Review: Our Own Private Universe

oopuHello, and a belated Happy New Year! I’ve been away for far too long (school, life, etc.), but now I’m back with my first review of 2017!

And let me say, this book is one that will definitely not disappoint. It’s Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley!

As always, I’ll begin with the blurb:

Fifteen-year-old Aki Simon has a theory. And it’s mostly about sex.

No, it isn’t that kind of theory. Aki already knows she’s bisexual—even if, until now, it’s mostly been in the hypothetical sense. Aki has dated only guys so far, and her best friend, Lori, is the only person who knows she likes girls, too.

Actually, Aki’s theory is that she’s got only one shot at living an interesting life—and that means she’s got to stop sitting around and thinking so much. It’s time for her to actually do something. Or at least try.

So when Aki and Lori set off on a church youth-group trip to a small Mexican town for the summer and Aki meets Christa—slightly older, far more experienced—it seems her theory is prime for the testing.

But it’s not going to be easy. For one thing, how exactly do two girls have sex, anyway? And more important, how can you tell if you’re in love? It’s going to be a summer of testing theories—and the result may just be love.

Ok, so this is going to be one of those moments that I say some words that may not necessarily make sense to you right away, but alas… THIS FREAKING BOOK! OMG! YAAASSSS! PRAISE! 🙌

In case you can’t tell, I loved this book. The story is just so sweet because it’s all about a journey of self-discovery and figuring out one’s identity and who you’re supposed to be. I love books like this and Robin Talley just wrote it so well. The story is just so enjoyable and real. Aki’s thoughts and her view on things are just so relatable.

The book touches on so many important things, not just exploration of sexuality, not just teen romance… but also issues surrounding friendship and family and doing what’s right.

Beyond that, it also features some of the youth from the church groups talking about some majorly important themes, like same-sex marriage, war, helping others, etc. And this is important because these are issues young people should be talking about. Youth are the future and it’s especially important today when the most powerful country on earth is suddenly at the mercy of a grabby-handed cheeto.

But also, this book is important from an LGBTQ+ standpoint too, and I can definitely see it becoming a staple in LGBTQ+ young adult fiction. Not only does it feature Aki exploring her sexuality (a.k.a. on-page bisexual representation, y’all!), but Talley doesn’t hold back or sugarcoat things, and this makes the book all the more real. I’m talking on-page F/F hookups and on-page sex education (a.k.a. the characters talk about protection, where to get it, how to use it, why it’s important). This is huge. I don’t remember my sex-ed classes all that well when I was younger, but I sure as shit know they didn’t include explicit details about anything non-hetero-related.

All this is to say that Our Own Private Universe is an incredibly significant book that touches on some real-life issues, things that we need to see more of in LGBTQ+ YA books. I praise Robin Talley for including them in this amazingly wonderful book.

Seriously, buy this book. You certainly won’t regret it.

Our Own Private Universe releases January 31st.

Note: I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc. in exchange for an honest review. I am an Indigo employee.

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