I WANT TO LOVE IT BUT I’M STARTING TO HATE IT – Odd One Out by Nic Stone

Review

Odd One OutTITLE: Odd One Out
AUTHOR: Nic Stone

RELEASED: October 18, 2018
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster UK
FORMAT: Ebook

GENRE: YA Contemporary, LGBTQIA+
GOODREADS RATING: 4.15

TRIGGERS: homophobia, unchallenged biphobia

SYNOPSIS
Courtney “Coop” Cooper
Dumped. Again. And normally I wouldn’t mind. But right now, my best friend and source of solace, Jupiter Sanchez, is ignoring me to text some girl.

Rae Evelyn Chin
I assumed “new girl” would be synonymous with “pariah,” but Jupiter and Courtney make me feel like I’m right where I belong. I also want to kiss him. And her. Which is . . . perplexing.

Jupiter Charity-Sanchez
The only thing worse than losing the girl you love to a boy is losing her to your boy. That means losing him, too. I have to make a move. . . .

One story.
Three sides.
No easy answers.

Standaard

At the start of the year, I read Dear Martin by Nic Stone and rated it 4,5 cupcakes so you can say I was quite excited to hear about her new novel. Not to mention there’d be queer characters. I was sold, needed it, requested it and.. by some amazing miracle actually got my hands on an eARC?! I was so read to dive in, stat. Then I actually finished it, was torn and.. the more time passed, the more upset I got with this book so.. are you ready for this? Because this isn’t going to be pretty..

The good

As in Dear Martin, diversity is definitely a huge theme in this book. Where racism is the focus of her previous work, this one is more centered around the queer community – even though I have to at least mention the biracial and black characters in Odd One Out. However, the main theme is definitely questioning yourself, your sexual identity and finding ways to feel comfortable with yourself, your feelings and your values.

Three main characters, three different POV’s leads to me having three people to talk about. The first part of the novel is written from Courtney’s / Coop’s POV. I won’t talk about him just yet since my opinion on him doesn’t really belong in this section.

Side note: I for real hate when people apologize for crying. Like what the hell is there to be sorry about?

The second POV we switch to is Rae, the new girl. I have to say I probably liked her POV best, simply because she felt so.. genuine. Her voice is very unique compared to others I read before. She has a thing with creating her own crosswords and it shows. She uses a lot of words I didn’t know before – and probably won’t remember either – but it definitely added to her voice a lot.
Apart from that, I think the reason I liked her POV best is because she’s trying to figure everything out. Identifying as straight and suddenly having these weird feelings for a girl simply isn’t easy. Sure, she doesn’t make the best decisions but can we really blame her? We all made – or make – stupid decisions in our teenage years and I understood why she made them. Sometimes you’re just not ready to own up to yourself and admit where your head and heart are at. I thought that was shown beautifully in Rae’s POV. I adore books where characters are questioning their queerness so that was a definite plus.

Did you not hear her say no labels fit? If she doesn’t wanna use one, she doesn’t have to.

The third POV is, of course, written in Jupiter’s / Jupe’s voice. I’m still not quite sure about this one. I was torn over it and I hoped it would lessen eventually but.. I’m still torn? In one way, I totally get some of June’s thoughts and views regarding her sexuality and label. A lot of queer people find themselves questioning everything at some point, some still question themselves once in a while. Struggling with our identity? Definitely something we’re good at – at least I know I’m a pro at it. It’s hard coming to terms with a different label than the one you’ve already claimed for yourself, especially if you’re afraid of how your peers will react. So on that account, I could see where Jupe was coming from. 

The bad

But that doesn’t take away the hurt I felt when she, at some point, pretty much disregarded bisexuality as a genuine label. Being bisexual myself, it was hard to overlook and not feel offended by her total lack of acceptance. Throughout the book, she labels herself as a lesbian accepting of any members in the LGBTQIA+-community but the moment it comes down to herself? Nope! Seems like the only labels suddenly in existence are “straight” and “lesbian” and that’s wrong. Hurtful.
Not to mention how she had this whole thing where she questioned if being bisexual means you can or can’t be attracted to members of the trans community. Like.. Do I even need to go into this further?

Back to the first POV of the story – Coop’s. From the get-go, it’s very obvious he’s a typical teenager with raging hormones since the story pretty much starts with him remarking on his best friend’s looks. That, immediately, is where I got itchy. If someone’s your best friend, you.. just.. don’t.. Even if you have the hugest crush on them. Then especially! Feels to me like he should’ve been way past the physical and more focused on the person she is than how she looks. On top of that: he’s very aware of her lesbian identity which, to me, comes across as him not respecting her at all.

