SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA meets CLUELESS in this boy-meets-boy spin on Grease
Summer love…gone so fast.
Ollie and Will were meant to be a summer fling—casual, fun, and done. But when Ollie’s aunt’s health takes a turn for the worse and his family decides to stay in North Carolina to take care of her, Ollie lets himself hope this fling can grow to something more. Dreams that are crushed when he sees Will at a school party and finds that the sweet and affectionate (and comfortably queer) guy he knew from summer isn’t the same one attending Collinswood High.
Will is more than a little shocked to see Ollie the evening of that first day of school. While his summer was spent being very much himself, back at school he’s simply known as one of the varsity basketball guys. Now Will is faced with the biggest challenge of his life: follow his heart and risk his friendships, or stay firmly in the closet and lose what he loves most.
Ollie Di Fiore is happy and secure in his sexuality. As his favourite Aunt Linda points out he has a supportive family, great friends, and a wonderful school. Ollie doesn’t even know how easy his coming out was compared to other people’s. He and his family spend their summer at a lake in North Carolina, and this is where he meets and falls in love with Will- ‘sweet, thoughtful, and respectful’ Will. Then suddenly Will starts ignoring Ollie’s texts and it’s clear whatever undefined relationship they had is over.
Aunt Linda’s health gets worse, and she can definitely do with her family support and Ollie’s babysitting while she is doing her chemotherapy. Ollie’s parents decide to move to North Carolina for a year and Ollie has to start a new school. Daunting as it is, it has its advantages. He can make new friends, or enemies, he can be anything he wants to be– self-assured, confident, relaxed. When he meets cool and super-friendly Juliette, Lara, and Niamh, Ollie quickly finds himself sharing confidences with them, including the story of his summer fling, only to find out that they do know Will better than he could have imagined, because Will is the vice-captain of their school basketball team.
A happy coincidence? More likely a recipe for heartbreak when you take into consideration that Will isn’t out and even worse likes to share a homophobic joke or two with his jock friends. And yes, he keeps ignoring Ollie, until one afternoon he drags Ollie into a closet to have a face-to-face talk to clear the things out.
I really liked lovely, considerate, thoughtful Ollie. The situation he is in is actually very relatable, if you’ve ever been in love with somebody who needs to work their feelings out at their own pace or anybody who was somehow unavailable. It is easy to get blinded by heartbreak, embarrassment, or anger, and sometimes it is healthier to walk away. Self-respect is very important and I really liked the way Ollie stood up for himself without disregarding other people’s feelings.
Ollie goes through extremely difficult time in this book, realising his mortality, and looking at the world with a different pair of eyes and seeing everything on a different scale. At the end of the day he is right- we need to cherish people around us because we might not have much time with them, which doesn’t cancel our happy, loving experiences.
Entertaining, moving, and even heart-breaking at times, Only Mostly Devastated is a sweet story with interesting characters and relatable emotional dilemmas.
Thank you to Edelweiss and Wednesday Books for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.
- Have you read Only Mostly Devastated or is it on your tbr?
- Do you like Grease? What is the secret of its enduring popularity?