Ophelia After All is a book I knew I was going to love. But I don’t think I was quite prepared for how much I was going to be swept away. It’s a tender and heartfelt story about queer questioning, but also about friendship. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
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.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
I am heads over heels in love with Ophelia After All. It’s a story that navigates friendships which seem rock solid, until they aren’t. About all the ways we deny, lie, make mistakes, and utter fragile things which crumble with any weight. While I was prepared to love Ophelia’s queer questioning journey the most, I ended up just unequivocally falling in love with Ophelia. She’s struggling to undo the heteronormativity. Making mistakes in the messy ways we do when the version of ourselves we are disappears.
Marie’s debut is about love and loss. It’s about how coming out can feel like you’re losing a piece of yourself, while also finding another. How there are cracks in our realities and the journey to find the courage to pull it apart at the seams. Ophelia not only confronts her questioning, but also the way things fall apart because of fault lines and tensions, secrets and denials. There are relationships which will weather the storm. Which dig their roots in and preserve, and then there are weeds.
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Throughout Ophelia After All, the characters scream heart. It echoes important questions about labels, about discovering who we are, and making mistakes. Reinforcing themes of invention and love, Ophelia After All is about love and loss. It’s about discovering self-love, self-acceptance and love which scares you. About the loss and grieving process of finding out we aren’t who we thought we are. It’s beautiful and emotional and 100% a must read.