A Fun Read

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I enjoyed Ophelia After All quite a bit! It was really nice to see a work that focused on sexuality and Ophelia's identity as half-Cuban while also treating those things as just part of daily life and which has a diverse group of friends overall. In general, I found the main friend group very believable and likable, each character with their own issues but their own charms that all felt very real. In particular, I really enjoyed Ophelia acknowledging that her and Lindsay were never that close and would probably stop being friends after High School, that felt very realistic to me and was a very nice touch. I also enjoyed that, while the book focuses a lot on her figuring out her sexuality and grappling with how it might mean she defies others' expectations for her, it's never in isolation; her friends and the important people in her life were always significant and dealing with their own struggles.

I also really enjoyed the direction the romance took! I loved Talia as a character and found her just as cool as Ophelia does, and I actually really liked that it turns out she's dating Zaq and her and Ophelia don't end up together; it again added another layer of realism and felt more accurate to how messily actual high school relationships (romantic or not) can go. It also highlights the importance of Ophelia accepting herself and feeling confident over finding a relationship. In general, her rose-tinted (pun intended) perspective on all of her interactions with Talia due to her crush were super believable from both sides.

Another aspect of this book I really enjoyed was all of the emphasis placed on both gardening and literary analysis. I might be biased due to my own love of both those things, but I felt like they were written about in such a true way and just shone through in Ophelia's character.

I do think this book is a lighter read for sure and most ideal for younger high schoolers and such, but those are not negative things! I think getting to read this book when I was younger would've been absolutely thrilling and affirming, and I'm glad people that age have this book now. Overall, it didn't necessarily grab me by the collar and shake me around or anything, but I think it's wonderful to see a nice, light-hearted and extremely compassionate book like this.