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The Exact Opposite of Okay

by Laura Steven

Part of the Izzy O'Neill Series

Relationship Stories Children's & YA Fiction Humorous fiction

LoveReading Expert Review of The Exact Opposite of Okay

An edgy, penetrating, powerful tale for young adults and beyond.

Comedy Women in Print Prize 2019 Winner

A witty, sharp, provocative tale full of heart… this is a book that made me smile and ache with sadness, sometimes at the same time. 18 year old Izzy O’Neill finds that the world is bewildering place when explicit photos of her with a politicians son emerge online. Why is she is the one who is trolled, bullied, torn apart in the press? Thank goodness for her friends! Laura Steven has created a spiky, sharp-shooting, wonderfully endearing character in Izzy. Her diary-like entries are vividly expressive, and full of humour and attitude. I wanted to shout and berate the unfairness of the situation, to fling out my arms in protection. Written for Young Adults, I would recommend this for older teens and upwards. Teenagers and adults alike should be aware of the importance of what is written here. The Exact Opposite of Okay is an edgy, penetrating, thoughtful read with a very pertinent sting, I simply adored it.

Liz Robinson

The Exact Opposite of Okay Synopsis

A hilarious, groundbreaking young adult novel for anyone who's ever called themselves a feminist . . . and anyone who hasn't. For fans of Louise O'Neill, Holly Bourne and Amy Schumer.

Izzy O'Neill here! Impoverished orphan, aspiring comedian and Slut Extraordinaire, if the gossip sites are anything to go by . . .

Izzy never expected to be eighteen and internationally reviled. But when explicit photos involving her, a politician's son and a garden bench are published online, the trolls set out to take her apart. Armed with best friend Ajita and a metric ton of nachos, she tries to laugh it off - but as the daily slut-shaming intensifies, she soon learns the way the world treats teenage girls is not okay. It's the Exact Opposite of Okay.

Bitingly funny and shockingly relevant, The Exact Opposite of Okay is a bold, brave and necessary read. For readers of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, Doing It by Hannah Witton and Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo.

About This Edition

ISBN: 9781405288446
Publication date: 8th March 2018
Author: Laura Steven
Publisher: Electric Monkey an imprint of Egmont UK Ltd
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 352 pages
Collections: 80+ Humorous Novels - from Wry and Sly Observations to Outright Chuckles and Laughter., 50+ Coming-of-age Masterworks,
Primary Genre Children's & YA Fiction
Other Genres:

What To Read After The Exact Opposite of Okay

Diary of a Confused Feminist
The Fault in Our Stars
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
The Falling in Love Montage

The Exact Opposite of Okay Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

This book is honestly one of the best teen fiction texts of our time. Truly inventive, hard-hitting and relatable.

This book is honestly one of the best teen fiction texts of our time. Truly inventive, hard-hitting and relatable, Laura Stevens has crafted the character Izzy O’Neill to be broken down into pieces and built back up again. However, don’t think that by the genre it’s going to be guy gets the girl and that’s how she’s fixed. Judging by the title, it’s not her health either - she has highs and lows like the rest of us and due to the circumstances you don’t blame her for most of her actions. Her journey is more based upon a critical point of view many of us see in day to day life – sexual inequality. “The sexual double standard: boys will be boys, and girls will be sluts”. 

Laura Stevens deals with many modern issues in this book, ranging from sending nudes, to a political sex scandal, two one night stands, friend zoning and political issues going on in our world (Donald Trumps presidency, ISIS, legality’s of revenge porn in the UK and the USA). This book is more than just a sexualised teenage frenzy, prudes do not fear – this book is hilarious. The plot and characters work so well, creating diversity in higher and lower class society. Izzy shows by rejecting her friend Danny that no matter how much money he spends on her, he can’t buy her love or her body. 

Izzy is an orphan and lives with her grandma Betty who has the biggest support for Izzy’s lifestyle, sexual antics and she says the best jokes. Izzy’s friend Ajita is as good as any friend could be in the situation, her friendship ranges from star wars onesies to cheer up a bad day to being thrown under the bus to remove attention from the scandal. As for the boys in this book they vary from the witty painter, basketball player Carson, to the friend zoned higher class Danny. Then there’s Vaughan, the main source of Izzy’s problems, his political father seizes the opportunity and the picture of Vaughan and Izzy on a garden bench and turns it into all that is wrong with Americas woman. “The good old days when woman were classy and respectful and served their male masters like quiet mice servants with no personality of their own”. However although these guys each in turn try to charm Izzy, their individual methods and personality. They makes being a genuine nice person something to be payed for, Izzy documents “if you’re nice because you want something in return, you’re probably not that nice at all”. Whether it’s a date, a picture or for no involvement in the scandal, that’s created around Izzy, all the boys in this book have an ulterior motive. I would however, like to know why (apart from political presence reasons) Vaughan gets away with the scandal with no punishment or later involvement? Unlike Izzy. Also what happens with Carson – does he end up with Izzy properly and not for her body or do they go their separate ways?

This book was such a good read as it felt relevant and relatable, you feel like your reading into Izzy’s mind, and she doesn’t hold much back. Her secrets are told using jokes or are a part of her script writing, she almost uses them as a coping mechanism. Her personality works its way into creating a strong, feminine individual who goes through traumatic struggle and heartbreak

The idea around sex, or sexual acts that men are rewarded or proud of the events and woman, through forces of society, are forced into being sex shamed and regret their decisions. This is not ok, if we can fight against racism and homosexuality in this book and in real life, we should be able to fight for the woman we are or are around- fight for people like Izzy O’Neill and stand up for such injustices. Don’t end up like Izzy feeling like “nothing more than a grainy filter and a pair of tits…a mere sex object”

Rebecca Milne

Laura Steven Press Reviews

'Funny, unapologetic and shameless in the best possible way, this is a YA heroine (and book) that you've never seen before' - Louise O'Neill, award-winning author of Asking for It

'This book will make you laugh out loud, nod in agreement, cringe with recognition, and stand up and cheer. I adored it' - Katherine Webber, author of Wing Jones

'I LOVED this book! A really smart, relevant and switched-on exploration of teen sexuality, gender and slut-shaming' - Katherine Woodfine, bestselling author of The Sinclair's Mysteries


Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9781405288446
Publication date: 08/03/2018
Format: Paperback

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About Laura Steven

Laura Steven is an author, journalist and screenwriter from the northernmost town in England. She has an MA in Creative Writing and works at a non-profit organisation supporting women in the creative arts. Her TV pilot, Clickbait, was a finalist in British Comedy's 2016 Sitcom Mission. The Exact Opposite of Okay is her first book for young adults.

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