18-year-old Izzy O’Neill’s world turns upside down when someone posts explicit photos of her with a politician’s son online. As a result, she gets embroiled in a national sex scandal. With her best friend Ajita at her side, she must navigate high school life as a social pariah. Izzy soon becomes painfully aware that shaming teenage girls is the exact opposite of okay.
Laura Steven’s debut novel is smart and funny, whilst also looking at a serious subject matter. Izzy is a confident main character who uses humour as a coping mechanism. I loved the female friendship between her and Ajita. Ajita is so loyal and they engage in plenty of sarcastic dialogue with each other. There are also some enjoyable Harry Potter references (Izzy’s dachshund is called Dumbledore!) Izzy is raised by Betty, the most liberal grandma ever. These two share a sweet bond. I felt that Izzy has great character development and she learns about what’s truly important in her life.
This book examines sexism and double standards. It’s safe to say that Izzy is a feminist. She questions the fact that almost everyone has shamed her actions, even though it’s her life and has nothing to do with them. Yes, Izzy made some decisions before fully thinking them through, but she certainly doesn’t deserve the negative media attention. Interestingly, Vaughn does not receive any abuse or criticism, despite the fact that he is also in the photographs. All of the trolls target Izzy because she is a female. She also has to contend with the awkward realisation that responsible adults have seen uncompromising photos of her.
TEOOO is set in America and as the author is British, there are words like ‘snogging’ and ‘bonkers’. I’m not sure if American readers would be familiar with all of the British words. Saying that, I can understand why the book has an American setting because revenge porn is illegal in the UK, but not in some states in America.
Overall, this is a relevant YA novel about feminism and learning who your true friends are when times get tough. I look forward to the sequel!
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