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If I'm Being Honest

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High school senior Cameron Bright’s reputation can be summed up in one word: bitch. It’s no surprise she’s queen bee at her private L.A. high school—she’s beautiful, talented, and notorious for her cutting and brutal honesty. So when she puts her foot in her mouth in front of her crush, Andrew, she fears she may have lost him for good.

In an attempt to win him over, Cameron resolves to “tame” herself, much like Katherine in Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. First, she’ll have to make amends with those she’s wronged, which leads her to Brendan, the guy she labelled with an unfortunate nickname back in the sixth grade. At first, Brendan isn’t all that receptive to Cameron’s ploy. But slowly, he warms up to her when they connect over the computer game he’s developing. Now if only Andrew would notice…

But the closer Cameron gets to Brendan, the more she sees he appreciates her personality—honesty and all—and wonders if she’s compromising who she is for the guy she doesn’t even want.

This is a previously published edition of ISBN 9780451481092. An alternative cover edition for this ISBN can be found here.

362 pages, Hardcover

First published April 23, 2019

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About the author

Emily Wibberley

17 books1,749 followers
Emily Wibberley attended Princeton University where she graduated Magna Cum Laude. She now lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Austin Siegemund-Broka, with whom she is author of The Roughest Draft, as well as several love stories for teens.

Visit her and Austin's website at www.emilyandaustinwrite.com.

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5 stars
2,402 (28%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,384 reviews
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,172 reviews98.8k followers
January 6, 2020

ARC provided by Penguin in exchange for an honest review.

“If I was going to commit to someone, I wanted him to be worth the worry, worth the part of me I was going to give him.”

Wow, this truly read like a gift from above. Like, I’m actually bitter than I didn’t have a YA contemporary story like this when I was in high school; because this was perfection. The Taming of the Shrew/10 Things I Hate About You loose retelling, starring a popular mean girl and a nerdy gamer boy, where they go to The Rocky Horror Picture Show together? I mean, it’s everything I’ve ever wanted in my adult life, too. I truly think this will be the best YA contemporary romance I’ve read all year, and these authors are now in a tier all on their own.

Cameron - A senior in high school who wants nothing more than to go to UPenn and to get a summer internship to work with her dad and finally have him be proud of her.

Andrew - Black, and has been friends with Cameron for a really long time, and they are running partners with each other.

Paige - A girl who goes to Cameron’s school, who for sure marches (and dances) to the beat of her own drum.

Brendan - Paige’s brother, who has kept to himself and his video games ever since Cameron called him a really horrible nickname that everyone at their school uses now.

And basically, Cameron is one of the most popular girls in school, and that nickname stuck because her word is law. She and her friend group are known for being rather ruthless, but Cameron is especially known for being completely unattainable and also a complete bitch. Yet, she has finally decided to make a move on Andrew, since she has been secretly crushing on him for over a year. But Cameron completely snaps at a girl who is foiling her moment of telling (and showing) Andre how much she likes him. After that, he can’t really see her the same way, so she vows to be nicer and prove to him that she can change her heartless ways. Yet sometimes, the person we need forgiveness from the most is ourselves.

But when starting the journey to become a nicer person, Cameron quickly realizes that the girl she was mean to is not going to make it easy for her, and she isn’t going to let her forget about the nickname she gave to her brother all those years ago. And friends, Brendan is my new favorite character in all YA literature.

But this is a book all about second chances and how it is never too late to be the person you want to be; just make sure you are becoming the person you truly want to be. And we definitely see Cameron learn this the hard way; from the having to take care of her mom, to the pressure and neglect her father shows her, to everyone in school thinking she’s a heartless bitch, while she is hiding everything that is going on in her life behind the scenes. I loved seeing Cameron’s journey, even if it was a bumpy road, and I just loved Cameron as a main character so damn much.

“The heart of every doubt and insecurity that’s ever weighed me down—that between the only two parents I have, nobody’s ever wanted me.”

Okay other random fangirl things that I adored: What do I talk about in all my reviews? My brother is my best friend in this entire world, and I love reading about strong sibling relationships, so Paige and Brendan really made me happy, especially since Paige constantly tries to be slick, but she truly was her brother’s wingman through and through, and that is so damn relatable. I also really liked how Cameron was older than Brendan. I feel like we never see stories where the girl is in grade higher than the guy, and I was here for it. The LA setting was so realistically and magnificently done. And lastly, I loved seeing all the imperfect family relationships. Cameron, Paige, and Brendan all have such different expectations on them; and all of them suck. I think this is just rep that isn’t really seen that much, especially in YA books, and I really appreciated how real it felt and the importance it played in the story.

