REVIEW: A Girl Called Shameless by Laura Steven

It’s been two months since a leaked explicit photo got Izzy O’Neill involved in a political sex scandal that got national coverage. The Bitches Bite Back movement is gathering momentum online, and when a girl at school has a sex tape shared online, Izzy feels a fresh surge of anger and pain as she leads the charge against slut-shaming. Izzy and her best friends Ajita and Meg use comedy to fight back as they want to change the state law on revenge porn and get people to listen to them.

A read and reviewed The Exact Opposite of Okay at start of the year and I absolutely loved it. I’m very happy to say that A Girl Called Shameless is a more than worthy sequel.

A Girl Called Shameless is an enthralling book. It’s the sort of book you can read in a day because of how fast-paced it is, how layered and funny the characters are, and how it balances tough topics with levity and teenage-relatability.

In A Girl Called Shameless, Izzy and her friends start a movement to get the law changed as in her state revenge porn is legal. It was a great look at grassroots activism, how the pressure and desire for change can be almost suffocating, but also how there can be a lot of support out there. One thing that I thought worked really well is how through this book, the feelings Izzy felt when her explicit photos were shared online haven’t necessarily gone away. She might put on a front, but she is still hurt and angry and her confidence has taken a knock too.

Izzy has a lot going on in her life and it was good that it showed that not everything goes well all the time. Izzy finally gets a part-time job to help her grandmother pay the bills, she has an agent for her scriptwriting, she has school, and she also has this role of an activist. Izzy gets pushed to breaking point in this book, and sometimes she breaks, but she’s got a great support system around her and a strong sense of self so she keeps moving forward.

A Girl Called Shameless is even more inclusive with its message. Being against slut-shaming and fighting to get revenge porn made illegal is still the main focus of the novel, but it brings in other areas of oppression albeit sometimes briefly. There is a trans girl at Izzy’s school that gets involved with the Bitches Bite Back website, writing articles about how trans people can be affected by revenge porn. Izzy’s boyfriend Carson is black and the two of them talk about his fear of the police and the Black Lives Matter movement. It’s a sharp shock when Izzy realises that Carson might not feel comfortable or safe to join a protest with her, because the police mean a different thing to him.

A Girl Called Shameless is funny, thoughtful and empowering. Izzy’s friends and family are just as important and complex as in the first book, and the narrative style of being written in blog posts with interjections from future-Izzy was great too. 5/5.

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6 comments

    1. Yay! It’s always a pleasure to hear my ramblings has encouraged someone to seek out a book 🙂
      I would recommend reading the first book, The Exact Opposite of Okay, first though. You could read this one independently but I think it adds more to the story knowing more about what Izzy went through

      1. oh good to know because I request the first one to be sent to my local library as they at least had it in stock – so I will definitely get it first. I started reading a new book last night that is one of my book club reads called “The Cabin at the End of the World” by Paul Tremblay – I stayed up till 4am reading.. not usually my kind of book – but the writing is so good and the storyline just sucked me in!! I might start putting up some book reviews also as why not.. I love to read also and have my whole life long! 🙂

      2. Came back to tell you – I just finished ‘The Exact Opposite of Okay’ and I LOVED it.. it might be YA – but it can apply to almost anyone.. Thank you for the recommendation on this and now just have to wait for the second book to get to the library. Thanks again..looking forward to reading the Proposal next from your other list.. From now on, you are my book person! hahahahaha

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