Emily Wibberly and Austin Siegemund-Broka do it again with If I’m Being Honest! I had the chance to see these two at the Ontario Teen Book Fest a few months ago and they were so cute. Not that it really has anything to do with their writing, but I can see how it’s so easy for them to make adorable rom-coms.
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.
This book has everything: relationship issues, both romantic and non-romantic; exploration of self-identity; fun and witty banter; and a multi-layered plot.
The characters in this book are each very unique. It seems like a lot of characters in YA contemporaries are stereotyped or just vague ideas of characters, but these two did a great job of making the main characters and secondary characters seem like fairly realistic people. I say fairly because I never went to school in LA with the children of musicians and actors, so I can’t attest to how realistic these character are.
It was fun seeing Cameron grow into her own skin and actively try to learn from her mistakes. She didn’t go from her reputation as a bitch to a saint; instead, she goes back and forth between being nicer and back to being meaner, which makes sense! People aren’t just good or bad and the authors did a great job exploring this and providing plot points that make Cameron’s attitude change.
I loved how Cameron’s friendships changed and grew. The conflicts that came from these friendship struggles made for good sub-plots and character development. Also, shoutout to the group Rocky Horror viewing, it was a great addition! I recently saw it in theaters for the first time and related to everything they said about it in the book.
I liked the characters, I liked the conflicts, and I really liked the humor and banter. Brendon and Cameron’s texts and conversations were always making me smile and laugh. All the characters clicked so well and it really made the book fly by.
This is a great beach/poolside read! It has lots of humor, funny friendship moments, and a very cute romance. There are some more serious conflicts such as family issues and friendship fallouts that help balance out the lighthearted content. I’d definitely recommend this. Plus, there’s a surprise appearance from out Always Never Yours characters, so if you’ve read that it’s a fun little tidbit 😉