Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley

Tuesday, 27 June 2017
Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley

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.
I have quite a lot of thoughts about this book, and I wanted to share them, but I'm far too tired currently to whip up an actual review in a succinct manner so I've decided that in order to get my thoughts across I'd list them. So, without further ado, here are Three Things I Loved About Our Own Private Universe, and Three Things I Didn't.

Three Things I Loved:
  1.  Our Own Private Universe discussed sex (primarily fxf sex) in such an honest and unashamed way. I've spoken on the blog before about how important I think the discussion of sex is in YA, and especially when it's handled well. This book had just that. Every time sex was discussed, it didn't feel as though the writer was patronising - which sometimes I find that in can and honestly, a lot of it was quite educational without it coming across as a lecture which was lovely and refreshing and so-so frank and oh, how I loved it.
  2. Along with sex talk, a lot of the book also dealt with political issues that countries (and the USA) are facing, and showed teenagers getting involved with the discussion too! (Nothing gripes me more than when adults pretend that teenagers aren't interested in politics - most of us are! Most of us have pretty strong stances on a lot of the topics too, just talk to us and find out!).
  3. I adored the fact that Aki and Christa were exploring the idea of fxf sex and each other for the first time - there was something about the newness between the two of them that was charming.

Three Things I Didn't:
  1. I just want to get the big thing out of the way first, and it's a thing that griped with me for almost the entirety of the book and that is the fact that for the majority of the book it perpetuates the idea that people who identify as bisexual are scared of commitment and afraid of being with one person at a time, which, as a bisexual woman myself, is extremely frustrating to read in a book where I was hoping to get decent representation.
  2. Despite me loving the inclusion of politics and honest sex talks, I also felt that there was a bit much going on throughout the book - almost as if it couldn't quite make up it's mind as to where it wanted to go, and I found it slightly tiring trying to catch up with the current route it was on. There was the relationship between Christa and Aki that kept having it's ups and downs, the friendship between Lori and Aki that was just as tumultuous, the side story of Drew and his decision to join the army, Aki and her (non)relationship with music, the politics: debates, petitions, religion etc. Now, as much as these were all interesting topics in themselves, I wish that the focus was shifted onto only a few of them because the plot just felt overly weighed down with everything that was happening.
  3. Possibly the biggest reason that I ended up feeling extremely underwhelmed about this book was just that I didn't really connect with the characters, so unfortunately I was never truly emotionally invested in what happened to them and therefore didn't enjoy it as much as I had hoped I would.


  1. Thank you for introducing this book to me and for an honest and in-depth review. I really liked how you set up your review. I'm sorry that this book wasn't a great read for you, with not connecting to the characters, etc.

    I'm new to blogging and book reviewing, and I was wondering if you had any tips for newbie bloggers and book reviewers.

    If you have the time, please check out my blog @breenysbooks. I'd love any feedback. Have a wonderful day.

    1. Thank you!

      My biggest tip is probably just to make content that you'd want to read - and don't feel too pressured to review every single book, only the ones you want to review. Those are the things that I do to ensure that I don't get too bogged down with pressure and end up hating everything that I post.

      I look forward to checking out your blog!

  2. I had almost the exact same thoughts on this one!

    I loved the fact that f/f sex was not only explored, but explored through the eyes of girls experiencing it for the first time. It made all the learning aspects seem realistic rather than a lecture, and I'm so glad that this book exists for girls who are going through the same things in their relationship/s.

    I felt like there was a little much going on, as well. And yet there wasn't enough of a climax for me? It felt like they were all quite slow moving plot lines, which made the book feel like it was dragging a bit at times.

    The emotional connection to the characters just wasn't there for me, either *crying* I wanted to love this book so much, but I just didn't. I am still grateful for its existence, though! It just didn't end up being a favourite :(

    Great review, lovely! <3

    1. I'm glad you felt the same way, Chiara!

      Yes, although the book wasn't for me I'm glad that it exists for girls who may need it, I know I've read books that I wish I'd had as a teenager.

      Ugh. I'm still sad. I thought it would be the book for me, but it just left me feeling really disappointed.