Mean Girls meets The Taming of the Shrew in this romantic follow-up to Always Never Yours
Cameron Bright’s reputation can be summed up in one word: b*tch. It’s no surprise she’s queen bee at her private L.A. high school–she’s beautiful, talented, and notorious for her brutal honesty. But when she slips up in front of her crush, Andrew, any affection he may have had for her quickly fades. To win him over, Cameron resolves to “tame” herself, much like Shakespeare’s infamous shrew, Katherine. If she makes amends with everyone she’s ever wronged, Andrew will have to take notice. Thus, Cameron begins her apology tour with Brendan, the guy whose social life she single-handedly destroyed. At first, Brendan isn’t so quick to forgive, but slowly he warms to her when they connect over a computer game he’s developing. To Cameron’s amazement, she actually enjoys hanging out with Brendan; he appreciates her honesty in a way Andrew never did, and she’s left wondering: maybe you shouldn’t have to compromise who you are for the kind of love you deserve.
IF I’M BEING HONEST is easily one of my most anticipated 2019 reads because:
a) SHAKESPEAREAN!! RETELLING!! Honestly I am sold on this alone – but wait, there’s more, because –
b) Specifically, it’s a THE TAMING OF THE SHREW retelling (remember? The play about an entire city that forced an overconfident man to marry their local “unmarriageable” woman just so everyone else can have a shot with her golden girl sister?), which can be super fun in a modern setting, which brings me to –
c) all the TEN THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU vibes. But, in my opinion, a much more relateable MC, because if there’s one thing that pulls me in, it’s unapologetic, ambitious MCs who are characteristic and strong and intimidating and take no shit while also aspiring way, way above their station. Bless.
Gimme aaaall the “unlikeable” MCs. Where are they. Bring them forth.
I get to do Top Ten Quotes for the blog tour, which is HARD, because I can only pick 10 and I’m not gonna choose spoilery ones, so. Appreciate my suffering.
Top Ten Quotes
from IF I’M BEING HONEST
“With every critique, I could wither under his [Cameron’s father’s] words and feel inferior, or I could rise to them and become a better version of myself. I’ve always appreciated his honesty for that.”
Cameron’s relationship with her father is tense – both because he’s very distant, and because she wants to follow in his footsteps. See the problem? Their dynamic is hooky without them even meeting yet, and I’m so into it.
“I slide the pages loose and start scanning the red ink in the margins. Which … there’s plenty of. It’s embarrassing, reading feedback like this one writing I was proud of. But I refuse to be discouraged. If I could be broken by harsh words, I would have given up a long time ago. I will rewrite his essay, and I will get in to UPenn.”
The sheer ACCURACY of this quote is scary (the first part at least ;( ) because let me tell you, there is absolutely nothing scarier than surprise critques on writing, especially. And can we just appreciate the second half of this quote? I would kill for Cameron’s confidence.
“I know the truth can hurt, even when you need to hear it.”
“I walk into my perfectly orderly room and out of the uncertainity of mom’s life. I can’t change her, can’t control any of it.’ All I can do is make sure I don’t end up the type who gives up in the face of a challenge. Who lets other people tell her who she is.”
This is, like, the whole book summed up in one line. With Cameron’s less-than-severely-wealthy mother and her less-than-ideal circumstances, especially compared to her friends in her prep school, whose lives are pretty much easy cruising .. idk, but I love this take on the ‘popular girl’s’ private life, too.
“It pisses me off, honestly. I don’t know why he [Andrew] thinks he has the right to judge me – as if he’s better than I am.
‘If he doesn’t see you’re in no way a bitch, he’s not worth it. Who even cares what he thinks?'”
TRANSFORMATION FOR THE SAKE OF SELF-BETTERMENT AND SUPPORTIVE FRIENDS IN THE BACKGROUND. CAN YOU HEAR ME SCREAMING?
“I don’t give up easily. People who give up don’t deserve what they want.”
Also this, so much this. One thing that I absolutely adore about these quotes that I’m picking is how casually they’re delivered – sprinkled throughout in the most natural way as opposed to hitting a hard return and dropping wisdom bombs. SO effective. I love them.
“I’m fueled by every time I’ve had to listen to Andrew tell me I’m not good enough. ‘Just because she [Katherine in Shakespeare’s THE TAMING OF THE SHREW] doesn’t fit your or Petruchio’s [the dude bro trying to “fix” her bad attitude] notion of a well-behaved woman doesn’t mean she has to change.'”
Did I mention that Cameron’s class is reading THE TAMING OF THE SHREW as the plot unfolds? Because they totally are, and this made me geek out in the most undignified way possible.
“If he [Andrew] can accept Katherine after changing, then he’ll accept me. The only difference is that I won’t wait for some Petruchio – some guy – to “tame” me. I’ll do it myself.”
THIS SHOULD BE ON THE COVER IT’S SO PERFECT.
“I didn’t understand at first. Wouldn’t a person be a better friend if they told the truth? I’ve always thought of honesty as helpful even if it’s hurtful.”
This part is from fairly early on in the book, and it’s suuuper interesting to see if this holds up, is qualified, or changes completely – but I’m SPOILING NOTHING SO FIGURE IT OUT BY Y’ALL’S SELVES.
“If I’m going to be less like Katherine, I’ll have to work on reining in my honest opinion some.”
This is as far as I can take you without entering spoiler territory. Godspeed.
EMILY WIBBERLEY and AUSTIN SIEGEMUND-BROKA
Raised by a school librarian, Austin’s always had a passion for books, especially books for young people. He met and fell in love with Emily in high school and went to Harvard University as an undergraduate. He studied English (focusing on Shakespeare) and graduated magna cum laude in 2014. Recently, Austin worked as a journalist for The Hollywood Reporter. He is currently a UCLA law student; however there’s nothing he loves like writing with Emily.
Emily, whose parents are screenwriters, has loved writing and story-telling since an age she hardly remembers. Since meeting Austin (she says it was middle school–accounts vary), Emily attended Princeton University as an undergraduate, studied psychology, and graduated magna cum laude in 2014. While at Princeton, she wrote the first novel in her self-published YA fantasy trilogy, The Last Oracle, which was featured in USA Today and was a finalist for the Next Generation Indie Book Awards.
If you’ve read this already – YELL WITH ME ABOUT IT.
LET US SHRIEK FANGIRLISHLY.
And if not – what else is on your TBR?
Rec me some YA Willy Shakes retellings and
I will love you forever.