Book Reviews

Book Review: Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales

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Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales
Image via Goodreads

Genre: Young Adult, LGBTQIAP+ Romance, Contemporary Romance
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: Will Tavares is the dream summer fling ― he’s fun, affectionate, kind ― but just when Ollie thinks he’s found his Happily Ever After, summer vacation ends and Will stops texting Ollie back. Now Ollie is one prince short of his fairy tale ending, and to complicate the fairy tale further, a family emergency sees Ollie uprooted and enrolled at a new school across the country. Which he minds a little less when he realizes it’s the same school Will goes to… except Ollie finds that the sweet, 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, especially since this new, bro-y jock version of Will seems to go from hot to cold every other week. But then Will starts “coincidentally” popping up in every area of Ollie’s life, from music class to the lunch table, and 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.

Right? Right.


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Only Mostly Devastated was everything! Soul-stirring and fun, the thrill and anguish of first love, the desire to fit in and be your true self. I loved this story so much.

I was highly invested in Ollie’s story. His growth throughout was riveting during the best and worst of times. He’s dealt a curve ball having to remain in North Carolina during his senior year of high school, adapting to a new social environment, his aunt’s declining health due to cancer, and attending the same school as his summer love. But I like how Ollie tries to rise to the occasion, keep calm and carry one, i.e. only mostly devastated.

Ollie’s character makes me smile, his self-awareness great to see. His internal thoughts are hysterical and his personality makes you instantly want to be his best friend forever. I love his passion for music and adore the nickname one of his new friends gives him, Ollie-oop.

Ollie and Will’s relationship is like a catch-22. One the one hand, Will isn’t out and isn’t ready for people to know, deserving to take as long as he needs to because there’s no time limit. On the other hand, Ollie can’t help feeling dejected and disappointed by Will’s behavior even though Ollie understands and empathizes with the reasons behind it.

Clearly, the boys still have strong feelings for each other. But all the teen angst and drama, societal and family pressures, and rage-inducing homophobic remarks/”jokes” don’t help things. It creates a lot of tense, frustrating, and disheartening situations and complicated feelings. More than once I wondered if there would be an HEA/HFN for anyone.

Sometimes I didn’t like Will and I still don’t fully see what made him so exceptionally special to Ollie (and occasionally vice versa). I understand why Will did/said the things he did. I worried if he’d even make it through the year.  Will is a good person. He wants what any of us want: to be accepted. He fears the repercussions of coming out and letting down those he cares about or their idea of him. And those fears are valid.

I think I needed more from those glimpses of the past summer. They were sweet and cute, but too brief. I wish there’d been a few chapters in Will’s point of view because I wanted to know more about him, his thoughts, and feelings. Towards the end I started viewing him more favorably and liked how his storyline ended.

This story had an ideal number of pages. Short (under 300) but you still got a full story with a lot of depth and great characterization and development. Nothing seemed to drag and every scene made an impact.

Only Mostly Devastated was better than I could’ve ever imagined. Why did it take me so long to get to reading this?! I loved the nostalgic but more modern Grease vibes in the beginning and the direction the story took off from there. I loved Ollie-oop, I loved the plot, the writing, how the author tackled various issues like heteronormativity, and the ending made my heart deliriously happy. There’s so much to talk about and reflect upon.

Only Mostly Devastated was an enjoyable and emotional experience reading this book and highly recommend it to everyone.

CW: homophobia

One reply on “Book Review: Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales”

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