Reviews

Amelia Westlake Was Never Here, by Erin Gough

ah3llfire's review against another edition

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5.0

Review TBA

melbsreads's review against another edition

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3.0

Trigger warnings: sexual harassment, racism, cheating, incident resulting in a fear of flying (in the past), toxic/abusive relationship, homophobia, absent parents.

So here's the thing: I really wanted to like this book because it sounded GREAT. But ultimately, I found it to be sort of aggressively average. Harriet was a total wet blanket of a character who's being walked all over by her girlfriend. In contrast, Will was just sort of...a brat. I mean, I get it. Kids who are at snobby private schools often don't recognise their own privilege. But GIRL. STOP.

But beyond the characters, my main problem with this comes from the fact that a) apparently this snooty private school has zero security cameras, b) all the school staff are apparently utterly oblivious at all times, c) no one is apparently second marking or reviewing the English teacher's grading and she's just being a vindictive cow and getting away with it, and d) multiple students have lodged formal complaints about a member of staff sexually harassing/assaulting them and the school is SWEEPING IT UNDER THE RUG???

I mean, if it was set in the 90s? Maybe. If it's set any time in the past five years and ESPECIALLY if it's set after the introduction of Ministerial Order 870 (admittedly, that's Victoria and the book is set in NSW but stiiiiiiiiiill)? NOPE. Every single report legally has to be investigated in depth and the school would get their arse handed to them on a plate if they didn't do it.

So really, my problem with this is that I'm too close to the reality of this story and can spot the obvious flaws in it. (As can the intended audience, based on what kids have said to me about it...)

runtobooks's review

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4.0

this was actually a really fun story, and i was interested the entire time. good characters, good pacing, and GREAT narrators

emilyjane44's review against another edition

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5.0

I loved this book from page 1. Harriet and Will's story completely captivated me and I read it all in one sitting. It was funny, flirty and feriously feminist. Get your hands on a copy ASAP!!

rubyreads17's review

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adventurous medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

juliamariereads's review against another edition

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4.0

So fun! I finished this in almost one sitting.

coffeebooksorme's review against another edition

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4.0

A few dull moments here and there that indicate pacing issues but overall a wonderful story. These teenagers were far smarter and way more well spoken than I was at that age and I am jealous

backlogbooks's review against another edition

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5.0

 Overall Vibe: I meant to read like fifty pages and ended up reading it in one day & staying up till 3 am to finish--definitely one of the top books I've read this year


What I liked:
* the characters had distinctive voices that fit their personalities
* Gay! Gay! Gay! From the start!
* Love me some rebellion & revolution (especially in a private school for some reason)
* Unlikely alliances! Are! My! Shit!
* None of the MCs feel like stereotypes- they pretty immediately get broken out of their boxes
* Harriet’s breathing exercises
* Harriet’s texting style lmao
* Will’s reaction to having a crush (damn girl do you have to be so relatable?)
* Nat!
* rom coms sustain me so all the rom com elements (enemies to lovers anyone??)
* the book didn't hesitate to call out the school administration as bigoted--Harriet did at first because she wasn't ready to see it, but the book itself didn't make excuses for them which I appreciate
* The character arcs! The development! ya know what that is? growth!
* The ending (mostly! I do have one note)
* All of the damn book tbh


What I didn’t like
* EDIE I mean not that I don’t think she should’ve been in it but I just didn’t like her so I’m putting her here. Also this note was written immediately after her first on-page dialogue. Not important just wanted you to know
* I wanted Nat to get more page-time/development earlier--I'm happy with what she got later on in the book, but she felt kind of missing from the first part, if that makes sense?
* *Slight possible spoilers* I have mixed feelings about the ending re: Nat & Will because on the one hand, I get that fully resolved endings are unrealistic, but on the other hand, I wanted a little more resolution between them

Especially recommended for: rom-com fans, wlws, and everyone ready to smash the patriarchy! 

mayaweaver's review against another edition

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4.0

lil bit of enemies-to-lover, australian contemporary edition

dannymoose's review

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emotional funny hopeful fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.25