REVIEW | A Girl Called Shameless by Laura Steven

This is a review of a sequel, so there will be spoilers for the first book, The Exact Opposite of Okay, in the below review. To find my review of the first book, please click here. Otherwise, this review will be spoiler-free.

Name: A Girl Called Shameless (The Exact Opposite of Okay #2)
Author: Laura Steven
Genres: YA, Contemporary
Publisher: Electric Monkey, Egmont
Format: UK Paperback
Source: Publisher
Rating: ★★★★★
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Izzy O’Neill: Writer, Activist, World’s Worst Waitress.

It’s been two months since eighteen-year-old Izzy O’Neill was slut-shamed in a national scandal. As well as coming to terms with the fact that thousands of people have seen her foofer – Izzy is juggling high school, writing a screenplay and figuring out what to do next with her life.

When another girl’s nude photos are leaked, Izzy and the Bitches Bite Back team decide to take action. They’re taking the fight all the way to the top … and won’t let anyone bring them down.

It’s time for the shaming to stop.

A book about friendship, feminism and fighting back.

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IMI RECOMMENDS | My Fave Feminist & LGBTQIA+ Books

So it’s my lovely friend Abi’s birthday today and I thought that in honour of her wonderful, fierce feminist and LGBTQIA+ self, I would recommend some of my favourite books that deal with these topics!

Obviously, this is only a small collection and you will have heard of so many more than this, but these are my personal favourites.

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IMI TALKS | The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven

Welcome to the post where Imi gushes about one of her favourite reads of 2017 which releases in NINE DAYS. Now, if you’re new here you may not have heard but there’s this book by the lovely Laura Steven coming out on 8th March with Electric Monkey Books. I was lucky enough to snag an ARC at YALC last summer and absolutely devoured it in a day. Izzy O’Neill has one of the best narrative voices I have ever heard. She’s relatable, hilarious and I wish she was my best friend. For more on this, see my review.

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AUGUST WRAP UP

I’ve done pretty well this August, making my way through quite a few books on my TBR, those I managed to buy/scavenge/win at YALC and all while holidaying in Madeira, enjoying the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, house hunting and actually packing up to move! Check out my August wrap up to see what I managed to devour this month…

 

Because You Love to Hate Me edited by Ameriie ★★★★☆
KEY WORDS: Villains, short stories, fairytales, retellings.

I really enjoyed the concept behind this anthology and the execution was delightful, leading me to find some new favourite authors as well as falling in love again with the writing styles of my faves (hi there, Say Sha and Schwab). Having the stories followed by the booktubers’ prompt and commentary made this a more intriguing read as well as meaning I got to try and guess each prompt as I read the tale. Highly enjoyable.

See my full spoiler-free review here.

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The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven ★★★★☆
KEY WORDS: Feminism, high school, slut shaming, guys are douchebags.

While not being released until March 2018, The Exact Opposite of Okay was exactly what I needed to read in the heat of a summer holiday. It was laugh out loud funny while still tackling important issues of high school bullying, slut shaming and revenge porn. Read this book when it comes out in March. Just read it.

See my full spoiler-free review here.

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Micah Grey series by Laura Lam ★★★★★
KEY WORDS: Intersex, queer, magical, circus, adventure, coming of age, SO SO GOOD.

This series was everything I have ever wanted, but didn’t know it. At this time, I would say that all three novels in the Micah Grey series are up there in my favourite books I’ve read this year. If you love fantasy and adventure, read these books because they made my life infinitesimally better.

See my full spoiler-free review here.

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The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James ★★★☆☆
KEY WORDS: Diary entries, emails, space travel, easy reading.

Easy reading and fast paced leading to a pretty chill day. And it releases today! Happy Release Day to Lauren James – head on down to Waterstones! Worth a read and perfect for younger readers in the YA category.

See my full spoiler-free review here.

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The Treatment by C.L. Taylor ★★★☆☆
KEY WORDS: Mystery, adventure, adolescents vs. government, psychology, brainwashing.

