Bibliophile | Sophie Gonzales queer rom-com ‘Only Mostly Devastated’

Only Mostly Devastated
by Sophie Gonzales

“I don’t want this to be over,” he said. “I’ll definitely never forget you,” he said. “Please don’t lose contact. I need to see you again one day,” he said.

It had been seven weeks of bliss, the best summer holiday of seventeen year-old Ollie’s life. Will had seemed too perfect to be true … but that’s maybe because he probably was.

Ollie’s family had been staying beside the lake in North Carolina for the summer break, and Ollie was charged with looking after his young cousins while his parents looked after his sick aunt when Will and he became much more than just friends.

When Ollie’s mother decided the family needed to move so she could continue to look after her sister, Ollie had to leave behind his friends, his school and his band and start a new school. That’s when he discovered that the popular vice-captain of the basketball team at his new school was in fact Will.

Unfortunately Will had been ignoring his texts for the last two weeks and when they eventually bumped into each other, Will shunned him in front of his friends. Ollie wondered how this loud show-off with more than a bit of a superiority complex could possibly be the same person he’d fallen for.

“Someone up there the Eternal Being was smirking down at me from the sky with a handful of popcorn” because the sweet and thoughtful guy he’d just spent summer with turned out to be the antithesis in real life.

At least he still had his love of music and was able to join a band. He was also befriended by Juliette, Niamh and Lara so he at least had companions. The last year of high school is a minefield of self-doubt and Ollie realized that at his Californian high school, he had never had to feel like he was lesser than everyone else because he was gay.

The reader cheers on Ollie, Juliette, Niamh and Lara as they face their demons and move closer to their aspirations, but life isn’t necessarily based on a Hollywood script and it doesn’t seem as if Will will ever embrace his real self. This is something Ollie has to face in order to move on with his life.

This debut YA queer rom-com by Melbourne psychologist Sophie Gonzales is an engaging drama aimed at teenage audience, but like all good stories written with heart and a large amount of humour, it is thoroughly enjoyable for all ages.

Lezly Herbert

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