Only Mostly Devastated

Only Mostly Devastated
Age Range
Release Date
March 03, 2020
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Will Tavares is the dream summer fling―he's fun, affectionate, kind―but just when Ollie thinks he's found his Happily Ever After, summer vacation ends and Will stops texting Ollie back. Now Ollie is one prince short of his fairytale ending, and to complicate the fairytale further, a family emergency sees Ollie uprooted and enrolled at a new school across the country. Which he minds a little less when he realizes it's the same school Will goes to...except Ollie finds that the sweet, comfortably queer guy he knew from summer isn't the same one attending Collinswood High. This Will is a class clown, closeted―and, to be honest, a bit of a jerk. Ollie has no intention of pining after a guy who clearly isn't ready for a relationship, especially since this new, bro-y jock version of Will seems to go from hot to cold every other week. But then Will starts "coincidentally" popping up in every area of Ollie's life, from music class to the lunch table, and Ollie finds his resolve weakening. The last time he gave Will his heart, Will handed it back to him trampled and battered. Ollie would have to be an idiot to trust him with it again. Right? Right.

Editor review

1 review
delightful contemporary YA romance
Overall rating
Writing Style
ONLY MOSTLY DEVASTATED is a charming YA contemporary romance that follows Ollie. Ollie had lived in California, until this year when his parents and he went to North Carolina for the summer to help out his aunt, who has terminal cancer. When she is not getting better, they end up deciding to stay for his senior year in North Carolina. Although Ollie is concerned, he is more worried about his aunt, and he wants to be able to help.

As an added perk, the boy he fell in love with over the summer, Will, lives in North Carolina. However, since their last night together- which Ollie thought was completely unforgettable- Will has been ghosting him. Ollie can take the hint, but he's still pretty hurt about it. When he sees Will at his new school, he is once again hurt by Will's dismissal.

What follows is a journey of familial and romantic love that is challenged by circumstance. Will is very much in the closet and worried about what his parents and friends will think. Compared to Grease, it is easy to see the parallels, but this book reaches far deeper than the movie did and gives a much better couple and romance.

What I loved: The book moves quickly, and my favorite parts were about Ollie and how his family comes together to deal with cancer. It was raw, moving, and beautiful, showing both the grief and love. There are also some great side themes about self-confidence, owning who you are (such as Niamh, who will be a gorgeous model- plus-sized), and finding the people who get you (in Ollie's case, musicians). While there are some tough moments about Will and his cold-and-hot reactions, this also felt really believable to me for a teen who is not ready to come out, and I think this will speak to some really well.

While I was reading the book, the Grease parallels were not overwhelming or hitting you over the head- they were subtle, and it made for an even better story.

Final verdict: Heartfelt and charming, ONLY MOSTLY DEVASTATED is a touching and delightful YA contemporary romance. Highly recommend for fans of Nicola Yoon, SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA, and SICK KIDS IN LOVE.
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