The perfect thriller for younger readers. Intriguing story with great writing, making it a good read for all ages but especially perfect for those a little too young to get stuck into Paula Hawkins and Gillian Flynn just yet. If you’re a fan of these authors but not YA then check out Cally’s adult novels (I’m yet to read them but after reading this, they’re next on my list).

See my full spoiler-free review here.

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The Arsonist by Stephanie Oakes ★★★★★
KEY WORDS: Adventure, thriller, mystery, Berlin Wall, Cold War, friendship, family.

Probably my favourite book of the month. A beautiful stand-alone mystery which follows the lives of three seemingly unrelated people who are thrown together one summer. Molly Mavity, a soon-to-be-orphan whose mother committed suicide and whose father is on death row for commiting arson. Pepper Al-Yusef, a boy failing out of High School who struggles to speak to girls. Ava Dreyman, known as “The Anne Frank of the Cold War”, whose diary and death incited revolution in East Berlin leading to the destruction of the Berlin Wall.

I loved every second of this beautifully written mystery.

See my full spoiler-free review here.

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Prisoner of Ice and Snow by Ruth Lauren ★★★★☆
KEY WORDS: Mystery, adventure, sisterhood.

My first middle grade novel in what feels like forever, but still a very enjoyable read. A lovely little fanatasy that seld-describes as ‘Frozen meets Prison Break’ – Valor is on a mission to save her sister and break her out of the most secure and cruel prison in the land.

See my full spoiler-free review here.

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Wunderkids Part 1: Wildwood Academy by Jaqueline Silvester ★★★★☆
KEY WORDS: Adventure, boarding school, mystery.

An intriguing boarding school adventure which leaves you on a crippling cliffhanger as you wait for the second installment, due to release in March 2018. When Nikka is accepted to Wildwood Academy for Talented Youth she thinks it’s heaven, then things start going wrong.

See my full spoiler-free review here.

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stats.png

Books read: 10
Pages read: 3,728
Approximate words read: 932,000
Books bought: 4
ARCs recieved: 6

NEW
New authors read:
 16 | New series started: 4

FORMATS
Hardbacks read:
 0 | Paperbacks read: 9 | eBooks read: 1

TYPES
Standalones read:
3 | Books within series read: 6 | Anthologies read: 1

GENRES
New Adult: 0 | Young Adult: 9 | Middle Grade: 1
Fantasy: 4 | Sci-Fi: 2 | Thriller: 2 | Contemporary: 1

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What books did you read in August? What was your favourite? Let me know in the comments!

TOP TEN TUESDAY | Back To School Freebie: Ten Books That Should Be on the School Syllabus

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish and I love a good list so here goes!

 

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
(Primary/Secondary/Sixth Form)

I think I will probably end up having Harry Potter on most of the lists I do for this. It has influenced so much of my life that it seems reasonable for it to continually appear. Rowling, through a magical world of wizards, witches and Hogwarts, taught us all the most important life lessons which we will always hold with us – love, friendship, bravery, loyalty – and these fantastic stories should undoubtable be told and taught in schools for the rest of time.

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The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven 
(Secondary)

Laura Steven’s debut novel which is to be released in March 2018 discusses the incredibly important topics of high school bullying, slut shaming and revenge porn. If nothing else, the themes within this book are ones that need to be addressed in schools and, for me, this is the most important release of 2018 which I have read so far.

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Gone series by Michael Grant
(Secondary)

This came to me like a revelation because it’s been years since I read this series but it truly is fantastic. Set in a dystopia where one day all the adults just disappeared and this world is now run by adolescents – it has a similar feel to Lord of the Flies but with mutants thrown into the mix. Basically, it’s the perfect update for the GCSE syllabus if you want a more modern story which young people are more likely to connect with.

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Wing Jones by Katherine Webber
(Secondary)

Another debut novel, this time from Katie Webber, telling the tale of determined Wing Jones who, following a family tragedy, goes out and makes something of herself for the sake of the ones she loves. Heart-warming and inspiring and the perfect addition to English for Years 7-10.

