The Opposite of Innocent

Image of The Opposite of Innocent
Release Date: 
September 4, 2018
Reviewed by: 

“Sones’ fans are sure to enjoy this harrowing tale of obsession, abuse, and ultimately, empowerment.”

The Opposite of Innocent is a YA novel for the #MeToo era, crafted in deceptively simple verse that packs a punch. Fourteen-year-old Lily has been in love with family friend Luke ever since she was a little girl, telling him she was going to marry him when she grew up. And he’d always smile down and say, “I’ll wait for you, Lily, I promise.”

Now Luke has been away for two years, and when he returns, Lily’s body has matured, but her heart still harbors that same crush. Is she imagining those lingering looks between the two of them? Could 29-year-old Luke possibly return her feelings in a new, grownup way? After a stolen kiss breaks the ice, things progress. At first it seems as if Lily’s dream is coming true, but as matters with Luke escalate, it quickly ends up as her nightmare.

Sones does a terrific job of capturing innocent teen longing with poems like:


I feel like a book.

Like a book

That’s never been opened—

Hidden away in a long-forgotten library,

Waiting for someone to find me,

Ease me off

My shelf

And read me.

Phrases like “obsessive love sucks” and concerns about going to “second base” convey the protagonist’s all-consuming emotions in credible teenage language. Lily’s friends Rose and Taylor are believable, caring, and supportive, refusing to cover for Lily when she wants to slip away from a sleepover and meet Luke. But Lily’s crush will not be denied, until all at once it’s too late, and Luke reveals his true nature as a sexual predator.

The Opposite of Innocent is a powerful page-turner that pulls no punches and couldn’t be timelier if it tried. Sones’ fans are sure to enjoy this harrowing tale of obsession, abuse, and ultimately, empowerment.