read and loved? Let me know in comments!