Thank you so much to the publishers, Macmillan, for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
Ophelia Rojas knows what she likes: her best friends, Cuban food, rose-gardening, and boys – way too many boys. Her friends and parents make fun of her endless stream of crushes, but Ophelia is a romantic at heart. She couldn’t change, even if she wanted to.
So when she finds herself thinking more about cute, quiet Talia Sanchez than the loss of a perfect prom with her ex-boyfriend, seeds of doubt take root in Ophelia’s firm image of herself. Add to that the impending end of high school and the fracturing of her once-solid friend group, and things are spiraling a little out of control.
After seeing Ophelia After All all over Twitter and TikTok this past year, I knew I had to give it a read to see what I thought myself. This coming-of-age story is compelling and lovely to read. It may not have been the cute and wholesome read I was expecting but I still thoroughly enjoyed it.
Ophelia Rojas is a Cuban-American teen known for her green thumb and crushing on cute boys. We follow Ophelia in her last year of high school whilst she deals with drama changing the dynamics of her friendship group. Also, the possibility she is not solely attracted to boys. Cute and shy Talia, has caught Ophelia’s eye. Whilst Ophelia tries to fight her feelings, fearing what they may mean, she wonders how her friends and family will react to Ophelia no longer being the ‘boy crazy’ girl she has always been.
I enjoyed reading Ophelia’s journey of self-discovery and how she comes to terms with her sexuality. I’m sure this will resonate with so many readers and they will feel seen thanks to this. I liked that the author does not make Ophelia come to terms with her sexuality straight away. We see the journey she goes on to discover this and it was lovely.
The side characters in this book are interesting and well-written. The ‘unlikeable’ characters were just that and I immediately had feelings about them. I adored some characters too and I’m sure other readers will as well. I just wish that there was a little bit less focus on the fights between Ophelia and her friends and more on family and the thoughts and feelings Ophelia is having. There are a number of things that would have easily been sorted with better communication. I get that this adds drama to the story, I’d just prefer a little less.
The compelling discussions around Ophelia’s dual heritage and her struggle to ‘fit’ into to society were my favourite parts of the book. It was interesting to see how her thoughts surrounding this change throughout the book and why they do change.
I will certainly be picking up more books by the author. Their writing kept me gripped and the story kept me entertained. I’m looking forward to seeing what else they write in the future. I’m sure this book will resonate with a lot of people. It may have a few flaws but I know so many people will adore this book.
Overall, I would recommend this book to those who are a little unsure of themselves and their sexuality. It is an excellent coming-of-age book that so many people will enjoy.