“Katherine’s not the villain of the play. It’s the people trying to change her”

Overall, if you couldn’t tell, I just adored this. I immediately want to run to the store or my library and pick up their debut, Always Never Yours, because this book truly blew me and my expectations out of the water. And I fell so in love with these complex and realistic characters. Plus, you all know that I am always going to go completely heart-eyes over a video game playing soft boy, always. Oh, and unrelated, and this doesn’t impact my review whatsoever, but the authors are engaged to one another in real life, and that honestly makes me want to melt into a puddle of goo while finishing writing this review, because talk about partner goals.

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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Trigger and content warnings for side characters cheating, talk of cheating in the past, and emotional and verbally abusive parenting.

Buddy read with Kayla! ❤
Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,479 reviews19.5k followers
August 3, 2019
This was SO GOOD and I am so pissed at myself for putting it off for so long. I’m obsessed. YA contemporary perfection *chef’s kiss*
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.6k followers
June 26, 2019
okay, so emily wibberley and austin siegemund-broka are ultimate couple goals. not only do they write books together, but they write freakin adorable stories with the most wholesome romances. i seriously cant get over it. like, where do i find myself a significant other who can ALSO be my coauthor?! thats the dream right there.

i seriously enjoyed this story so much. i feel like on a surface level, anyone would enjoy this sweet contemporary story. but with the deeper meanings, flawed but relatable characters, and heartfelt lessons, im pretty sure anyone would downright love this. i am just amazed at the complexity of this story, but also how lighthearted it is. its definitely a balance that works in the storys favour.

but most of all, i am such a fan of how both of emily and austins books explore how important it is to be true to yourself and to not change for anyone. that is a theme that they effectively write about, and one that is always good to hear. i think its safe to say that i will read pretty much anything that these two write.

4 stars
Profile Image for emma.
1,869 reviews54.5k followers
January 21, 2020
If I’m being honest…..this was one of the most disappointing reads of the year for me.

(Get it? Because the title is If I’m Being Honest? Buh dum ch.)

It was just...unpleasant. Like, none of this read as even remotely realistic to me? Parents at large were crazy flat nothing-but-evil stereotypes (except at the end, when exactly one of them made a near-explanationless development 180).

And the “friends” from the beginning...who were soon very cruelly replaced with a Ragtag Group of Quirky Teens...what kind of friends??? Insanity City, party of this lunch table. If you want to build characters off of the mean-popular-girl stereotype then go off I guess, but things really fall apart when you try to make three of them friends with each other without giving them any more depth. And also they’re mean - plot twist - to each other, as well. Because, you know, friendship.

Sure. Why not.

I have never so completely NOT clicked with any characters. None of them made sense to me. The way that people interacted with each other was so stilted and unnatural.

Thought this was a contemporary, but honestly considering how much I don’t recognize the world, may as well be fantasy!!!

Except no world building.

I don’t want to talk about this anymore.

Bottom line: I did not care for this!!!


cue the eternal sadness.

review to come / 2 stars


not to be dramatic, but if i don't like this book everything is ruined and i'll be sad forever
Profile Image for Barbie.
109 reviews309 followers
July 1, 2019

My thoughts in a nutshell
I never planned to read this book. It was an instant buy and read because of the cover. I thought it would be an ordinary fluffy YA book. I'm so glad I picked it up. It was so much more than I felt.

The story is about…
Skip over this point if you don't like the sneak peek.
Cameron Bright is an honest girl. Everyone hates her because she says what's on her mind. One day, Cameron's big, old crush Andrew labeled her as one word: bitch. It is a problem. Oooops.

What impressed me
I loved the character development in this novel! Cameron is a super badass girl. I like her, and I understand her whole motive, why she acts like this. Cameron has a lot of personal problems in her life, but she never talks about them. She struggles with a careless father, a mother who lost her dream and nothing motivates her anymore and some high expectations.
Her personality beautifully improves. She learns about herself and she slowly finds out who she truly is. What makes her happy? Who makes her laugh? Who makes her smile? What she really wants in her life?
"If we were meant to be together, you wouldn't have wanted me to change first."

