Review: If I’m Being Honest by Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka

Title: If I’m Being Honest
Authors: Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka
Rating: ★★★★★
Summary: High school senior Cameron Bright’s reputation can be summed up by one word: bitch. When she puts her foot in her mouth in front of her crush, she fears she’s lost the one person who actually liked her for good. In an attempt to win him back, Cameron resolves to prove her worth by making amends with those she’s wronged. First on the list? Brendan, the guy to whom she gave an unfortunate nickname in middle school and who’s now the school loser. But the longer Cameron spends repairing Brendan’s reputation, the closer she gets to him—and the more she realizes that he appreciates her personality, brutal honesty and all. It makes her wonder: what if she’s compromising herself for a guy she doesn’t even want?


Note: an eARC of this title was acquired via Edelweiss+.

If you’re lucky, sometimes you stumble onto a good book at exactly the right time; even if its not perfect, it’s perfect for you, and you’ll fight anyone who says otherwise. If I’m Being Honest was that book for me.

Taking cues from Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, If I’m Being Honest follows Cameron through the first few months of her senior year at an uber posh Los Angeles prep school. With no patience for anything less than transparent honesty, authors Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka write Cameron as an over-achieving mean girl—she’s selfish, self-absorbed, and mean. Even though we understand that she doesn’t have the best relationship with either one of her parents, we don’t feel bad for her, either. Cameron is completely oblivious to how her words hurt, and the first few chapters set up a very compelling story arc for redemption.

I stayed up until 12:30am on a work night to finish the second half of this book because I couldn’t put it down. Wibberley and Siegemund-Broka made me need to know what happened to Cameron. Would her (delicious) slow-burn romance with Brendan go anywhere? What would happen to her new friendship with Brendan’s sister, Paige? Parts of the book made me literally curl my toes and squee they were so freaking cute while others made my heart sigh happily. Having an accurate portrayal of anxiety? Validating. Seeing an authentic portrayal of female friendship? Down-right refreshing.

The summary makes If I’m Being Honest seem like your run-of-the-mill young adult novel, but it’s so much more than that. Wibberley and Siegemund-Broka imbued all of their characters with messy personalities and true-to-life emotions so that nothing feels cheap or out-of-place. You knew that you could be happy when something good happened to a character because you’d already spent the last few chapters being angry with them for doing something stupid. There was fandom and creative passion projects and mental health rep and I may have cried just a bit toward the end.

Please read this book, y’all. It is so, so good.

Top Ten: Books That Need a Sequel

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme was standalone books that need a sequel.

I had a really hard time with this week’s topic, y’all. The books I thought of first were either already part of a series or were so terrible that, even if I didn’t like the ending, I didn’t particularly care to read more. 😂 So, do the following books need a sequel? No, not really—but I also wouldn’t complain if they got one!

I Went to Vassar for This? by Naomi Neale
If I’m Being Honest by Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka
Miss You by Kate Eberlen
My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren
Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
The Regional Office is Under Attack! by Manuel Gonzales
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
What Should Be Wild by Julia Fine
The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox

BONUS! The following books were standalone, but now they all have sequels!!

Geekerella by Ashley Poston
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan

Top Ten: Characters I’d Switch Places With

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme was characters I’d switch places with – which, just so you know, was really hard! I mostly ended up deciding that these characters had a not-so-difficult arc, existed in a world I found tolerable, and whose end justified the means. Onward!

Beth from Attachments // Diana from A Discovery of Witches // Elle from Geekerella // Susan from Giant Days // Cameron from If I’m Being Honest

Cathy from I Went to Vassar for This? // Molly from Lip Lock // Millie from My Favorite Half-Night Stand // Lizzie from Queen of Babble // Jessica from Sloppy Firsts

Month in Review: February 2019

Favorite Media

Oh, man, this book y’all. I stayed up until 12:30am on a work night reading the second half of If I’m Being Honest because I couldn’t put it down. There was a delicious slow-burn romance that made me curl my toes and squee juxtaposed with a nuanced portrait of female friendship. There was fandom and passion projects and mental health and I may have cried a bit? UGH IT’S SO GOOD.

Listen: I was not a fan of this song for the longest time and then I watched Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper perform it at the Oscars and now I can’t get enough. (Including all of the covers.)

Stuff I Added to My Queue

Bad Blood came out last summer, but I’m still hearing good things about it, and I was in a (desperate) mood for some well-written true crime after struggling through Mindhunter. 👎

The cover of Cannonball caught my eye in an issue of Publisher’s Weekly, and then the summary just sounded so me that I had to add it to my TBR.

Where did The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane catch my eye? 🤷‍♀️ But that cover! And the summary! It gives me such Shadow Cipher vibes, and I am here for it.

I normally like my true crime more, I don’t know, high-profile? But every time I came across Say Nothing, I thought, “hmm, that actually sounds really interesting.”

Vicky recommended Starry Eyes as part of a massive YA romance post, and I couldn’t pass up something summarized as one of her “favorite enemies-to-lovers contemporary romances EVER.”

Another middle-grade mystery that reminds me of Shadow Cipher? A new Margaret Peterson Haddix? Gimme The Strangers now please.

Vita Nostra is a decade-old Russian fantasy whose English translation was just release a couple of months ago, and the combination of “adventure, magic, science, and philosophy that probes the mysteries of existence, filtered through a distinct Russian sensibility” sounds fantastic.

Ari featured Whisper Network as a recent TBR add, and it just sounds so delicious that I had to add it as well. (Especially because of this snippet: “If only you had listened to us,” they tell us on page one, “none of this would have happened.”)

ICYMI

What were YOU up to in February? Let me know!

Top Ten: Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2019

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme was my most anticipated releases for the first half of 2019. Let’s go!

How to Date Men When You Hate Men by Blythe Roberson (1/8) // Thick: And Other Essays by Tressie McMillan Cottom (1/8) // Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen (1/29) // Giant Days vol. 9 by John Allison (2/19) // Trump Sky Alpha by Mark Doten (2/19)

Coders: The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World by Clive Thompson (3/26) // Ms. Marvel vol. 10 by G. Willow Wilson (4/9) // If I’m Being Honest by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka (4/23) // The Clockwork Ghost by Laura Ruby (5/14) // Star-Crossed by Minnie Darke (5/21)