Odd One Out by Nic Stone
Courtney “Coop” Cooper
Dumped. Again. And normally I wouldn’t mind. But right now, my best friend and source of solace, Jupiter Sanchez, is ignoring me to text some girl.
Rae Evelyn Chin
I assumed “new girl” would be synonymous with “pariah,” but Jupiter and Courtney make me feel like I’m right where I belong. I also want to kiss him. And her. Which is . . . perplexing.
The only thing worse than losing the girl you love to a boy is losing her to your boy. That means losing him, too. I have to make a move. . . .
No easy answers.
Before I get started, I want to admit that this book was a disappointment for me.
I was so excited for it because 1. a love triangle when there’s not an OTP already set and the world isn’t ending *Hunger Games* and 2. an exploration of sexuality and not just the typical heteronormative shit that we see every day.
I totally understand the message that the author wanted to convey. I think that I understand why she formatted it the way that she did BUT I feel like she didn’t do a good job of it.
I, of course, cannot speak on behalf of the LGBTQIA+ community so I am going to explain my thought process and why I thought it that way but I fully expect others to jump in to add to the discussion and even to correct me if there’s something that I’m missing.
First, I hated Coop. Literally his part of the story starts off with him sexualizing Jupiter and throwing an internal temper tantrum because she didn’t drop everything to pay attention to him when he barged into her room unannounced. THEN, he proceeds to show off his boner and make her change in her room. As Jupe says, “Friggin’ patriarchy.”
I can understand that Coop can’t help that he loves her, that’s fine. What I have an issue with is that he’s so fucking possessive when it comes to her. Obsessively so. Like, Joe in YOU type shit. It’s creepy.
He’s also just so fucking needy. Maybe some girls like that shit so if that’s your thing, cool. But he’s like, “Oh why doesn’t Jupe need me?” and “Why doesn’t she ask me to kill bugs for her? and (my personal favorite), “Why doesn’t she call me her hero?” THEN, he blows her off (multiple times) and has the audacity to get mad that she accepted it without question. First and foremost you little bitch, just because you want all of those things does not make it her responsibility to provide it. Also, the whole point of all of this is basically you want her to stroke your fucking ego. Even with Rae, he’s all “I’m not used to girls not paying attention to me, waaahhhh.”
Speaking of Rae, I really thought that I was going to like her and I didn’t. From Coop’s view she seemed cool and I liked her relationship with Jupiter. I felt bad for her because of all that happened and the fact that she feels the need to always be happy. However, I hated the way she talked about the situation with her sister. She makes it seem like she is the only person affected by it. “Oh my sister left and while I don’t reach out to her ever, she should have reached out to me.” Phones work both ways honey. I also didn’t like how she somehow came to the conclusion that because he sister left her, romantic love is doomed to fail. It’s apples and oranges. One thing happening doesn’t affect the other.
Jupiter. I liked her until she started being a conniving little bitch. I love her feminism, and how outspoken she is. and how much she gives back. She also ended up being weirdly possessive of Coop, so much so that she decided she wanted to fuck him. The book does not frame it in the way that she had actually been questioning her sexuality that whole time. It was just like, “I’m in love with this girl but she just told me she’s in love with my male best friend. If they get together I’ll lose them both so I’m going to have sex with him.” How the fuck is that supposed to make sense?
I think I like Golly and Britain, but it was strange that they were super sexist in the locker room at the beginning of the book and then everything that Jupe needed when she wanted to come out. They said some really disrespectful shit in the first scene and by the end, they’re helping other people understand that there can be layers to someone’s sexuality? It would have made sense if we had seen them learn it themselves, but the 180 they did was just odd. Also, why does Brit always call Jupiter Ms? Again, weird.
One of my main issues with this book is the amount of euphemisms that are used. I understand that it’s YA, but some people that fall into the young adult age category…..have sex *gasp* Seriously, if our characters are going to be having sex, they should be able to talk about it without being immature. And for fucks sake, don’t do a 5 page build up to a sex scene and then skip the sex.
Also, what the fuck is even the whole point of Carousel Carl? I feel like the author needed something to bond Rae and Coop, and then picked the most fucking random thing that she could think of. They go on this mission to find this man, we never find out why his show was cancelled and why they heard him bawling over the loudspeaker. We don’t know why he has a million and one pictures of children stashed at his house. They find find him and then it’s just like, “Cool. We did it.” Absolutely no value to the story as a whole.
I honestly felt like the ending was unrealistic as fuck. If I tell my best friend that I think I’m in love with someone and then she goes and fucks him the night before I’m planning to ask him out, there is NO coming back from that. You straight up betrayed me and now you’re dead to me.
Lastly, I feel like the point of this is that Stone wants people to know that sexuality can change. I absolutely get that, but I feel that it was sudden and a little misleading. Jupe’s feelings for Coop basically stem from the fact that she slept him. Before that, we don’t get any hint that she may have feelings. Sure, she stares at his dick in one scene. That really doesn’t mean much to be honest. And let’s not forget that she had apparently just gotten her heart broken by Rae.
In the author’s note, she talks about questioning her sexuality in different points in her life and that’s how this story came about. My issue here is that even when we finally get to Jupiter’s point of view, we don’t know that she’s questioning. I guess it’s possible that even she didn’t know, but wouldn’t she have at least thought about it in her own head? All of it just felt forced. Like the end goal was always for Jupe and Coop to be together regardless of how she identified.
The other part that makes the message sort of fall flat was that Jupe always talks about the way that many lesbians are told that they’re “going through a phase” or that they “just need to meet the right guy.” Instead of using Jupe to prove that that’s not the case, Stone literally puts her into that trope. Essentially Coop was “the right guy” for Jupe to decide to drop her label. Now she does mention another guy that she might have been attracted to, but it’s not even mentioned until after she has sex with Coop. I felt like it did more harm than good. Like how Veronica Roth used harmful tropes about people of color, says she understands why it’s harmful and proceeds to do it anyway.