My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: April 2019
Publisher: Viking BFYR
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Romance, Retelling, Contemporary, High School, Drama
This is a contemporary retelling of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew that is both a comedy and a tragedy. It’s also everything I wanted it to be and so much more than this duo’s previous release – Always Never Yours. I was recently told that I am brutally honest, a statement I agree with and probably the main reason why I connected so well and so instantly with the heroine of this novel, Cameron Bright, a girl who says what she thinks 24/7.
But brutal honesty in general can offend and hurt those who prefer not to have the truth about their own weaknesses and mistakes thrown at their faces. So when Cameron confesses her honest feelings about Andrew to him, he rejects her on the grounds that she is… mean. In order to capture Andrew’s heart, she decides to sweeten herself up and right wrongs. Become someone else, basically.
It is almost as memorable as the movie She’s the Man starring Amanda Bynes, a childhood favourite of mine. It’s entertaining, surprising, relatable as well as a little frustrating and saddening at times. Cameron Bright and I are basically the same person, except I am both confident and shy, outspoken and quiet, depending on the situation. But I was like her once: I didn’t care about offending other people with my words. Now I am more conscious about the things I say and to whom I say them. Some people need tough love and brutal advice and can take it while others are more sensitive and by being honest with them you only end up alienating them.
I agree with the message of this story: That it’s important to be yourself even if other people want you to be more like everybody else. Even if few people understand you. Sometimes I make friends, only to drive them away with my unabashed honesty. And it’s sad. But some people appreciate my personality and those I do not drive away. You can’t connect with everyone so why bother trying to be who they want you to? Be yourself and form bonds with those who make you feel comfortable being yourself.
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