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Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
(Secondary/Sixth Form)

I strongly believe that Laini Taylor is one of the greatest writers of this generation (with the other two also entries on this list) and the beautiful way she crafts worlds, lives and stories should be studied by all. Her metaphors and similes, especially in this fantastic novel, deserve to be on the syllabus.

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The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
(Secondary/Sixth Form)

Narrated by Death, a novel set within the depths of World War II which I wouldn’t be surprised to already find on the syllabus – it just wasn’t when I was still at school. Historical background, while conveying the power of literature, all with a far more interesting narrator than your average GCSE or A Level text.

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Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo
(Secondary/Sixth Form)

Entry number two in the greatest writers of this generation category is Leigh and her incredible spin-off duology in the Grishaverse. Her world-building is easily the best I have encountered and this tale of gangs, magic and mystery is undoubtably a favourite. If it had been on my syllabus, maybe I would have done better in A Level Eng Lit.

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A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
(Secondary/Sixth Form)

Easily the most important book I read during my school years which has stuck with me ever since and I still quote as being the best book I’ve ever read. The Kite Runner was on my A Level syllabus so why can’t this masterpiece be on it too? Following the life of a young Afghan woman through war, loss, life and fate.

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It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
(Secondary/Sixth Form)

I would say this is probably my wild card entry. I am a sucker for a CoHo novel and It Ends With Us is the one that impacted me most. I spent all night sobbing into my pillow until I could compose myself. A heart-breaking story of domestic abuse and the strength required to live through and confront it. It allowed me to question whether I could leave someone in the same situation and that is important for everyone to question.

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A Darker Shade of Magic series by V. E. Schwab
(Secondary/Sixth Form)

The third and final, ‘greatest writer of our generation’ for me goes to the Queen of all things fantasy, Victoria Schwab. Everything she writes deserves to be taught to all and read by all. This particular series is rife with detailed characters, intriguing plots and the most beautifully built worlds – three different Londons to be precise.

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HOLIDAY WRAP UP: A Week in Madiera

The perfect holiday read varies for everyone and in the past I have enjoyed intense thrillers, easy-reading romance, high fantasy series and young adult contemporary from the bliss of a sunbed by the sea. As you can see by the novels I ploughed through on my week-long trip to the island of Madeira, the style and genre changed every day.

 

Because You Love to Hate Me edited by Ameriie ★★★★☆
KEY WORDS: Villains, short stories, fairytales, retellings.

This anthology of villainous tales was a perfect sunbed read, allowing me to read a tale before taking a break to hit the pool or get a drink from the bar. I really enjoyed the concept behind it and the execution was delightful, leading me to find some new favourite authors as well as falling in love again with the writing styles of my faves (hi there, Say Sha and Schwab).

See my full spoiler-free review here.

GOODREADS | BUY

The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven ★★★★☆
KEY WORDS: Feminism, high school, slut shaming, guys are douchebags.

While not being released until March 2018, The Exact Opposite of Okay was exactly what I needed to read in the heat of a summer holiday. It was laugh out loud funny while still tackling important issues of high school bullying, slut shaming and revenge porn. Read this book when it comes out in March or maybe even read it on your own sunbed next summer, but it’s worth reading.

See my full spoiler-free review here.

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Micah Grey series by Laura Lam ★★★★★
KEY WORDS: Intersex, queer, magical, circus, adventure, coming of age, SO SO GOOD.

A few years ago I spent a seven day holiday reading three different fantasy series, Throne of Glass (Sarah J Maas), Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Laini Taylor) and Angelfall (Susan Ee) and that was a lot to handle in terms of world jumping and a lot of books. This time, I conquered just one series and it was everything I wanted. At this time, I would say that all three novels in the Micah Grey series are up there in my favourite books I’ve read this year. Whether you read them on holiday or from the comfort of your own home by the fire, read these books because they made my life infinitesimally better.

