Our Own Private Universe // I Didn’t Love It But It’s A Good Book

22 February 2017

Published: 9th February 2017
Source: Netgalley
Genre: LGBTQ, Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
My Rating:
Fifteen-year-old Aki Simon has a theory.

And it’s mostly about sex.

No, it isn’t that kind of theory. Aki already knows she’s bisexual–-even if, until now, it’s mostly been in the hypothetical sense.

Aki’s theory is that she’s only got one shot at living an interesting life–-and that means she’s got to stop sitting around and thinking so much. It’s time for her to actually do something. Or at least try.

So when Aki and her friend Lori set off on a trip to a small Mexican town for the summer, and Aki meets Christa–-slightly-older, far-more-experienced–-it seems her theory is prime for the testing.

But something tells her its not going to be that easy…
Okay, I want to begin by saying that I completely get why people like Robin Talley. This book was a great LGBTQ novel and I really enjoyed a lot of the elements of it. I just couldn’t get into it, I felt a disconnection as this was obviously intended for a younger audience than me. The struggles of Aki and Christa were unrelatable to me because they were young and struggling to accept who they are and figure out how to fit into themselves and their own identity. I think this would be a great book for teens who are in that stage of life, but I couldn’t get into that. I wanted to make that clear before you read my review. I will cover the positives but then may address some of the negatives.

Now, one of the things which are done well in this book are the characters. They feel genuine and I loved that fact. I really enjoyed that Ali wasn't shy but instead hesitant in social situations and one who observes before taking part. She was quite an introspective character thinking about the consequences of her actions. She was the perfect character to follow as it’s easy to like her. Sure, she lies to a girl she likes because she is young and stupid and she falls out with a friend because of reasons and she is a bit too obsessed in her new relationship to the detriment of other things, but who doesn’t get like that in their first relationship?

I also liked the fact this book made it ok not to know where you’re going in life or who you are in yourself. It addressed the fact that sexuality can be quite fluid and what it meant to be bisexual. I feel like bisexuality is barely ever addressed in books. It was interesting to see Aki deal with her sexuality when she hadn’t been in a relationship with anyone. It was interesting to see her discover who she is and grow with Christa discovering who she is. I loved the journey of self-discovery which went on. Not just with Aki, but with Christa as well as she learnt to be okay with who she is and allow others to know her.

Also, I really enjoyed the fact that this was set at a church retreat where the children were looking at platforms on things like gay marriage, war, healthcare, foreign aid and lots of other things. I feel like religion is frequently used as a negative thing. Frequently it is portrayed as something which is against people’s differences and doesn’t allow change so to have them debating gay marriage and supporting it was amazing! I may not be religious myself but I like seeing positive representation in fiction.

In the end, I didn’t connect with the book due to the age of the characters and their struggles, but I think it was a great book with good representation which addresses good issues. I want to be able to recommend it to teens and say this is a great book to read, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped.

Have you read a book which you know is good but you didn’t enjoy lately? And what’s your favourite Robin Talley book?
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