OPHELIA AFTER ALL by RACQUEL MARIE
A REVIEW by ALEXA DUNCAN
Ophelia After All by Raquel Marie is a heartfelt story about love, friendship, and the pain of growing up. The book follows our main character, Ophelia Rojas, and her tight-knit friend group as they muddle through their senior year of high school–taking tests, doing homework. waiting for prom. It’s not a plot heavy book, definitely on the “quieter” side of YA, but for what it lacks in plot. it makes up for in characterization. Ophelia is a bright and hopelessly romantic character. She loves gardening, Cuban food, and boys. Lots of boys. Or so everyone, including Ophelia herself, thinks.
Along with Ophelia, we have a number of different characters who make up her friend group. Sammie, her best friend and next door neighbor. Agatha, her fashion-forward friend who wants to go to art school, and Lindsey, the beautiful, popular girl who decides she’s running for prom queen. Some later additions into the group are Zaq, an artist, Wesley, who wants to draw comic books one day, and Talia, the brainy math wiz Ophelia can’t stop thinking about. All these characters are diverse in race and sexuality–Ophelia is half-Cuban and questioning, Wesley is Korean-American and asexual, and Talia is Puerto-Rican and Black. While it can get a little confusing to the reader having so many characters, Marie does a great job at differentiating them and giving them their own unique wants and personality traits.
Ophelia, however, is the character we spend the most time with, given that the book is from her point of view. There’s a very Gen Z quality to this story–the dialogue is snappy and fast and often funny–and Ophelia is so earnest that it’s hard not to like her as a main character. This story is, at its heart, a story about finding who you are, even if you think you already know. I liked Lindsey less than the other characters–it seems like she exists to form the love triangle that is very much present throughout the story–but I loved the rest of the characters. I have a soft spot for Wesley, whose kindness helps Ophelia come to terms with herself and her sexuality.
Ophelia After All is a beautiful story of friendship and identity. You can pick it up at the Oreana Library today!