Title: If I’m Being Honest
Author: Emily Wibberley, Austin Siegemund-Broka
Release Date: April 23rd 2019
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Retelling
Goodreads Rating: 4.30 (of 112 ratings)
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High school senior Cameron Bright’s reputation can be summed up in one word: bitch. It’s no surprise she’s queen bee at her private L.A. high school—she’s beautiful, talented, and notorious for her cutting and brutal honesty. So when she puts her foot in her mouth in front of her crush, Andrew, she fears she may have lost him for good.
In an attempt to win him over, Cameron resolves to “tame” herself, much like Katherine in Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. First, she’ll have to make amends with those she’s wronged, which leads her to Brendan, the guy she labelled with an unfortunate nickname back in the sixth grade. At first, Brendan isn’t all that receptive to Cameron’s ploy. But slowly, he warms up to her when they connect over the computer game he’s developing. Now if only Andrew would notice…
But the closer Cameron gets to Brendan, the more she sees he appreciates her personality—honesty and all—and wonders if she’s compromising who she is for the guy she doesn’t even want.
Disclaimer: I received this finished copy courtesy of Penguin Teen for being a part of the blog tour. I am grateful for the opportunity to review an ARC for my readers, but this will not influence my final rating. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and based solely on the book.
I can easily see why this author duo is quickly become a major name in the YA contemporaries’ world. I had saw a lot of great reviews for Always Never Yours, which I had been pumped to read, and now I’m totally scooching that book further up my TBR stat.
Cameron Bright is such a fascinating, complex, and layered heroine. She’s not the typical YA heroine. She doesn’t say what’s she supposed to say, she lashes out when she’s hurt/angry, and more. When she majorly puts her foot in her mouth, she decides she wants to tame her “bitchy” ways just like in Shakespeare’s play, The Taming of the Shrew. She might be a bit offputting to some readers at first, but omigosh, her character arc is SO AMAZING. She has such a mental and emotional journey throughout the story filled with self-discovery, personality, humor, and more that I’m over here screeching. Seriously, the authors did such a fantastic job at making a realistic, dynamic heroine that I was so in deep with and rooting so hard for. Ugh, I feel SO many feels for her and what she goes through with her mom and her dad. I AM SCREAMING.
The other side characters were so fantastic too. I loved so many of them. Brendan is a dolllllllllll, and omg, I think I fell a bit in love with him too??? Ugh, such a dreamboat in a shiny gold speedo…which, um, totally fits in with the story. I swear. Paige was a fun friend as well, and Andrew, Elle, Morgan, and more were intriguing pieces to this puzzle as well. Plus add in the complex relationships of Cameron and her mom and her dad and you have so much distinct personalities with such a robust, intriguing cast. (Omg, my excitement for this novel is bringing out the fancy words. who AM i?)
Also, like THIS IS SO REAL?? Cameron messes up – like, a LOT. She’s brash and brutally honest and when she’s hurt, she lashes out. It’s such a human thing to do, and her reactions along with those that she hurts’ reactions were so just true to how it would be in real life. Sometimes books can paint on rosy glasses on situations, but the authors made sure to brilliantly point out over and over that saying you’re sorry doesn’t just solve everything with a pretty little hot pink bow. (hot pink was needed because this cover is like part of my forever aesthetic with pretty pink so it needed to be acknowledged)
And the writing??? Idk how Wibberley and Siegemund-Broka do it, but I could NOT tell that two people wrote this book. They are peak mind meld, and this book was fantastically written. So so easy to read, and it gets so fast paced that I was just demolishing this book so fast.
The romance was a lot a lot of heart eyes. SO many heart eyes. Ugh, just so cute together. I do think there was a certain l-word that was dropped WAY too quickly, but it didn’t deter me from vibing all the vibes and feeling alllllllllllll the feels.
There are a few things that did keep me from giving it a full five crowns. The one thing up above was one part, and there were a few other little things. It got a bit too long at parts – it’s almost a 400 page contemporary, so it did get a tiny bit too much in parts. Overall, though, it was such a brilliant read, and it’s full of heart, feels, realism, and so much moreeeeeeeee. I so so recommend getting this on your TBRs if you’re looking for a refreshing, fun, adorable, feely read that is perfect for summer!
rating: 4 crowns and an Ariel rating
representation: black side character/love interest
content warnings: n/a
What do you think? Let’s discuss in the comments below!
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