I received an advanced listening copy from NetGalley. All my opinions are my own.
A teen girl navigates friendship drama, the end of high school, and discovering her queerness in Ophelia After All, a hilarious and heartfelt contemporary YA debut by author Racquel Marie.
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.
Every year, there are a couple of very hyped books that I am therefore worried to read because I’m afraid the hype is too much and I’ll be disappointed.
This was one of those very hyped books, but let me reassure you, I was definitely not disappointed by this book!
This book about Ophelia, who thinks she knows who she is – boy-crazy, flower obsessed, Ophelia – until she suddenly grows closer with Talia, and isn’t sure how to process the fact that she might be, possibly, falling for a girl this time.
Ophelia such a relatable character. From the little things that I remembered doing in school, to her overarching theme throughout the book of having to accept that you aren’t set in stone as a teenager, that you have so much more life left to live and you will probably change and that’s okay.
I don’t usually read books that can firmly be put in the “questioning representation” category, and so for my first book, I loved it! Coming out to yourself isn’t a straight line, and this book definitely shows that. And speaking of “Q” words, I loved that the word “queer” is discussed, and Ophelia has a tiny little arc with her thoughts on queer as a label.
The friend group is one of the best I’ve read in a YA contemporary in a long time. I want more of them all. Like, you know how capital-R Romance books follow a whole group of friends/family? I want that kind of series with Ophelia. They don’t have to be romance books, as Ophelia’s isn’t, I just want to experience this friend group more. Wes was my favorite, providing us with the true “it’s always the quiet ones” representation I didn’t know I was craving!
I do recommend the audiobook for all fans of audiobooks! There were points where I was confused by who was speaking or whether it was dialogue or inner thoughts, but overall the narrator did a great job!
I rated this book 4.5 stars! This was an amazing debut! If you don’t yet have this book on your TBR and enjoy queer YA, then fix that right now!