This novel is a journey about a teenager life.
I adored the powerful message.
Don’t change yourself because you’re afraid of what people think. Change yourself because you want to be better.
Don't change yourself to win someone's heart. Stay true and you will find someone who likes you being you.
It is a crucial lesson for both adults and children.

The writing style was great. I liked the evolving friendships. The romance was slow and exciting. I'm glad it wasn't so cliché.

What I don't like
Some part of the book Cameron behaves like a little child. I didn't enjoy those sections. She was rude without reason. It was a bit much.
I don't like the kissing part of the party. It was super weird.

Make a conclusion
Overall, if I'm Being Honest is a perfect summer book. Fluffy, charming, and adorable with a valuable lesson. Excellent beach read, I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to read a light, YA book.
Profile Image for ✨ A ✨ .
432 reviews1,796 followers
February 4, 2021
I thought I was over cutesy YA contemporary.
I guess not

Cameron Bright is your typical popular mean girl. She is the Queen Bee who rules her high school, is brutally honest and is often a bitch.

After embarrassing herself in front of her long time crush Andrew, Cameron is determined to change his perception of her by making amends with everyone she's wronged.

Brendan and his sister are just two of the many people she has hurt over the years. Brendan is not very receptive to Cameron's apologies, but Cameron is stubborn and he slowly warms up to her as they bond over the computer game Brendan created.

I’ve always thought of honesty as helpful even if it’s hurtful.

During the first chapters I wasn't very hopeful. I didn't get why this character was just so completely dislikeable. And then I went back and read the blurb. Yes guys... Once again I jumped in without knowing what I got myself into.

It started out with Cameron being a really horrible person and even after finding out what her home situation is like I found it hard to sympathise with her.

But as the story progressed I started to admire her and her willingness and determination to fix her wrongs. Yes, she did it for the wrong reasons, but it was still admirable.

We love GROWTH in this house — and that's exactly what we got.

Brendan was the cute nerd boy that YA needs. I loved Brendan and Cameron's relationship so much. Their banter was super adorable and made me smile like a crazy person.

I adored the side characters as well. And really liked that the romance wasn't the main focus but that during this journey of becoming a better person, Cameron found nontoxic friends who were good for her.

By the end of the book I felt like a proud mom. Cameron became a better version of herself and I love to see a character change so drastically in the best way possible.

Can't wait to read more by this author duo.

(Also guys... This was written by a couple!! I'm sorry but that is so cute omw)

Buddy reading with Warda, Türkan, Fares and Karima
Profile Image for Christy.
3,915 reviews33k followers
September 6, 2019
5 stars

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I really enjoyed the first book I read by Emily Wibberly and Austin Siegemond-Broka, but I LOVED this book! If I’m Being Honest is a modern retelling of ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ and quite possibly my favorite YA book of the year (so far).

Cameron is a self proclaimed bitch. She’s honest, tells it like it is, and isn’t afraid to hurt someone’s feelings with the truth. She has her core group of friends, the popular kids, and she doesn’t really care what anyone else thinks about her.
If every glare I earned, or didn't earn but received nonetheless, bothered me, I'd drown in the judgment.

Except, she kind of does. She cares what her absent/successful father thinks and wants to make him proud. And she cares that her crush Andrew doesn’t want to go out with her because he witnessed her being not so kind to another girl in her school. To make things right with Andrew, Cameron decides to make amends to those she’s hurt and try to be a little nicer…

Here enters Paige and her brother Brendan. Paige is the girl she was mean to in front of Andrew and Brendan is someone she gave a horrible nickname to in middle school that stuck. As Cameron tries to win them over, she gains two amazing friends in the process. Paige is fun and unlike anyone she is friends with and I loved their friendship. Brendan… sigh. I adored him. What I loved best about Brendan is that Cameron could be her true self with him. She was honest and he liked it.

This book was so dang good. Sometimes being yourself is the best thing you can be, but it doesn’t hurt to try to be kind. I loved that our heroine learned and grew, but was still unapologetically herself. Cameron is one of the best heroines I’ve read about all year. The characters were so well developed, the writing was fantastic and addictive, and the audio book was amazing. I can’t recommend this book enough. I loved it so much!!
Profile Image for Ashley Nuckles.
190 reviews7,203 followers
February 19, 2020
Was not expecting to read this one but there was an ebook sale and I said why the heck not. Super cute! I kept seeing Brendan as the character Penn Badgley plays in John Tucker Must Die and it was glorious.
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,513 reviews29.4k followers
August 19, 2019
4.5 stars.

