Epically Earnest | Book Review

Thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC. All opinions are my own.

In this delightfully romantic LGBTQ+ comedy-of-errors inspired by Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, a high school senior works up the courage to ask her long-time crush to prom all while deciding if she should look for her bio family.

Jane Grady’s claim to fame is that she was one first viral internet sensations, dubbed #bagbaby—discovered as a one-year-old in an oversized Gucci bag by her adopted father in a Poughkeepsie train station. Now in her senior year of high school, Jane is questioning whether she wants to look for her bio family due to a loving, but deeply misguided push from her best friend Algie, while also navigating an all-consuming crush on his cousin, the beautiful, way-out-of-her-league Gwen Fairfax.

And while Janey’s never thought of herself as the earnest type, she needs to be honest with her parents, Algie, Gwen, but mostly herself if she wants to make her life truly epic. With a wink toward Oscar Wilde’s beloved play, Epically Earnest explores the complexity of identity, the many forms family can take, and the importance of being . . . yourself.

First of all, you don’t need to know the story of The Importance of Being Earnest in order to understand this book. It’s not a direct retelling, so if you have read the play, you’ll see the nods and hints to the original, but it stands on its own with no “bunburying.”

Now, onto the actual book content.

As the summary suggests, the book is half of Janey deciding if she wants to contact her bio relatives and half asking her crush out to prom. I almost wanted more of both storylines? It’s a short book. I will say, as much as I wanted more in some parts, it did overall work for me!

Every character in this book was A Character. They were very quirky and odd, but being set in NYC and inspired by a play where the word “bunbury” is used multiple times, it works. It also helps that there is a lot of heart behind these characters, so even if the dialogue isn’t the most “realistic” for how actual people talk, it doesn’t matter. And because of this, it was one of the funniest books I’ve read this year!

Speaking of characters, I loved Algie, Janey’s best friend! I honestly wanted more of his POV so we could see his love story develop and so we could see a little more of Janey’s crush, since her crush is Algie’s cousin. Those were definitely the parts I wanted to see more of, Algie’s side romantic plot that happened and more from Gwen.

This book is probably more of a 3.5-3.75 star in terms of how I feel about a lot of the elements, but the humor makes this land comfortably as 4 stars.

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