A Welcome Surprise

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spatra1964 Avatar


So, stylistically, this book is killing the game. That gorgeous cover and the roses which mark every new chapter - perfection! Ophelia After All is the type of story I wish I saw more of (as evidenced by my reading it in 3 sittings): Women who have only ever liked men meeting that One Girl TM. And them not being shamed or degraded by friends and prospective partners for their bisexuality or queerness. I also really liked the ending, though I did yell when Talia rejected Ophelia and was revealed to have a boyfriend! But I appreciated that story telling choice more and more by end. It's so fresh to read a queer romance book with high schoolers that acknowledges that romance isn't crucial to identity or being happy, and that our gay awakenings don't owe us anything.
This being said, I did still end up rating it three stars for many reasons. One thing which I often complain about is infodumping diversity - Wesley explain sexuality like he was reading from a gender studies textbook was awkward and unnecessary. Readers can do their own research if they're confused. And then of course the same thing applied for race and culture - YA authors have got to do a better job of treating their characters and their cultures naturally instead of making entire sections feel like Very Special Episodes. But my main grift, besides the other general cheese and sometimes juvenile writing in the book, was with its second half. Easily prevented miscommunication, accidental coming-outs, large passages repeating the same info: Ophelia doesn't fit into a box. Ophelia doesn't have to always like boys. Ophelia can learn new things about herself. Most of this could have been cut out and it would have made for a better novel.
TLDR: Good concept and a fresh take on queer Ya, meh execution. This isn't to say I won't be rereading that kiss scene though.