Thanks to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: March 3rd, 2020
Synopsis: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda meets Clueless, inspired by Grease.
When Ollie meets his dream guy, Will, over summer break, he thinks he’s found his Happily Ever After. But once summer’s ended, Will stops texting him back, and Ollie finds himself one prince short of a fairytale ending. To complicate the fairytale further, a family emergency sees Ollie uprooted and enrolled at a new school—Will’s school—where Ollie finds that the sweet, affectionate and comfortably queer he knew from summer, isn’t the same one attending Collinswood High. This Will is a class clown, closeted—and to be honest, a bit of a jerk.
Ollie has no intention of pining after a guy who clearly isn’t ready for a relationship. But as Will starts ‘coincidentally’ popping up in every area of Ollie’s life, from music class, to the lunch table, Ollie finds his resolve weakening.
The last time Ollie gave Will his heart, Will handed it back to him, trampled and battered. Ollie would have to be an idiot to trust him with it again.
Only Mostly Devastated is an adorable read that as advertised combines elements of Grease, Clueless and Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (Love Simon was the film adaptation.) When I first began this I was a little worried that it would be too derivative, especially of Grease, but I’m very happy that while similar to the Sandy, Danny, the Pink Ladies, Sophie Gonzales does a fantastic job having her characters stand out on their own. Ollie, who has been out since he was thirteen, and received acceptance from his family and friends, is understandably hurt and bewildered when Will, who hasn’t come out, is reluctant to acknowledge their relationship. Their actions, and feelings are both understandable and relatable. The other characters: Juliette, Lara, and Niamh who form this modern day incarnation of the Pink Ladies are much more diverse and complex than their predecessors. I especially loved Lara (Rizzo), who initially comes off as a callous you-know-what, but the more you find out about her, the more you can’t help but love her. As much as I loved Ollie’s and Will’s rocky romance, the eventual friendship between Lara and Ollie also captured my heart.
The only reason why I’m not giving giving this a full 5 stars is because a few of the secondary characters needed some development but instead they came across as rather pointless. While there are some touching scenes with Ollie and his ailing aunt, and some humorous ones with his young cousins, I wish I had a better sense of his relationship with his parents. They’re obviously close and supportive, but we’re told this rather than shown this. At the end of the book I really knew nothing more about them and their relationship with their son than I did in the beginning. Overall though, Only Mostly Devastated is a wonderful novel that deals with serious issues like the death of a loved one, homophobia, and fat-shaming, in a thoughtful manner, and balances these with sweet humor. It’s a book I’d recommend to YAs and adults who are looking for a cute fun read that will make them smile.