See my full spoiler-free review here.

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The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James ★★★☆☆
KEY WORDS: Diary entries, emails, space travel, easy reading.

Along with The Exact Opposite of Okay, this novel was probably the best format for sunbed perfection. Easy reading and fast paced leading to a pretty chill day. I, however, did not read this on a sunbed, instead I read it in the four hours from leaving my hotel to half way through my flight home. If filled the time well and I enjoyed the story. Worth a read upon it’s release in September and perfect for younger readers in the YA category.

See my full spoiler-free review here.

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REVIEW: The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven

TEOOOName: The Exact Opposite of Okay
Authors: Laura Steven
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Format: Uncorrected Proof (ARC) Paperback
Source: Electric Monkey Books at YALC
Publication Date: 8th March 2018
Rating: ★★★★☆
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Izzy O’Neill is an aspiring comic, an impoverished orphan, and a Slut Extraordinaire. Or at least, that’s what the malicious website flying round the school says. Izzy can try all she wants to laugh it off – after all, her sex life, her terms – but when pictures emerge of her doing the dirty with a politician’s son, her life suddenly becomes the centre of a national scandal. Izzy’s never been ashamed of herself before, and she’s not going to start now. But keeping her head up will take everything she has…

KEY WORDS: Feminism, high school, slut shaming, guys are douchebags.

*I was given this ARC at YALC by the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

The first think I need to emphasise if how fucking important this book is. You need to read it. I don’t care who you are – your age, gender, sexuality, profession are completely unimportant. If you are alive right now, experiencing the world as we live it today, you must read this book.

We’ve come a long way since Hester Prynne pinned a scarlet letter on her clothes and yet, even today the concept of slut-shaming is still incredibly prevalent in our culture. Women are not allowed to be as sexually active, experimental and carefree in the same way as men due to the constant fear of being hated, reviled and abused by their peers of either gender. It’s 2017 for fuck’s sake, we are not in Victorian times offended by the skin around a woman’s ankles. Calm the hell down.

Izzy O’Neill’s story brings to light the harmful bully circles within high schools, the horrifying words of peers when slut-shaming and also the atrocious ideas and behaviour behind friend-zoning and Nice Guy Privilege. It gets better… all this she does with the best sense of humour and Laura Steven portrays this through raucously hilarious commentary from the protagonist.

The novel is written through blog posts, told first person at the time of the incidents, but then copy and pasted into a novel manuscript with present time comments from ‘Future Izzy’. Honestly, the idea of contemporary YA written in texts or blogs or diaries make me gag a little because it reminds me of being 12 and reading The Princess Diaries and Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging but as a 22 year old university graduate who doesn’t often read contemporary YA, this book was everything to me. Format be damned, it was the perfect way to portray Izzy’s inner turmoil at the time and then ‘Future Izzy’ looking back on what had happened in her good humoured, comedienne nature.

I honestly believe that this book should be on school syllabuses. We talk so much about how we need to educate people on issues like this involving revenge porn, slut shaming and the unfair treatment of sexually active teenage girls in comparison to teenage boys. This book does that. Laura addresses this issue with a head on, first person account of someone going through this. If a 16 year old boy reads this and doesn’t think twice about sharing nudes, calling that girl he takes maths with a slut or getting angry when his female best friend doesn’t want to shag him, then I will jump off the balcony of my hotel room.

Thank you, Laura. I wish I had read this when I was in school. Maybe my adolescent years wouldn’t have been so tough.

CURRENTLY READING: The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven

Izzy O’Neill is an aspiring comic, an impoverished orphan, and a Slut Extraordinaire. Or at least, that’s what the malicious website flying round the school says. Izzy can try all she wants to laugh it off – after all, her sex life, her terms – but when pictures emerge of her doing the dirty with a politician’s son, her life suddenly becomes the centre of a national scandal. Izzy’s never been ashamed of herself before, and she’s not going to start now. But keeping her head up will take everything she has…

GOODREADS