Only Mostly Devastated

Sophie Gonzales

Only Mostly Devastated
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Only Mostly Devastated

Sophie Gonzales

It was the very last Wednesday of August when I realized Disney had been lying to me about Happily Ever Afters. Because, you see, I was four days into mine, and my prince was nowhere to be found. Please don’t lose contact. I need to see you again, he’d said. So why was I here, banging my head against a metaphorical wall, weighing up the pros and cons of sending another message? This wasn’t a big deal. It was just a guy texting another guy. A guy who knew all my biggest secrets, and had Seen. Me. Naked . A guy who’d convinced me he really, really liked me. A guy who’d better have been abducted by goddamn aliens…

 When Ollie meets Will over the 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 short of his fairy-tale ending. A family emergency sees Ollie uprooted and enrolled at a new school across the country - Will’s school - and Ollie finds that the sweet, affectionate and comfortably queer guy he knew from summer isn’t the same one attending Collinswood High. This Will is a class clown, a basketball jock and, well, a bit of a jerk. Ollie isn’t going to pine after a guy who isn’t ready for a relationship.

But as school life repeatedly throws them together, from music class to the lunch table, Ollie finds his resolve weakening. With the noisy drama of their friends as the backdrop - from ambitious Juliette and frosty Lara, to big-hearted Darnell and king-jock Matt - Ollie has a decision to make. The last time he 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. Right?

Review

Ollie and Will met over the summer holidays at a lake in North Carolina. Summer lovin’ happened so fast. After summer break is over, they go their separate ways. Ollie gets ghosted by Will (or perhaps he’s been abducted by aliens) and Ollie’s family decides not to go home to California for his senior year so they can help his sick aunty and her family. When Ollie begins at Collinswood High, he isn’t sure if he should be thrilled or alarmed to see Will. To make matters more complicated, Will is still firmly in the closet.

As Ollie begins his senior year, he navigates school cliques and gets to come out of the closet (again). He discovers Will is more basketball jerk than the sweet guy he met at the lake. While attempting to figure out if they could still have (or want) a relationship in this context, Ollie must ensure he doesn’t inadvertently out his crush and also try to protect his own heart from being trampled again.

Only Mostly Devastated is a sweet, contemporary YA novel that is perfect for fans of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (or the film adaptation, Love, Simon). This queer reimagining of Grease is one I am hopelessly devoted to.


Cindy Morris works as a bookseller at Readings Carlton.

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