Normally I'm not a big fan of reading stories told from the point of views from two different characters, mostly because the characters end up sounding so similar that I usually can't tell who's point of view it is if I forget. This was, thank God, not the case this time.
Millie was a ray of sunshine, she was so positive, and it was honestly refreshing to see a character like this. Not that there aren't positive characters in fiction, but Millie did it in a way that was practical and real and didn't grate on your nerves. Because you're in her head you can see her thought process and how much effort and energy it takes for her to be this positive all the time especially considering the people she deals with and the kind of treatment she gets.
I love the way that the topic of weight and fatness and the stereotypes that people have about those things affect the everyday lives of folks who are fat. The little things that people don't think have any effect you see through Millie that they do and the kind of resentment that can build up over time when you have to grin and bear it.
I thought Millie's relationship with her mother was a great aspect of the story to look into and the miscommunication that the two experience and how it affects her relationship. And I could relate to what it feels like to have that kind of relationship with your parent, to follow orders for so long that your parent kind of stops hearing you at some point until things blow up and they have to.
Millie was a very real character, she had her hopes and her dreams and her feelings and I love that you get to experience the learning process with her as she learns about asexuality and what that means for her friend and about different types of struggles.
I think my favourite thing about this book was the amount of diversity that was present which was great because it's reflective of the world that we live in. It was very reflective of something I saw online a while ago that went, "If there's no reason for all of your characters to be white and straight then they don't need to be." And I love that the author explored that just because you were part of one minority group didn't mean you were excused from having prejudiced thoughts or being discriminatory of other minority groups. We love intersectionality.
I could relate to Callie, personality-wise. She had a lot of negative aspects to her like she was vindictive, rigid, high-key an asshole, a little self-centered, and a little superficial and shallow. And it took me a minute to admit to myself that I had those qualities as well.
I liked seeing Callie's character arc because she managed to maintain the essence of who she was as a character while also showing growth as a person. She was a little bit much to handle in the beginning, even I found myself thinking, "Ok sis, maybe take a nap and calm down."
And I'm sure literally every single person I'm friends with has had the same thought about me multiple times.
I'm doing a worse job of describing Callie but I can't really put it into words and I think it was because I connected to her so much that I just get it. Almost everything from the way that she behaved and reacted to things was somewhere along the lines of what I would say or do when confronted with the same situation.
There was one particular situation that stood out and was impressionable on me. At one point Callie prints out and distributes posters all over her school some secrets about several members of what used to be her dance team and I had found myself in pretty much the same situation at one point this year (minus the dance team and the vandalism etc).
Unlike Callie, I had the sense of mind in time to not go through with that decision. But it was interesting to me to see exactly what my consequences might have looked like if I had, how I would've made that person feel, and most of all, the regret that I no doubt would have felt if I had gone through with it. And the lesson that you shouldn't act on things when you're high on anger and adrenaline and have skewed details.
And what also really stood out to me is when Millie said to Callie that she chooses to be the way that she is and that she didn't have to. And it's true, because while Callie is a good person, she's not a nice person or a kind person, for her it's a choice that she has to actively make and I got it.
It's just been a really long time since I've read a character that I've understood on such a deep and personal level that it's actually left me in awe I'm not gonna lie. And if you can't relate to either of these characters, maybe you'll have some understanding that you didn't have before.