I have one last character to.. complain about. A lesbian side character in this story literally saying how she will “not mess with bisexual girls” because plenty of them would leave you for dudes. Like? Really? I honestly felt awful reading that. People leave one another for someone else often; gender has nothing to do with that. To just.. call out bisexual girls in this manner felt absolutely wrong. She wasn’t even corrected. It wasn’t further talked about by the author either! If that would’ve been the case, I could have been okay but now? Nope. I felt attacked and hated it.

Apart from the characters, there are also some other things I want to remark on. First one being the use of asterisks to portray actions[Yes, like “**eyes bulge out of head**” and “**cue loaded pause where..**”] Then we have Coop who tells things to Rae he didn’t ever tell to Jupe. I don’t agree with that at all. How can you tell some huge secret to a person you just met when you can’t even tell it to your best friend, who you’ve known for years? And all of a sudden, Coop and Rae are besties too! It did not make sense in any way. [And I’m not even going to mention how the whole novel would’ve been solved in a couple of chapters if only the characters actually communicated…]

2
I was torn over this book the moment I finished it. You don’t even want to know how long it took me to write this review. Over a week, that’s for sure. I simply wasn’t satisfied since it had to show how torn I was and am about it – I can only hope I succeeded…
If you haven’t made up your mind about whether or not to read this novel yet, maybe you’ll want to check out Destiny’s review. She is, like I am, bisexual and has somewhat the same remarks and some different remarks / views on this novel. [Definitely worth reading since she mentions some things I don’t, but I wanted to stick to my own review without adding things because I read them in someone else’s.]

Do you know of any other books where there’s questioning rep present?
How do you feel about yourself? Have you struggled with your sexual identity?
Was it always obvious what label to put on yourself? Have you changed labels?

Nametag

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17 thoughts on “I WANT TO LOVE IT BUT I’M STARTING TO HATE IT – Odd One Out by Nic Stone

  1. Yeah, I saw this in a bookstore a couple of weeks ago, picked it up, and was immediately turned off by the guy objectifying the hell out of his girl best friend. I was still on the fence about it because… it just feels like one of those books you SHOULD read, but I’m super fucking glad I didn’t buy it now because I’m also bi and unchallenged biphobia, real or fiction, does my fuckin’ head in. Thanks for this review ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can totally imagine myself reacting the exact same way should I’ve picked it up at a bookstore, to be honest. I saw some physical copies last week and I really went “NOPENOPENOPE” the moment I saw them. :’) Even though it hurts because I really wanted to love Nic Stone’s new work, but oh well..
      You’re welcome! ❤

      Like

  2. I know we have discussed this book TO DEATH but I love this review so much. It was so nice when you first messaged me saying you weren’t enjoying it because I was literally like, “thank fuck, it’s not just me!” You make soooo many good points here. More than anything, the treatment of bisexuality bothered me, but also, ew at Coop’s treatment of women at times.

    And thank you for linking to my review! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, discussing a book to death is pretty darn necessary if.. there are issues like the ones in this.. thing.. :’)
      And I WAS SO SCARED it would’ve been me and only me feeling this way?! I was already dreading this review simply because I thought people would bash my head in or throw stones at me because of it. Thank the skies that didn’t happen. :’)
      Yup and yup and yup. I’m still not over that one review I read where someone described Coop as being perfect and respectful and -barf-.

      You’re very welcome. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Same. I loved the synopsis of this one though, which is why I was so eager to read it but.. I definitely didn’t expect it to disappoint me as much as it did.. Especially since I loved Dear Martin so much..

      Like

  3. Thank you for reviewing this book and pointing out the issues that you had with it. I hadn’t made up my mind yet about picking it up, but your perspective on was helpful. I think I’ll go the library route with this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This was a fantastic review, Kathy, I’m glad I waited for it haha 🙂 I think you perfectly expressed your thoughts and I was so glad to hear about all of the issues you had on this book, too. While reading, I have to say that some elements really bothered me, but I couldn’t quite put my finger right on what it was – your review and Destiny’s review, too, which I read earlier on – made it a bit more clear, too, like that sentence with the “do not mess with bisexual girls” got stuck somewhere in my throat and ugh, just, ugh. I’m going to write my quick review and it’s planned for later in the week, I hope you don’t mind me linking to your review to share your point of view, too, because I think it’s so important and well expressed 🙂 I rated this book a bit higher than you did, because in the end I still was entertained by the story and really liked Rae’s POV, but yeah these issues really are too bad :/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Marie!

      I know the feeling. I sometimes struggle with the same thing. Feeling like there’s something wrong, but not being able to pinpoint what is the worst feeling ever and it often helps me as well to read some other reviews and try and figure it out that way.
      Definitely look forward to reading your review! Feel free to link to mine. 🙂

      Hah, each their own rating! I wanted to rate it higher, but the more I reread my review, the more I realized that wouldn’t be right and I’d end up changing my rating anyway, hah. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Thank you! I will 🙂 that’s why I love blogging and reviews so much, too, it gives me so much perspective on stories from different people and I love that 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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