Book review: It Sounded Better In My Head by Nina Kenwood

Title: It Sounded Better In My Head by Nina Kenwood

Publisher: Text Publishing

Publication date: 6 August 2019

Genre: Contemporary | Young Adult | Romcom

Page extent: 304 pages


Goodreads blurb: When her parents announce their impending separation, Natalie can’t understand why no one is fighting or at least mildly upset. And now that Zach and Lucy, her two best friends, have fallen in love, she’s feeling slightly miffed and decidedly awkward.

Where does she fit in now? And what has happened to the version of her life that played out like a TV show—with just the right amount of banter, pining and meaningful looks?

Nothing is going according to plan.

But then an unexpected romance comes along and shakes things up even further.

It Sounded Better in My Head is a tender, funny and joyful novel about longing, confusion, feeling left out and finding out what really matters.

As a disclaimer, please be aware that I do now work for this publisher (for about a month now!) This has in no way influenced this review nor did they ask me to review this book on my blog. All opinions are my own. I just read it and fucking loved it!

Yes!! I read a book on my TBR that isn’t sad and stressful but is happy and full of joy and fun and snark! This was so much fun. A brilliant romcom about a stressed and anxious teen who accidentally falls in love with her best friend’s brother. This reminded me of all my favourite romcoms, from Red, White & Royal Blue to Amelia Westlake to Only Mostly Devastated (I apologise for only having queer comps, turns out I rarely read hetero romcoms! Who’d have thought it!) This was absolutely the perfect book for me to read right now, it is lighthearted, fun, and the main character is such a mess, I adore her, she is me and I am her.

It Sounded Better In My Head is the story of Natalie, a young adult on the cusp of change, as she prepares for university in Melbourne. But on Christmas Day, her parents reveal they’ve broken up (and have been for 10 months, they just didn’t tell her). To top it off, her two best friends are dating each other so she constantly feels like a third wheel, she’s racked with fear, shame and anxiety over her acne scars which destroyed her self esteem as a young teen, and now, when she’s finally starting to fall for a boy, he just so happens to be her best friend’s older brother. Suffice to say: her life is a mess.

Natalie is quite possibly one of my favourite characters in YA. She is immediately relatable and likeable. I think this book joins Only Mostly Devastated as book with most lines I squealed at, screenshotted and sent to my partner to exclaim how similar she is to me. She is so self deprecating, so sarcastic, and incredibly destroyed from her experience as a young teen with severe acne. And underneath all her martyr-like behaviour to avoid being vulnerable, she is deeply hurt and broken by her parents divorce, and is terrified of being alone forever. She is such a brilliant character, she was so messy and imperfect and clearly aware of how messed up she was but at the same time totally unable to change, and it felt so realistic and relatable.

This book is light hearted and so full of fun. I absolutely raced through it and found it the perfect antidote to the constant stress and bombardment of bad news from the virus situation: this book felt like a hug. Highly recommend if you, like me, are an anxious mess and would like to feel warm and cosy and safe for the first time in a while.

Book review: How to be Remy Cameron by Julian Winters

Title: How to be Remy Cameron by Julian Winters

Publisher: Duet

Publication date: 10 September 2019

Genre: Contemporary| Young Adult

Page extent: 340 pages

Goodreads blurb: Everyone on campus knows Remy Cameron. He’s the out-and-gay, super-likable guy that people admire for his confidence. The only person who may not know Remy that well is Remy himself. So when he is assigned to write an essay describing himself, he goes on a journey to reconcile the labels that people have attached to him, and get to know the real Remy Cameron.

Content warnings from the eARC: discussions of racism, homophobia, past minor characters’ death, and alcoholism, as well as depictions of homophobic bullying, and a scene involving brief sexual harassment/racial fetishism 


How to be Remy Cameron gave me many many feelings when I was approved for an eARC on NetGalley, and then it gave me many many feelings when I read it. 

I was a new blogger, my stats aren’t great, and I had no hope at all I would ever be accepted. And then I was. Cue feelings. The ohmygod how is this happening to me is life actually good feelings.

How to be Remy Cameron is a heartwarming and uninhibited look at what it means to be you, at the pressure of labels, at becoming who you want to be in the world. 

Told from the eyes of Remy, an adopted, black, gay teen, the book follows him as he is given an AP Literature assignment to write an essay about who he is. Remy finds himself under so much pressure to know who he is outside of his labels of ‘adopted’ or ‘black’ or ‘gay’ and wants to be known as someone other than that token kid. But he doesn’t know who he is and can’t get past the pressure he feels to be these labels. 

How to be Remy Cameron is a wonderful look at family and friends and love. Throughout the book, Remy finds himself wondering about his family, about where he came from, how he fits into his adopted family; he questions his friends who seem so put together compared to him; and he questions his feelings as he begins to fall for Ian, the new kid at school. 

The portrayal of both family and friendship in this book is just phenomenal. It really breaks so many stereotypes about what and who makes a family. Remy is such a brilliant older brother, who is so protective and loving with his sister Willow. His parents are supportive and have never made him feel lesser for being adopted (yes! A YA book with an amazing parent relationship where the teen isn’t constantly breaking rules and trying to get away from them!)

The romance is just as great – Remy has recently been in a bad break-up, and swears off men. Of course, immediately enter attractive, glasses-wearing Ian who drinks matcha coffee and draws brilliant art. The romance doesn’t feel rushed or hurried and plays out beautifully. 

I also really enjoyed all the pop culture references. I go back and forth on whether I like this in books, but it didn’t feel overused here, and it often made me snort with laughter, so Winters nailed the pop culture referencing! 

There are definitely moments in this book which tug at your heart, but it’s not a sad book. It’s happy and uplifting and a beautifully diverse YA which showcases the variety of labels and stereotypes and really makes you wonder about who you are.

Paws out,
Rach + Draco

P.S. I’d like Remy’s wardrobe please and thank you.