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Guest Post: Six Books to Read with Ophelia After All by Racquel Marie

I have been looking forward to Ophelia After All since it was announced. And then I saw the cover. I wasn’t sure it was possible to fall even further in love, but I did. So when Racquel agreed to do a guest post about books to pair with Ophelia After All, I was obsessed!


Ophelia Rojas knows what she likes: her best friends, Cuban food, rose-gardening, and boys – way too many boys. Her friends and parents make fun of her endless stream of crushes, but Ophelia is a romantic at heart. She couldn’t change, even if she wanted to.

So when she finds herself thinking more about cute, quiet Talia Sanchez than the loss of a perfect prom with her ex-boyfriend, seeds of doubt take root in Ophelia’s firm image of herself. Add to that the impending end of high school and the fracturing of her once-solid friend group, and things are spiraling a little out of control. But the course of love–and sexuality–never did run smooth. As her secrets begin to unravel, Ophelia must make a choice between clinging to the fantasy version of herself she’s always imagined or upending everyone’s expectations to rediscover who she really is, after all.

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Find Ophelia After All on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.

Books to Pair with Ophelia After All

So many favorites here! If I reviewed one of these, I’ll link to my reviews, if not, I’ll link to a summary!

One of my favorite parts about being an avid reader and writer is seeing how the books I like reading compare to the books I like writing. So here are six books that I love and would pair with my own debut, OPHELIA AFTER ALL, because of shared themes, symbolism, or tropes!

Senior Year Shenanigans – OUR WAY BACK TO ALWAYS by Nina Moreno

I adore everything Nina Moreno writes—DON’T DATE ROSA SANTOS is one of my favorite books of all time—but OUR WAY BACK TO ALWAYS is an especially good match for OAA because of their shared exploration of senior year chaos. OUR WAY BACK TO ALWAYS follows estranged childhood best friends, Sam and Lou, who reconnect at the start of their senior year when they find their old bucket list and decide to complete it together. This book wonderfully captures all the ups and downs of senior year—making new friends with your classmates while you still can, stressing over post-grad plans, saying goodbye to this adolescent stage of your life, squeezing every last bit of fun out of the high school experience—while diving in to the specific struggles Sam and Lou are facing with grief and familial expectations.

Found Family Friendships – FIFTEEN HUNDRED MILES FROM THE SUN by Jonny Garza Villa

Some of my favorite scenes to write in OAA were those between Ophelia and her big group of friends, and FIFTEEN HUNDRED MILES FROM THE SUN reminded me how much I love reading those types of scenes too. Similar to OAA, this is a coming out/of age story, following Jules as he long-distance crushes on a boy he meets after accidentally outing himself online. Jules’ harmful relationship with his father means he relies heavily on his found family of best friends for support, all of whom are hilarious, fleshed-out, and loveable additions to the story. While the romance between Jules and his crush is everything, the friendships and focus on platonic love are just as heart-warming.

Queer Prom – YOU SHOULD SEE ME IN A CROWN by Leah Johnson

I’ll never forget when I received an ARC and note from Leah a few months before YOU SHOULD SEE ME IN A CROWN came out in 2020, which she signed “The future of queer (prom) YA is in good hands!”, celebrating that shared aspect of both of our books. Leah’s follows Liz, an introvert who runs for prom queen to win a college scholarship, only to start falling for one of the competing girls. Prom is an amazing backdrop for any teen drama, but something about queer prom stories are just so *chef’s kiss* with this book being evidence of that. Though Liz already knows she’s bi at the start of the book, she has to navigate how public she wants her sexuality to be when she and her crush start hitting it off, while also balancing prom prep, friendship drama, and uncertainty about life after graduation.

Sapphic Romance, In A Non-Romance Book – WE ARE OKAY by Nina LaCour

WE ARE OKAY was groundbreaking for me when I read it in 2017, because it was the first book I’d read featuring a sapphic couple that wasn’t a romance or necessarily about them ending up together. OPHELIA AFTER ALL is similar, as much of the book focuses on Ophelia developing feelings for her classmate, Talia, but the story isn’t about their romance, it’s about the impact this realization, among others in Ophelia’s family and friend group, have on her life. WE ARE OKAY follows Marin over her first winter break at college when her best friend who she hasn’t seen in months comes to visit her. The story weaves together their present struggles as the only people left on campus, the start of their friendship turning romantic, Marin’s messy relationship with her secretive grandfather, and the events that led to Marin running away to college without a proper goodbye. It’s a bittersweet book, but it heals you just as much as it hurts you, something I hope I can hear someone say about my own books someday.

Flower Power – WILD BEAUTY by Anna Marie McLemore

I don’t even remotely share Ophelia’s green thumb, but reading WILD BEAUTY made me desperately wish I could grow flowers like the Nomeolvides women, though their gifts come with the curse of losing anyone they love too deeply. When a mysterious boy who can’t remember his name arrives at their garden estate, Estrella Nomeolvides tries to help him figure out his past, leading to discoveries about her own family and their garden’s history. The floral descriptions and flowery prose in this book should be enough to demand everyone read it instantly, but there are also tragic romances and complex familial relationships to keep you entranced until the very end.


Messy, imperfect teenagers are fascinating protagonists for me to write and read about, with Ben Philippe’s books being textbooks examples of how to craft them. This voicey contemporary follows Norris, who is forced to move from Canada to Texas when his mom changes jobs, as he navigates his new school by distantly categorizing his peers. But when he finds himself befriending and unearthing the layers beneath everyone he’s tried to put in a box, he has to open himself up to real connections and all the complications that come with them. I appreciated how much care was put into rounding out all these messy characters, none more than loveably-flawed Norris, because even when they’re making terrible mistakes, you’re still rooting for them to turn things around.

Find Ophelia After All on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.

About Racquel Marie

Racquel Marie grew up in Southern California where her passion for storytelling of all kinds was encouraged by her friends and big family. She received a BA in English with an emphasis in creative writing and a minor in gender and sexuality studies from the University of California, Irvine. Racquel primarily writes YA contemporaries starring queer Latine characters like herself. When not writing or reading, she loves practicing beauty and special effects makeup, watching and producing YouTube videos, and teaching herself to play ukulele in spite of her extremely long nails. You can learn more about her writing and love of books through her Twitter, @blondewithab00k. Ophelia After All is her first novel.


What is your favorite book pairing?

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