Cameron Bright, a high school senior, is beautiful, blonde, and popular. She also has a bit of a reputation around school.

"...I've been called that name often enough, under enough breaths, for it not to hurt. Not from a girl like her. It's hardly an uncommon thought here. Cameron Bright's a bitch."

The thing is, while Cameron can be cruel in the way she says things to people, she's really just brutally honest. It's a quality she inherited from her father, whom she never sees, since her parents never lived together, even before she was born. Her father is a tremendous business success, but he's a jerk, and he doesn't mince words—especially not in his interactions with Cameron. Yet she still craves his approval and has planned her future to be closer to him.

One night she's ready to let her good friend Andrew know she has feelings for him. And just as they start getting closer, Cameron has a run-in with Paige, a quirky, moody fellow student, and she lets fly with some cruel insults. Andrew realizes that he isn't interested in being with, well, a bitch, and he suspects that she only wanted to be with him because she finally deemed him socially acceptable.

Devastated by Andrew's rejection, and inspired by her English class's reading of The Taming of the Shrew , Cameron resolves to "tame" herself and prove to Andrew that she's worthy of his attention and has the ability to be a better person. She's determined to make it up to Paige, and then the more she thinks of it, she decides to go back and make amends to all the people she has wronged.

It all seems to start with Brendan, Paige's younger brother, on whom she bestowed a horrible nickname ("Barfy Brendan") years ago, which singlehandedly ruined his social life, leaving him to spend his days in the high school computer lab. As Cameron tries to redeem herself in Brendan's eyes, he wants nothing to do with her at first, until the two start to bond over video games. The more time she spends with Brendan, she realizes that he accepts her, faults and all, and even appreciates her honesty. So why is she trying so hard to change herself for Andrew?

If I'm Being Honest is an utterly charming book about recognizing the fine line between self-improvement and changing yourself completely, and realizing that you shouldn't go changing to try and please someone else. (Thanks, Billy Joel.) It's a story about finding the things that make you happy as opposed to things you believe will make others happy, and believing you are worthy of love and respect.

Sure, you've seen this story before, and you probably can predict how the plot will unfold, but in the hands of Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka, you get hooked on the story from the start. I really liked Cameron's character because she was fairly uncompromising, and while she was a little cruel, it's nice to see a character who speaks her mind, not always with the purpose of hurting others. She has her faults, but there are still so many good qualities in her.

I definitely like the message that this book tries to convey. If I'm Being Honest definitely had me rooting for certain characters and it put me in a good mood, and I was sad when I finished the book. (Plus, any book that has its characters go to The Rocky Horror Picture Show gets points from me!)

This one was a winner!

See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.

Check out my list of the best books I read in 2018 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2018.html.

You can follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.
Profile Image for Kash.
25 reviews24 followers
October 13, 2020
I was looking for something light,
Which would make my day bright,
Then this book caught my eye,
And I just wanted to try.

A popular girl in college,
Is more honest that people acknowledge,
Apologizing didn't really help her,
Time goes by in a blur.

She did everything she could do,
Her chances of winning their hearts grew,
Read the book to know the rest,
It's what I think is the best.

First Contemporary I read in a while,
I am happy it was worthwhile,
It was a quick read,
So now I can proceed.

I read two books in two days!!! This is insane but I'm happy😂. Thank you guys!!
Profile Image for Warda.
1,208 reviews19.7k followers
February 24, 2020
I appreciated this book so much. I loved the message and what it stood for.
I misjudged this story too quickly like I misjudged the main character too quickly. It was a surface level judgement. And as the story went on and more meat was added onto the story, I really grew to care for every part of it all. It had depth, it had substance and more importantly, this story was human.
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,404 reviews11.7k followers
May 2, 2019
Examination of a mean girl this is not, unfortunately. If you want that, Some Girls Are is the way to go.

Cameron is unnecessarily rude and brash, but, after being chastised by her potential love interest, learns relatively quickly to tone it down and becomes a better person, makes new friends and discovers a nerdy boy to love. None of this is particularly new or revelatory. 10 Things I Hate About You, I think, had a better version of The Taming of the Shrew.

More interesting is Cameron's relationship with her failure of a mother and sugar daddy father. Their type of family dysfunction felt fresh to me.

