Summary (from the publisher): High school senior Cameron Bright’s reputation can be summed up in one word: bitch. It’s no surprise she’s queen bee at her private L.A. high school—she’s beautiful, talented, and notorious for her cutting and brutal honesty. So when she puts her foot in her mouth in front of her crush, Andrew, she fears she may have lost him for good.
In an attempt to win him over, Cameron resolves to “tame” herself, much like Katherine in Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. First, she’ll have to make amends with those she’s wronged, which leads her to Brendan, the guy she labelled with an unfortunate nickname back in the sixth grade. At first, Brendan isn’t all that receptive to Cameron’s ploy. But slowly, he warms up to her when they connect over the computer game he’s developing. Now if only Andrew would notice…
But the closer Cameron gets to Brendan, the more she sees he appreciates her personality—honesty and all—and wonders if she’s compromising who she is for the guy she doesn’t even want.
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
It’s official: Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka write my kind of Shakespeare.
Okay let’s go back a little. This writing duo’s first book, Always Never Yours, stole my heart back in October when Megan finds herself cast as Juliet in her school’s production of Romeo and Juliet. In If I’m Being Honest’s case, our main character, Cameron, finds herself relating a bit to closely to one of the main character in her latest reading, for English class Katherine from The Taming of the Shrew.
An element that I love about If I’m Being Honest and Always Never Yours is that the main protagonists have very strong personalities and at times, are just plain unlikeable. These qualities just make the characters feel all the more real and complex. Cameron definitely wins the unlikeable award, known as her LA high school’s queen bitch. Throughout the book, Cameron says exactly what is on her mind, nice or not. Although there were many uncalled moments that were a bit frustrating (especially towards the end), Cameron owned her personality while experiencing a significant amount of character growth.
I also enjoyed exploring why Cameron is the way she is. Her mean girl attitude was not accompanied by the typical rich girl stereotype, as her and her mom are not as wealthy as her elite LA classmates. I feel like YA parents have come a long way in some more recent YA releases, but Cameron’s parents were honestly horrible. There are some redeeming qualities for Cameron’s mom along the way, but I felt for her in the family department. Seeing Cameron talk about her family life with her newfound friends was a really nice way to see her change.While Cameron definitely made some changes in her attitude, I did enjoy how she didn’t completely change and made some realizations about why she even wanted to change herself in the first place.
Aside from family and romance, If I’m Being Honest is also much about Cameron’s relationships with her longtime friends, who might not be the most positive influences, and some new ones.Speaking of family and newfound friends, I loved the relationship dynamics between Cameron, Paige, and Brendan. Paige and Brendan are honestly book siblings goals and have inspired me to try to attend a Rocky Horror Picture Show screening at least one in the life. I think readers, especially those who love fandom and nerdy things (aka me), will love the ibling dynamic and friend group. I have to give Cameron props for at least knowing who Zelda is, even if she refers to Link as boy-Zelda.
While Cameron wasn’t the nicest to Paige, hence her change-making attitude, Paige did break Cameron out of her attiude and kind-heartedly challenged her in the sarcastic comment competition. And Brendan is for sure the nerdy fictional boyfriend of any reader’s dreams.!I loved his interest in video game design and his laugh-out-loud texts with Cameron.
Overall, If I’m Being Honest is such a fun YA contemporary about personal growth and relationship development. Don’t mind me trying to recreate this book’s gorgeous cover while I not-so patiently wait for Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka’s next book.
Have you read Always Never Yours or If I’m Being Honest? Share in the comments!