I think I could love It Sounded Better in My Head by Nina Kenwood (Text Publishing, 2019). What better time to blog here again, two years after my last rambling. I’ve been reading the whole time, but putting reviews on Goodreads. Time for some backups (and pics of my dog reading).

“Tonight, everything is still possible.”

The end of highschool, waiting for university offers, the rest of her life planned out with her two best friends, until:
– Divorcing parents
– Hot guys handing out party invites
– Natalie’s besties in love with Each. Other.

Good thing I read this in two days, and it’s set in the summer after highschool, and Natalie and her besties holiday at the beach, and February’s prompt for Australian YA Bloggers & Readers 2020 Challenge is Fun in the Sun, and Nina Kenwood’s manuscript won the Text Prize 2018, and was published last year, and my book group read it, so I borrowed it from the library. Where was this going?

Oh yeah, when I first read the blurb I thought: how did a boring-as-shit romance win the Text Prize? I hate romance, I will never read this…

Until all of the above happened and this may be the funniest book I’ve read all year, perhaps ever (although Losing It is probably equally lmfao-worthy). I really shouldn’t judge a book by its blurb. Sorry Nina Kenwood. Sorry Text Publishing. My punishment is not to know all the amazing books I miss out on.

Luckily Natalie is not judgemental and doesn’t talk herself out of all the fun things in her life.

“My eyebrows need to be sex ready. I don’t know what that is exactly, but I know how they currently look is not that.”

If you’ve got this far, these are my answers to February’s Australian YA Bloggers & Readers Challenge:

1-3) I already answered these above.

4) Was there anything in your book that touched you /resonated with you in some way?
Natalie has polycistic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) causing severe acne when she was a younger teen. It’s only under control now due to medication. Acne might not seem like much, but it broke her self esteem in pieces. Natalie struggles with how she looks, including scarring on her back. I’ve never read a book that focused on acne and how badly it can effect body image. My brother had to take meds for acne when he was a teenager, and like Natalie, his dermatologist asked “Why did you let it get so bad?” Because doesn’t every teenager get zits? And everyone tells them: clean your face, stop eating chocolate, they’re only pimples. So much good advice (not)

The comments to Natalie from total strangers were appalling. Whether “well meaning” or abusive, they chipped away at her self esteem and led to her almost reclusive life. Her fear at the start of every school week, of what she might have to endure, broke me.

At the end of school she starts a tentative romance, and has to deal with years of negative thoughts about what others think of her and how she looks.

5) What was your favourite part of the book?
Despite the heavy issues, this is a comedy. The hilarious moments intermingled with the pain.
And there’s two sets of very supportive parents. Even as Natalie’s parents divorce, they are always there for her.

6) Who would you recommend read this book?
A teenager experiencing severe acne could find hope in this book that there’s more to themselves than their mutinous skin.
And it’s for older teens – there’s lots of discussion of sex and some happening behind closed doors.

7) Sum up the book in one sentence:
When a hot guy asks you to a party, it will not turn out like you thought in your head.

“Everyone knows you can’t really trust any feeling you have at night – and the later the hour, the less trustworthy it is. Anything you feel after 10pm is suspect, anything after midnight should be discounted altogether.”