Only Mostly Devastated is described as Love Simon meets “Cluesless” meets “Grease”. Even though I’ve only seen two of those, I can say that it’s a pretty spot on comparison. If you’ve been searching for a cute contemporary with an emotional punch, then keep reading!
Summer love…gone so fast.
Will Tavares is the dream summer fling―he’s fun, affectionate, kind―but just when Ollie thinks he’s found his Happily Ever After, summer vacation ends and Will stops texting Ollie back. Now Ollie is one prince short of his fairy tale ending, and to complicate the fairy tale further, a family emergency sees Ollie uprooted and enrolled at a new school across the country. Which he minds a little less when he realizes it’s the same school Will goes to…except Ollie finds that the sweet, comfortably queer guy he knew from summer isn’t the same one attending Collinswood High. This Will is a class clown, closeted―and, to be honest, a bit of a jerk.
Ollie has no intention of pining after a guy who clearly isn’t ready for a relationship, especially since this new, bro-y jock version of Will seems to go from hot to cold every other week. But then Will starts “coincidentally” popping up in every area of Ollie’s life, from music class to the lunch table, and Ollie finds his resolve weakening.
The last time he gave Will his heart, Will handed it back to him trampled and battered. Ollie would have to be an idiot to trust him with it again.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
TW: homophobia, fatphobia
Only Mostly Devastated is a queer take on “Grease” tackling coming out to one’s friends, toxic relationships, and grief. Ollie is such a precious character as he deals with a sudden move, new friends, and a crush that goes from hot to cold. He’s a bit adorkable, but I couldn’t help but love how much he loves his family. There was plenty of awkardness and vulnerability which was endearing. But at the same time, there’s discussions of toxic masculinity, family sickness, homophobia, and not being queer publicly.
It transcends everything I would expect of a re-telling of “Grease” and is almost playfully self-reflexive. We love queer re-tellings of basically everything! Retaining that fear of our love revealing truths about us we aren’t ready for publicly, Only Mostly Devastated takes another layer by being queer. Examining the toxic masculinity from the original, this story brings the fear of being revealed to another level. From not being “out” publicly and with our friends, having these pieces of ourselves that are hidden away from our family.
The narrative voice of Only Mostly Devastated is vulnerable, hilarious, and compassionate. I finally got around to listening to this on audio, which was exactly what I needed. This book was a charming contemporary which also was an emotional roller coaster. All of the characters in Only Mostly Devastated were fabulous and I loved getting to know them.