Only Mostly Devastated is a super cute, Grease inspiring LGBTIA romance that was the exact light-hearted warm read I was looking for. This modern take of one of my favourite movies ever was done really well. It definitely has Grease vibes and elements but it’s not a direct play for play which keeps it interesting and not super predictable.
“And life was too short to play chicken with something as important as the person you loved.”
I read this book for my Popsugar challenge prompt “recommended by your favourite blog”. It was reviewed by Nen and Jen whose review had me putting it on my TBR. You can check out my Popsugar progress here.
Will and Ollie meet over the summer and have a whirlwind fling, the first time Will has let himself be with a man. Everything is great and going well, but with the summer coming to and end and Ollie going back home it looks like a fling is all it will get to be. But in a bittersweet development, Ollie’s family stays in town as his Aunt suffers through cancer and Ollie finds himself at the same school as Will.
When Ollie and Will see each other again things aren’t the same, as deeply closeted ‘cool kid’ Will brushes Ollie off, he is left hurt, confused and left to fend for himself at his new school.
Ollie is a great character, super friendly and caring, he goes out of his way for both the people he loves and the people he’s just meeting if he sees they need help or support. He takes a lot of shit from some people but doesn’t get whiny or annoying, rather finding opportunities to see the best in people.
Will is also super cute and going through different struggles, unlike Ollie, his family and friends are all doing great and on the outside life seems fine. It’s on the inside that Will is hurting, struggling to come to terms with his sexuality, that he had shoved in a box and closed until Ollie helped him open it. It’s a heart warming story to read both these beautiful boys struggle and yet help each other through in true coming-of-age goodness.
“Maybe out Happily Ever After hadn’t worked on the first shot. And maybe Happily Ever Afters weren’t a singular event. Maybe they were something you had to work at, build, and never give up on, as long as they were something you still wanted.”
The side characters in this novel were also great, they had their own stuff going on that we got glimpses into and it gave the high school story more layers. These groups of friends are reminiscent of the pink ladies and t-birds but are all dealing with very different issues and aren’t a copy and paste of the Grease dramas. Each one shows a different challenge that young adults face and whilst they are probably more insightful and understanding than your normal teens, in a book setting I thought they really worked well together.
“It’ll get easier. That’s the beautiful thing about the universe. It puts you through trials, but it never gives you anything you can’t handle. We grow from these things.”
I felt this novel was well paced and pretty realistic, I didn’t have any contrived drama shoved in my face but rather real issues that resolved in realistic, messy ways. It made me nostalgic for high school, even though the American high school dynamic seems wildly different to what it’s like in Australia.
I’d recommend this one if you like Simon VS the Homo Sapiens Agenda or anything like that. It was a fun high school drama that tackled some real issues but was still packed with smiles and sweet moments.