Review: Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley


Title: Our Own Private Universe

Author: Robin Talley

Genre: YA Contemporary

Publication Date: January 31, 2017

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I received an advanced copy of this book from Harlequin Teen.

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.

I honestly don’t know where to start with this book. There were just so many good things, and so many topics I’m glad that Robin Talley included. So many important topics got rep throughout this book, such as safe sex, sexuality and the many ways to define it, and coming out.

Without to many spoilers, I cannot say how glad I am that there was character rep for all different “stages” of coming out. We had characters who were openly gay, characters who were out to some people, and characters that were not out. I think that so many LGBTQIA teens are going to be able to find themselves at least somewhere in this book. This book wasn’t the typical “coming out” story that seems to be dominating the LGBTQIA genre, and we got to see topics discussed that aren’t usually touched on.

I was ecstatic to see depictions of Aki researching what constitutes safe sex between two women. She admits that she doesn’t know what’s involved, and she actually makes a point of wanting any sexual contact she has to be safe, and I was totally cheering her on and figuratively patting her on the back. I would love to see more of this across the YA genre in general.

The beginning of the story drags a bit, so I docked it down a star. However, the rest of the book totally made up for a slow start, and Robin Talley has crafted a story that is both entertaining and informative. I give it 4 out of 5 stars. Thank you to Harlequin Teen for sending me an early copy!


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