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 across the country — Will’s school — where 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, 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 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.
Genre(s): YA, Contemporary, Romance
Published by Wednesday Books on March 3, 2020
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Representation: (click to show)
gay MC, (closeted) bi/questioning Venezuelan love interest, plus-size secondary character with PCOS, bi secondary character
Content warnings: (click to show)
terminally ill secondary character, secondary character death, (unintentional) outing, bullying, fat-shaming, possibly toxic friendships, queerphobia [actively challenged], emotional manipulation/borderline gaslighting, slut-shaming [actively challenged], bi erasure [actively challenged]
I received a review copy of this book through Netgalley; all opinions are my own and honest.
Here walks Ollie Di Fiore. Master of his feelings, expert detacher, only mostly devastated. Now there was something to put on my tombstone.
Do we still call characters cinnamon rolls? Because Ollie is the epitome of one. Despite the requisite teenage sarcasm and some cynicism, he’s a fiercely loyal and supportive friend, a patient and helpful big cousin/nephew, and he makes the dorkiest jokes. He stands up for those he cares about, as well as himself; clearly he believes that people deserve happiness and to be treated with respect, and it’s a belief he backs up with action. Perhaps most importantly, he acknowledges and actively tries to improve his shortcomings.
In fact, all of the characters are incredibly well-written. Each member of Ollie’s social circle has distinct ambitions and personality, though even the minor characters are wholly believable teenagers, representing the best, worst, and in-between aspects of their age group: gossiping, or spouting queerphobic vitriol, or talking back to teachers. We get to see some fantastic growth of individual characters and of their relationships, not just the romance, which I loved.
Although I wouldn’t call the plot unique (just look at the marketing: Simon vs and Clueless and Grease), it’s engaging. It was easy not only to follow but to connect emotionally with each scene; I found myself tearing up more than once and laughing out loud more times than I could count.
Conversion: 13.3 / 15 = 4.5 stars
Prose: 9 / 10
Characters & Relationships: 9 / 10
Emotional Impact: 9 / 10
Development/Flow: 10 / 10
Setting: 7 / 10
Diversity & Social Themes: 5 / 5
Intellectual Engagement: 4 / 5
Originality/Trope Execution: 5 / 5