Book Review: Imogen, Obviously by Becky Albertalli

I’ve always found Becky Albertalli’s books very hit or miss. Still, she is an author that I immediately gravitate towards when she has a new book out. She writes fun contemporaries that often have a slight emotional edge, and recently I’ve been eating them up. I entered a giveaway on Twitter, hoping to win one of the personalised ARCs, and I won! It’s super rare to find my name on anything, so it’s a pretty fun thing to have. I had a great time with this book, so let’s get into it.

In Imogen, Obviously, we follow high school senior Imogen. She’s a straight ally with queer friends, but when she visits one of her best friends at college for the weekend, she discovers that they all think she’s bisexual and starts questioning things. But Imogen is always surrounded by queerness, so she’d know if she was bi, right?

The thing to bear in mind when picking this book is that this story hasn’t been picked up at random. Becky Albertalli was, unfortunately, the subject of a lot of discourse over her queer books before she came out as bi. Like Imogen, it took her a long time to come to terms with her queerness, and she should have been able to come out in her own time. But trolls wouldn’t allow her that, and it’s not fair. Albertalli is a queer author, but she shouldn’t have had to tell the world that to be able to write about queer teenagers in the respectful way she did.

Obviously, Imogen’s story doesn’t follow Albertalli’s strictly, but you can see where the seeds of it came from. That said, Imogen’s story is very relatable. I’m not bi, but I can’t say I never had similar thoughts about my gender. It would’ve always been obvious that I was genderfluid, wouldn’t it? My wanting to be the boy characters I started to write and relating with nonbinary characters didn’t matter. It was just a fluke, or me exploring as a curious teenager or…something. I wasn’t actually overjoyed to be told I was like a guy. Looking back, it does feel obvious, but to a teenage me, it wasn’t, and I found ways to explain it away. Reading this book and seeing Imogen do the same thing with her sexuality threw me back. It’s something that I imagine more teenagers do than we realise. I think this book could really help those confused people actually see themselves. And hopefully, be able to come to terms with themselves after.

In a book like this, character is very important, and the characters in this book were so interesting. They weren’t all likeable; even Imogen had moments when I was rolling my eyes at her. But that’s fine because it meant that they felt real. Some were lovely, some were horrible, and I was cheering for Imogen to get her happy ending. These teenagers felt realistic, and I could see myself wishing I could’ve befriended them as a teenager. But not because, y’know, I was awkward and still am.

The romance in this was adorable. I loved watching the flirtation between Imogen and Tessa grow. It was sweet and had me laughing out loud at times. The scissors caption was genius and had me literally cackling. I could totally see where that was going from the moment they visited the giant scissor sculpture. Hilarious.

Overall I had a great time with this book. I read it in a single day, and I’ll likely reread it sometime when I need a pick-me-up. Yeah, there are some emotional moments, and there’s definitely a message about not outing people, but in the end, the book still left me feeling all warm inside.

I couldn’t recommend this book more.

5/5 Stars

Title: Imogen, Obviously

Editor: Becky Albertalli

Genre: Contemporary/Romance

Age Range:  Young Adult

Publisher:  HarperCollins Childrens

Release Date: 11/5/23


Amazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones | Bookshop Org

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