What it comes down to for me though, is that the writing doesn't distinguish itself in any way. Cameron's voice is exactly the same as in a multitude of other YA novels. I've said it about YA fantasies before, and contemporaries have the same problem. It's like YA authors use the same character templates, same conversations, follow the same tropes. You read a Melina Marchetta book, or a Laini Taylor book - and you know their signature writing. You read a Maurene Goo novel, or Jenn Bennett, or Emily Wibberley - and you can't tell them apart.

To be fair, the novel was occasionally entertaining and cute romance-wise. But totally forgettable too.
Profile Image for Michelle.
771 reviews107 followers
July 10, 2020
Cameron Bright is the girl that every guy in school wants to date and the idol that most other girls want to be. She’s bright; she’s beautiful—the only problem— she’s a royal b*tch, and not afraid to admit it. With that type of popularity, there’s a certain persona that must be upheld at Beaumont Prep and she has no problem fulfilling that position.

“ I’ve always thought of honesty as helpful, even if it’s hurtful.”

“If every glare I earned, or didn’t earn but received nonetheless, bothered me, I’d drown in the judgement.”

Cameron has a crush on her friend, Andrew Richmomd , and at first it seems as if the feelings are mutual. However, once he gets a load of her actual personality— he’s no longer interested— nor her biggest fan. But nothing will stop this beauty queen from getting what or who she wants, even if she can’t pinpoint exactly why she desires to be with him so bad in the first place. When it boils down to it, her reasons are superficial. As the new starter on the Beaumont Varsity Soccer Team, they simply “fit” together.

“He’s smart, and he’s unfailingly kind, and he’s proven himself driven and talented. I can imagine having something real with him in a way I never could before. Him making the team was just the final straw.”

Enter protagonist #1, Paige , a girl who has desperation written all over her face. All she wants is to be liked, but Cameron isn’t about to get involved with that train wreck. She set herself up for failure with the worst guy in school, and she’s supposed to feel sorry for her? But she will end up wishing that she treated her much differently once Cameron sees Andrew’s reaction to her repulsive behavior.

“ I try to talk to Andrew today...but he won’t even look at me. Won’t walk my direction in the halls. Won’t anything.”

“ But I don’t give up easily. People who give up don’t deserve what they want.”

Then in walks combatant #2, Brendan, aka “BB” ( Barfy- Boy). He gets violently ill when he has gluten, in which I am able to sympathize with so much because I too have a Celiac Disease. The best part—guess who gave him that catchy nickname? None other than Cameron Bright. She has no regard for other’s feelings and didn’t care how harshly something like that affected him and his time at school.

But, these two enemies cause Cameron to learn a lot not only about others, but about herself. So, she makes an “amends” list at seeks out to try and right her wrongs, but is it far too late to undo the damage that she’s already done?

As the reader gets deeper into this story, we realize that there’s a reason behind Cameron’s negativity— she has a a Dad that could truly care less about her well-being and a mother who couldn’t be farther from having her sh*t together. With no one to look to as a role model, what kind of attitude can you really expect from a teenager?

“ I’m going to have to talk Mom off of a ledge...”

“...It’d be nice If my Dad could even pretend to care about his daughter...”

“It’s like there’s this horrible thing eating me from the inside, and the only way to let it out is to fall apart— or lash out.”

Cameron also begins to compare herself to Katherine in “The Taming of The Shrew”—a classic that they are reading for school. She, too, is brutally honest. Her friend Elle even reasons that, “ Katherine’s not the villain of the play. It’s the people trying to change her.”

At first I didn’t think I was going to like this story based solely upon the main character. Cameron is everything that I can’t stand in a human being. However, in the end she began to grow on me.

I participated in a read-a-thon in March with a few great You-tubers and had the pleasure of meeting and discussing this book with the authors: Austin Siegemund-Broka and Emily Wibberley on March 28, 2020. They are both delightful; talented individuals who I wish nothing but the best for. As high-school sweethearts that are now happily married, they make the perfect writing duo.

I have since purchased one of their other novels , “Always Never Yours” and I hope to read it very soon.

5 stars and beyond!

Profile Image for She-who-must-not-be-named .
180 reviews1,242 followers
April 1, 2020
I was captivated by the synopsis and so, I picked up this book. The plot and the drama were cool and the writing style was neither too heavy nor too frugal.

