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The Opposite of Innocent

Review

The Opposite of Innocent

THE OPPOSITE OF INNOCENT was written by Sonya Sones. Sones is an award-winning author of the book SAVING RED, and also wrote books such as STOP PRETENDING, WHAT MY MOTHER DOESN’T KNOW and its companion WHAT MY GIRLFRIEND DOESN’T KNOW, ONE OF THOSE HIDEOUS BOOKS WHERE THE MOTHER DIES and TO BE PERFECTLY HONEST. Sonya Sones wrote the above books in a writing style called verse. This writing style is a form of poetry.

THE OPPOSITE OF INNOCENT is a book about high school freshman Lily, who has been in love with family friend Luke. Luke is nearly double her age, at 29 years old. Most people in her family believe it’s just a silly little crush, but when Luke comes back after a trip to Kenya, their relationship becomes MUCH more.

"I enjoyed the book because I thought it sent out a very powerful message about unhealthy relationships in general, and how important it is that you think about your actions before they happen."

The beginning of the books talk about the budding relationship between Lily and Luke. It starts off with Lily talking about her infatuation with Luke and how she’s “changed” in the years he’s been gone. As it develops through the beginning, we see Luke start to return her affections and flirt with Lily. This part is what especially can make some readers uncomfortable due to the tremendous age difference between the two characters. We see the way Lily interacts with her friends, and how her personality develops around her and Luke’s budding relationship.

The middle of the book entails the meat of the relationship between Lily and Luke. We see them both sneaking around to see each other. We see the way the relationship changed Lily in her relationships with her friends (due to them finding out about her relationship with an older man) and family. During this time, Lily and Luke are both happy with the relationship. Lily is excited to spend time with Luke, and we don’t really get to see how Luke feels during this time.

Towards the end of the book the problems start to arise. Lily begins to have feelings for another boy in her class named Presley. Presley is introduced towards in the middle of the book, but it’s more towards the end when he and Lily start to get close. However, at this time Lily maintains her relationship with Luke. In this period we also see Luke’s main perspectives and motives in the relationship. We see the way he forces Lily into sexual endeavours that she’s not comfortable with, and we essentially see him rape her. Lily starts to realize this and tries to get away from the relationship, but Luke forces her to stay. In the end of the book, Lily tries her hardest to gain closure and safety when she sees herself in her younger sister and is fearful for her safety.

Character-wise, it was very hard to connect with the characters and really feel something for them due to the way it was written. Since the writing style was primarily in verse, the book was fast-paced and it was difficult to really understand and bond with the characters. Lily was also the only character that was fully developed. We never really understand the perspectives or motives of any other characters. Not even Luke, who, in my opinion, seems like a character that should have been elaborated upon and understood more. Regarding Lily’s development, a majority of it was simply focused around her personality towards Luke and her feelings towards Luke. While it is important to understand how a character changes in response to a specific relationship or event in their life, it is also important to understand that character outside of the relationship. I never really felt that we got that with Lily. Everything was centered on how she reacted to Luke and how she felt about him.

Overall my thoughts on this book are mixed. I enjoyed the book because I thought it sent out a very powerful message about unhealthy relationships in general, and how important it is that you think about your actions before they happen. It shines light on the importance of cutting off an unhealthy relationship as soon as possible. However, at the same time, the book was very fast-paced so it was hard to get immersed in the story and really bond with the characters. The book also was uncomfortable in some places because of how blunt it is with Lily and Luke’s relationship. I would recommend this book for readers in high school because of the relationship between Lily and Luke and the #MeToo nature of their sexual endeavors.

Reviewed by Tejaswi S., Teen Board Member on September 20, 2018

The Opposite of Innocent
by Sonya Sones