this is the best contemporary debut that i have ever read. full stop. this was so hauntingly gorgeous and perfect in every way imaginable, I’m upping my rating to 5⭐
one thing you should know about me, is that chaotic queer friendships have me in a CHOKEHOLD and books that authentically represent minorities have my heart. so basically this was written for me😭
the first thing you should know that it is not a romance. and also it has the kind of ending that does justice to the characters, and their story.
✨ I’M JUST UNHINGEDLY IN LOVE WITH THIS??
this story is the queer coming of age I’ve been spent my whole life yearning for. it’s a warm tight hug in every sense and yes, it did make me tear up 🥺 the MC, ophelia is painfully relatable and there’s so much rose-love ahhhh!! i was utterly obsessed with roses as a child! and also the shakespere appreciation?? i need more, please and thank u.
✨the cULTURAL REPRESENTATION
authentic. if there’s one way i could describe this book, it would be authentic. the cuban-american culture is explored in depth and it doesn’t feel like tokenism. it is a part of the narrative, it’s a part of ophelia’s coming-of-age and i LOVED that the author did put the spotlight on her culture too! while i’m not cuban american, certain lines did stand out to me & made me feel seen. different culture, different context, same feelings.
The same little voice that I hear when I can’t understand something Dad says in Spanish right away and I watch him, slightly tired, stop and repeat himself in English. I feel it when I can’t handle the extra spices he adds to his sopas or in the ají for empanadas from Ollas Amarillas. I feel it in the way my name is spelled with a ph instead of an f, Spanish not sliding over it as easily as Miguel or Rojas.
this HURT in the best way possible.
✨the queer acceptance was simultaneously heartwarming and heartbreaking
as a qpoc it is just so NICE to see other queer characters of colour not only live, but also THRIVE.
‘Maybe I’m bisexual or pansexual. Maybe I’m queer. All I know is that I’m probably—no, definitely—not straight’
this is a love letter to all the people figuring themselves out. it’s a shoutout ‘hey i see you, i hear you, you are valid’ it validates every single queer experience and it is BEAUTIFUL. and the resolution of the ophelia-talia romance?? pure perfection. almost everyone’s queer and their identity is explored in such a thoughtful way ahh ❤
✨messy queer friendship groups
I LOVE THEM SO MUCH I NEED TO MADLY SHRIEK ABOUT THEM FOR MAYBE A DECADE?? i have no words for how wonderfully the dynamics were written. i LIVE for ophelia’s and sammy’s friendship and agatha is so underrated, gosh i love her. there’s also the talia-zaq-weasely is something i need more of!! this friendship is what i call platonic love. they’re wild and messy and yes they argue but they also understand and are THERE for each other and i am weak for them 🥺
✨the side characters have my hEART AND SOUL
the characters are so gorgeously three dimensional and human, even though they make mistakes, it’s hard to not fall for them. they’re all amazingly fleshed out and i didn’t expect for weasely to have such a big role?? but he DID!! his and ophelia’s interactions were the best asdfghjkl
and sammy’s character growth?? everything i ever dreamed of and more! i love how the author gave each and every character a story, even if it was a minor one. agatha wasn’t just a quiet girl, lindsey wasn’t just self absorbed, sammy wasn’t just ophelia’s best friend- and weasely wasn’t just someone who wanted to date lindsey and talia wasn’t just someone ophelia had a crush on.
they all had goals and aspirations and feelings– i LOVE LOVE LOVE how the author wrote each and every one of them.
✨and shoutout to ophelia’s parents who are the literal best
the parents are actually *gasp* involved in their daughter’s life!
i loved her father from page one but i took a while to warm up to her mother- chapter 23 though?? I AM IN TEARS. i adored ophelia’s relationship with her mother- it was complex and intricate and basically AMAZING?? i need more fjsdfksfhkfj
✨ the character growth, oh my gosh
the reason i upped my rating from four to five stars us because of the phenomenal character development. the characters have grown and changed so very much they’re almost unrecognisable but the story acknowledges that who they were before was also a part of them.
ophelia’s character growth was my personal favourite ❤ i loved how her story progressed and how her character matured. and her journey on discovering her sexuality?? 100/10 i am speechless.
Maybe it’s not about whether my crushes work out in the end. Maybe it never was. Maybe it’s about letting myself have them. Letting myself feel love and lust and heartbreak, my own version of magnificent misery in the process, and never changing my heart for anyone’s benefit but my own. I don’t mind being the lover, the one who waits, but I won’t hesitate to love myself with all I’ve got in the meantime.
this book has touched me deeply and i’m wholly in love with it 🙌🏽<3 the writing is also stunning and there are so many quotes i wish i had highlighted!
just, read this book. give it a try and maybe you’ll spend the rest of your life screaming about it’s perfections
One day I’ll be loved the way Mom loves Dad and Wes loves Linds and Talia probably loves Zaq. But I’m loved already, right here, right now. Loved even if I change, even if I’m not the same Ophelia I’ve always been. Loved by people who are willing to try memorizing a song from a Shakespearean play the night before their senior prom in the simple hope that it’ll make me smile, make my not-so-foolish dreams come true. It’s more than enough, and here, right in front of my watering eyes, is undeniable evidence that I am too.