The best part about the book is its theme: You should always embrace your real self and not change yourself for someone else. And it was beautifully portrayed by the character, Cameron Bright- she spoke her mind and was really upfront about things (she WASN'T being a bitch) and with every passing chapter, she just got more and more loveable.

The story was deeply engaging and I felt like I was connected to it right from the first chapter. It was a great contemporary read :)
Profile Image for h o l l i s .
2,476 reviews1,893 followers
July 6, 2019
IF I'M BEING HONEST is something of a love letter to the archetype of the mean girl. The girl who is pretty, blonde, popular and always there with a harsh barb. What these authors do with that character, however, is somewhat different from what we've come to expect.

If every glare I earned, or didn't earn but received nonetheless, bothered me, I'd drown in the judgment.

Cameron is beautiful, blonde, popular.. but she's not rich. She doesn't have a string of broken hearts in her past -- infact, she's been very purposefully single for two years. She has plans for her life and she executes them accordingly, each task an item on her list to be crossed off. She's methodical because it's something she can control. Because her home life is complicated, fraught with emotional minefields, and her honesty -- her drive -- is a direct result of the neglect and belittling from her father, and the disdain she has for her mother's string of failed jobs, failed motivation, failed ability to parent. Cameron feels driven to prove to her successful, and absent, father that she can be worthy of his attention, worthy of his love, that she is unlike her mother who earns only his scorn. She puts in the work because she can see, with her own two eyes, that work gets results.

Which is why she spends a year planning out her perfect relationship. She meets the guy, likes the guy, and waits. She wants to see that he has drive, has ambition. And when she finally makes her move.. it, unfortunately, backfires. And the boy in question no longer wants her, much less likes her, as a result.

I didn't understand it at first. Wouldn't a person be a better friend if they told the truth? [..] I've always thought of honesty as helpful even if it's hurtful.

It's in studying THE TAMING OF THE SHREW that Cameron sees so much of herself in the main character and decides to reinvent herself, to prove herself worthy of being liked, to soften her edges; to self-tame. And so begins her road of apologies, of amends, to reinvent herself.

"I would have to be pretty desperate to put my fate in the hands of Cameron Bright, the girl who wrecked my life in the first place."
"Grant, you passed desperate when you were modelling lingerie for the innocent bystanders in a bookstore."

IF I'M BEING HONEST is a retelling/reimagining of the aforementioned Shakespeare play, as well as Ten Things I Hate About You, and honestly? By about ten percent I wanted to shout my love of this book from the rooftops. It was funny, it was unflinching, it was heartfelt, it was raw. The evolution, not only of Cameron but the relationships -- platonic and romantic -- was so.. organic? Genuine? Real? Sure, it occasionally journeyed a somewhat expected path as far as plot progression, and emotional speed bumps, but it was the strong writing, and the solid characters, that carried it. That, infact, made it soar.

The ending doesn't wrap everything in a bow; not every broken or bruised relationship is mended, not everyone is perfect and pleasant. The characters don't change, they evolve. They don't just apologize, they forgive.

Nobody's ever bothered to figure out what would be the exact right thing to say to me. What I need to hear.

This book made me laugh (a lot), tear up (a few times), and even had a few less-than-subtle 'these characters are from our first book' cameos shoehorned in at near the end. I didn't even really mind, even if it felt a little clunky, and I have no problem taking the hint and have, in fact, already put a hold on that first book. But other than that little tease, this is a true standalone, so don't worry about missing anything.

It's like there's this horrible thing eating me from the inside, and the only way to let it out is to fall apart -- or to lash out. To leave someone else with hurt and doubt and insecurity just to know they know how it feels.

If you appreciate characters being unfiltered and far from perfect, as well as a story that has plenty of grand gestures, fandom, and real issues that never cross the line into overwrought drama, you should definitely pick this one up. Sure it doesn't get full marks from me but it's really close. All the greatness is great and even the stuff I didn't super love.. it's still so good. This is a perfect summer-y kind of read, because it'll make you feel good, but don't expect too much fluff (not used in a derogatory way). This definitely has substance, and weight, and will be well worth your time.


This review can also be found at A Take From Two Cities.
Profile Image for EmBibliophile.
531 reviews1,354 followers
June 17, 2019
3.5 stars

“Katherine’s not the villain of the play. It’s the people trying to change her”

if I’m being honest, This was a really good book.

