Book Reviews

Imogen, Obviously by Becky Albertalli: Book Review

This is a spoiler-free review.

Imogen, Obviously by Becky Albertalli

Published May 2nd, 2023

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Rating: 5 out of 5.

With humor and insight, #1 New York Times bestseller Becky Albertalli explores the nuances of sexuality, identity, and friendship.

Imogen Scott may be hopelessly heterosexual, but she’s got the World’s Greatest Ally title locked down.

She’s never missed a Pride Alliance meeting. She knows more about queer media discourse than her very queer little sister. She even has two queer best friends. There’s Gretchen, a fellow high school senior, who helps keep Imogen’s biases in check. And then there’s Lili—newly out and newly thriving with a cool new squad of queer college friends.

Imogen’s thrilled for Lili. Any ally would be. And now that she’s finally visiting Lili on campus, she’s bringing her ally A game. Any support Lili needs, Imogen’s all in.

Even if that means bending the truth, just a little.

Like when Lili drops a tiny queer bombshell: she’s told all her college friends that Imogen and Lili used to date. And none of them know that Imogen is a raging hetero—not even Lili’s best friend, Tessa.

Of course, the more time Imogen spends with chaotic, freckle-faced Tessa, the more she starts to wonder if her truth was ever all that straight to begin with…

Imogen, Obviously is not my first Becky Albertalli novel, but it is my favorite. While I’ve always enjoyed her novels, I hadn’t felt that spark from them. That was until I read Imogen, Obviously.

This book tells the story of Imogen, who in her last year of high school is very certain she is a Straight Ally and nothing more. She’s pretty sure she would know if she was queer because all her friends are queer and so is her sister. If she was queer, she would know it already… right?

But that’s until she meets Tessa, her best friend Lili’s college friend. And who also happens to think Imogen is queer.

This novel is very clearly influenced by Albertalli’s own experience with the queer community and coming out herself. Imogen, Obviously depicts a very realistic exploration of queer self-identity. I think for anyone who has ever had imposter syndrome about being queer “enough” or didn’t know they were queer right away at a young age – this is the book for you.

Gretchen, Imogen’s friend, acts as a mouthpiece for a lot of the discourse present in queer communities and tended to fuel Imogen’s self-doubt. It was nice to have her conceptions offset with other characters’ more accepting views of queer identity. (And did a great job at showcasing that even though some people within the space can have very loud opinions, it does not mean they reflect the majority of our community’s beliefs.)

The romance between Tessa and Imogen was just so healing. Tessa was the perfect love interest and I loved how she never questioned Imogen. I wish I had had a Tessa at Imogen’s age. Imogen’s slow falling and eventual realization of her feelings while also questioning the validity of those feelings was done with a heartfelt execution.

Have you read Imogen, Obviously?

What did you think of it?

Let me know!

Liza is a twenty-something book blogger who spends way too much time with her nose in books and feels way too much. She loves cooking, baking, reality tv show watching and, of course, reading. She can be found most often with a cup of tea in one hand and a book in the other. Her blog, Literary Liza, features bookish content like reviews, recommendations, and author interviews.


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