Everyone’s Thinking It | Aleema Omotoni


Everyone’s Thinking It by Aleema Omotoni

Out September 5, 2023 from HarperCollins; 292 pages 

Content Warning: Racism, blackface, homophobia

About the Author: “Aleema Omotoni is a British-Nigerian author. She writes novels that centre Black teens coming of age, falling in love, and navigating all kinds of contemporary and fantasy worlds. She loves musical theatre, astrophysics and rainy Autumn days” (Bio from Author’s Website). 

Find Aleema Omotoni on the following platforms: 

“If these messages are true, it’s not like anyone could know these intimate things about the group that practically runs our year. It has to be someone on the inside. Right?”

Iyanu has always stayed on the outside at Wodebury, an elite boarding school in England. Hidden behind the lens of her camera, she’s observant, resourceful, and incredibly skilled at photography. Iyanu’s cousin Kitan couldn’t be more different – Kitan befriends the most popular girls, Heather and Sarah, and fits in perfectly as the orchestra’s leader of the first violin section. Iyanu and Kitan fell out long ago, only interacting during the year twelve committee meetings. After the school’s matchmaking event where students are paired up for dates to the ball, Iyanu’s photographs of the event are stolen. Iyanu’s pictures resurface as polaroids that circle the school with everyone’s secrets on them. As chaos ensues throughout Wodebury, everyone in the committee is desperate to uncover the truth. Will Kitan and Iyanu be able to unravel the mystery, or will the drama from the Polaroids stand in everyone’s way?

Everyone’s Thinking It addresses many pressing issues regarding race, class, and queer identities all while captivating readers in a gripping mystery. Wodebury houses a mixture of different races and cultures with students from around the world – Kitan from Nigeria, Nivan from Spain, and Luc from France to name a few. Omotoni not only highlights the beautiful differences in her expertly crafted characters, but also draws attention to Kitan and Iyanu’s real-life experiences as some of the few Black girls at Wodebury through a split point of view. Kitan observes again and again how the rugby players find ways to not be paired with her at the matchmaking event, and Iyanu faces microaggressions. Both girls become completely appalled at Heather’s blackfishing and eventual blackface. Omotoni expresses the clear issues with Heather’s actions, and, importantly, describes how deeply this affected Kitan and Iyanu as Black women. In addition to the principal focus on race, Omotoni includes representation of LGBTQ+ characters throughout, and infuses the novel’s language with words from the Nigerian language Yorùbá. These inclusions, along with all thrilling aspects of the novel, make this a must-read for fans of One of Us Is Lying and those looking for a diverse addition to the YA mystery genre. Alongside the mystery is also a wonderful, enthralling romance. Iyanu struggles with her crush on childhood best-friend, Quincy, while Kitan navigates feelings for fellow violin player, Oliver. In all, Omotoni deserves endless praise for this inclusive and meaningful novel full of twists, friendship, fights, lies, and an invaluable perspective on the experiences of Black women. 

(Pine Reads Review would like to thank NetGalley and SparkPoint Studio for sending us a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes are taken from an advanced copy and may be subject to change before final publication.)

Mireya Borgen, Pine Reads Review Editor & Writer