A really enjoyable quick read where an unapologetically honest girl figure herself out.

I didn’t have high expectations before I start this book, but the fact that it’s based on 10 things I hate about you with Taming of the shrew references made me excited to read it.
This is a book about becoming who you truly want to be, not who everyone trying to make you. It’s about making amends. It was a really cute entertaining book.

If every glare I earned, or didn't earn but received nonetheless, bothered me, I'd drown in the judgment.
Profile Image for Madalyn (Novel Ink).
499 reviews826 followers
March 1, 2019
Much like this duo’s debut, I super enjoyed this! I appreciate that their MCs are never your typical YA MC, but they also don’t play into the “not like other girls” mentality. I will admit, Cameron really frustrated me toward the end of the book— and I say that as someone who rarely gets annoyed by characters in books— but overall, I loved her character arc. Also looooooved the romance. And the cameo by Owen and Megan at the end of the book?! I died.
Profile Image for Rue.
273 reviews216 followers
September 11, 2021
I finished it and guess what it doesn't get any better. Atleast for me it didn't 🤷

6 June 2020
Look I tried...
I just can't get into books that read like Wattpad fanfic.
Maybe I'll read one chapter per year. So I can still be attached to Cameron.
Untill then Adios I'm...

Tried Buddy Reading it with You know who, and failed 😂
(DNFed at 51% chapter 23)
Profile Image for Dahlia.
Author 15 books2,497 followers
November 22, 2018
I am here for this duo forever and ever. Always fun, always voice-y with great heroines, always banterrific, and I love how they handle Shakespeare. Bring on the next one, please!
Profile Image for Cindy ✩☽♔.
1,096 reviews803 followers
September 18, 2019
This writing duo is at it again. And it is even more gush worthy as the last.

I loved this one even more than Always Never Yours. I read it all in one day with pleasure and ease. It's fierce, smart, witty and charming as are its characters.

*Review to come*
Profile Image for Jenna | Bookmark Your Thoughts.
182 reviews97 followers
May 26, 2019
"I know the truth can hurt, even when you need to hear it."

Reviews on this novel have been circling around a lot in the book blogging community, ARC's and eager beaver buyers alike. I'm fond of retelling's WHEN done RIGHT and the reviews made this novel sound VERY promising, so I decided to give it a shot ... it's also just a lovely cover. Much to my surprise, this has jumped high on my favourite reads of 2019! The flow of the story, the HILARIOUS main character and accompanied side characters, the morals explored in this story ... I can't get my head around how brilliant this novel is ... I read it in TWO sitting sessions, which is a lot for me. I'm eager to read more by Wibberley and Siegemund-Broka!

CONTENT & TRIGGER WARNING: This book contains abuse (emotional, verbal), bullying and divorce.

Spoiler Free! Full review available at Bookmark Your Thoughts.

The Pros

The snippets of real world sensations makes this novel a WHOLE new level of relatable! From famous YouTubers to cosplay, there's no end to this real world exploration. Not only does this make it easier to understand the characters' lives more, but it makes the reading experience fresh and entertaining. I loved being able to relate to so many things mentioned in this novel, such as simply knowing what IMDb is to knowing the realm of cosplay. The "movie event" (you'll know it when you read it) was a big one for me, since I've done this myself in university and it was a BLAST! But it's also the more serious things, such as people wanting to explore computer sciences as a degree STILL being ridiculed ... even though we live in such a technology dependent society. Having something to connect to just made the experience even greater!

A comical retelling of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, but with a positive and healthy outcome. The biggest (but not only) downfall in Shakespeare's play was the treatment of Katherine. Sure, she's an awful person ... but she doesn't deserve the torture and embarrassment inflicted upon her, nor the complete destruction and recreation of her identity. But in If I'm Being Honest, Cameron doesn't succumb to this fate. Wibberley and Siegemund-Broka's create a beautiful rendition of the "Reformed Bully Trope", showing Cameron's initial self-motivated means for doing good deeds to her desire to actually become a better person. And unlike Katherine, Cameron is STILL Cameron --- her traits and dreams and quirks remain the same, but her way of socializing and interacting with others changes in a positive light throughout the novel.

