Monday, February 6, 2017

Review: OUR OWN PRIVATE UNIVERSE by Robin Talley

by Robin Talley
Publication Date: January 31, 2017
Published by Harlequin Teen
Pages: 384
Source: Media Masters Publicity
Purchase Amazon | B&N | Indiebound


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.

My Thoughts

OUR OWN PRIVATE UNIVERSE - oh, what can I say about this book - is everything. 

It's not only a story about falling in love, testing theories, exploring sexuality.

It's about youth activism and advocacy and using your voice - and finding the courage to be true to yourself to be true toward others. 

It's about making huge life decisions, independent decisions and taking in consideration the consequences of those decisions.

It's about friendships and how they change and evolve, and it's about jealousy and betrayals.

It's a story about acceptance - of family, of society, of self.

But yes, most of all, it's a story about love - beautiful, scary, overwhelming, real love.

And all of this happens in one summer. 

Robin Talley does take on a lot of issues in OUR OWN PRIVATE UNIVERSE, but everything does happen simultaneously and life events aren't separate from world events. Nothing exists in a vacuum. Everything is connected in some way affecting us, shaping who we are. 

What I liked:
  • Aki was a stargazer "In that moment, it felt like we were the entire world. Just me and those gorgeous stars." (pg. 24)
  • Aki's relationship with her brother and their need to be honest with each other - their bond was special
  • Aki understood the responsibility of taking her physical relationship with Christa further- and how this wasn't presented as shameful 

Favorite Quote:

" ... I had this theory.
Granted, all I ever had were theories. That was the whole problem. My life, all fifteen years of it had all been about the hypothetical and never about the actual." (pg. 11)

I loved Aki and her curiosity and her willingness to take chances and be brave and explore her relationships and use her voice. I truly adored this book. I know that it is one that I will come back to again and reread because once just won't be enough.

Disclaimer:  I received this ARC from Media Masters Publicity in exchange for my honest review.  I was not compensated in any way other than the ARC provided. Quotes used here may differ from the final published version. Thoughts and opinions are my own.


  1. I am really looking forward to this one. I still haven't read Robin Talley yet but have multiple of her books on my TBR. Glad you enjoyed this one. Great review!

  2. This book sounds wonderful. I'm usually wary of contemporary novels, but I like that it covers such a broad array of topics. Thanks for the review Joli!

  3. I haven't read any Robin Talley yet, though she's on my shelf waiting. I LOVE the sound of this one but..

    My only thing no one else has brought up is the church aspect. How religious is it and are they like missionaries out there? Is it preachy or pushy?


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