If I’m being honest, I would rate this book as 3.5 stars.
If I’m Being Honest by Emily Wibberly and Austin Siegermund-Broka follows popular high school student Cameron Bright who always tells it like it is, no matter who she hurts. After she gets burned by a crush, Cameron takes inspiration from Katherine in The Taming of the Shrew and decides to apologize to everyone that she wronged to win back his affections. On her journey to redemption, Cameron reconnects with Brendan, who dropped to the bottom on the social ladder when Cameron gave him a less than flattering nickname.
I have heard about books by this author duo before, but something never clicked with me from the book’s descriptions to pick the up despite my love of contemporaries. I found both of their currently released books on sale for my Kindle during February, so I decided to pick them up since I was on a contemporary kick. While I prefer Always Never Yours over this book, this was overall a solid YA contemporary book. After reading Always Never Yours, I can see this duo becoming an auto-buy for me when it comes to contemporaries.
I saw a few reviews for this book and many of them expressed how they did not like the main character, Cameron, because she was the most unlikeable main character that they have ever read. I love reading unlikeable characters, especially popular main characters, because they rarely show up in YA fiction. I especially appreciate the two authors of this book because in both the books they read, they consistently show outgoing and bold female characters confident in who they are, which is refreshing for me in terms of YA contemporaries. That being said, I can see how Cameron can rub people the wrong way. Honestly, she is the meanest main character that I’ve ever read, especially at the beginning of the book. For people who experienced a lot of bullying in high school, I may steer clear of this one because it may trigger bad memories and it may be difficult to root for Cameron as a main character, even though she does change her ways throughout the novel.
Another aspect of this book that I enjoyed was Cameron’s relationship with her mom and dad. This relationship is extremely complicated and affects many aspects of Cameron’s life in a realistic way. I enjoyed watching Cameron’s relationship with her mom grow and change. In the beginning of the book, Cameron sees all of her mother’s actions as extremely weak. Eventually, Cameron recognizes that while her mother may not be perfect, all of the decisions that she saw as weak were actually moments that her mother was strong to provide the best life for Cameron. The moments at the end where they began to reconcile their relationship almost made me cry and were some of my favorite parts of the book.
For me, my least favorite part of the book was the connection to Shakespeare. In Always Never Yours, I felt the Shakespeare connection was included more naturally and had more of a clear connection and message to the story. In this book, Cameron bounced around in her interpretation of Katherine’s character in the play, which they read and debated in class. While Cameron finally acknowledges that how Petruchio treated Katherine was not okay, but Katherine still could be honest without being cruel, I thought this could be done in a more direct way.
Overall, If I’m Being Honest is a solid YA contemporary. The emotional moments, especially between Cameron and her mother, made the book an above average contemporary for me, which is why I rated it as 3.5 stars.
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