This is more than another love story ... it's a story about acceptance and breaking down social norms. The class clown, the jock, the nerd, the outcast ... humans are too complex to be broken into such specific categories. Being an athlete doesn't mean you aren't intelligent ... being a nerd doesn't make you socially awkward. Wibberley and Siegemund-Broka take apart these "standards" and "stereotypical" groups by showing characters' complex personalities and interests, intermingling the "defined groups" and showing their similarities, and watching Cameron's character growth. This is what MY high school experience was like, so it was lovely to see something I could actually associate with in my own life.

Character growth ... character growth EVERYWHERE!! Now as you all may know, I THRIVE on character oriented novels. Guys ... this did NOT disappoint! Cameron goes through SUCH a large change throughout the story. But what's better? She's not the only one ... almost all the major reoccurring characters go through this experience, whether big or small. Not all have the outcome we hope for. Some don't take the "Cameron method", and that's okay ... it makes the story feel more REALISTIC when everything isn't tied into a neat and happy bow. Life's messy, as Wibberley and Siegemund-Broka are not afraid to illustrate. I also truly loved how If I'm Being Honest emphasizes NOT to judge someone by how their life "appears" to be. Seeing into all of their worlds, Wibberley and Siegemund-Broka explore how people portray their lives can be deceiving ... how we need to learn to judge less and have more patience in our lives.

The Woes

Even though the novel's already close to 400 pages long, there was still a VAST amount of content to explore! Typically, reading this large of a novel's quite enough for me; however, there were areas that felt incomplete when I finished If I'm Being Honest. For one, the exploration between Cameron's relationship with her mom is something I really wanted the novel to dive into. There's some discussion, but it's brushed aside fairly quickly. Cameron's relationship with her mom and dad are main reasons for her "behaviour", so not having this addressed more kind of bothered me. I also felt this way with Cameron and Brendan. I wanted to see Cameron learn to open up more with him, showing her vulnerable side as their friendship blossoms.


If I'm Being Honest is a brilliantly written coming of age novel, exploring in-depth character analysis and fighting stereotypes one chapter at a time. As someone who struggles with longer novels, this didn't feel REMOTELY close to 400 pages. With a desire to have more time with these amazing characters and this grandiose plot, I wasn't ready to let it go at the end. Though I felt shorthanded with some character connections in the novel, this is my ONLY complaint about this novel. I enjoyed it so much that I plan to re-read it again in the near future. This is a perfect summer read, full of funny commentary and moral complexity to spice things up a bit. Have you picked up your copy yet?
Profile Image for Brooke — brooklynnnnereads.
1,035 reviews248 followers
September 13, 2019
I thought that I liked the first novel, "Always Never Yours" more than enough but if I'm being honest (see what I did there) I liked this novel so much more.

Going into this novel, I thought that it would be a cute contemporary romance. I thought it would be cute, fluffy, and all of the soft descriptors that you could think of. Basically a cute 'chick flick'. However, it was way more than they average contemporary romance. In fact, even though the story does feature a romance, I would say the overall message of this story is more important than that romance. It's an emotional and powerful journey of self-discovery for the main character Cameron.

As always, I don't want to spoil anything so this review will be kept vague. I will say that I love how these authors are retelling/reimagining classic literature in a way that is relatable to readers in this modern world. I personally have not read "Taming of the Shrew" but after reading this novel, I want to. I think that fact alone, with readers discovering an interest in classic literature after reading this novel, it's revolutionary. Both of these authors should be immensely proud of themselves because not only have they written a beautiful story, but they will will have introduced other readers to classic literature that they may not have been interested in before.

I'm excited to read more from this duo. Even though this is only the second novel that I've read from them, I'm more and more pleasantly surprised with each subsequent novel that they have published.

Also, a random side note, I'm not going to say who (or when) but if you have read the first novel, "Always Never Yours", expect an enjoyable cameo in this novel from a couple of beloved characters.

***Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review***
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,739 reviews709 followers
November 15, 2020
3.5 stars

Cameron excels at being an unlikable character. She’s brash and abrasive and calls it being honest. I really enjoyed the second set of friends: Paige is delightful and Brenden is all marshmallow fluff. I couldn’t get enough.

Plot wise, it was good. The upside to Cameron’s attitude is that it made me really invested in her growth. I did enjoy how she stars to use her honesty for good and how she (ever so slowly) realizes her worth. I could have done with a million more pages of an epilogue, but I think they deserved it.

Overall, it was a quick read with characters who kept me interested. Now I’m hoping for an extended HEA slash cameo in the next book

**Huge thanks to Viking BFYR for providing the arc free of charge**
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