Author: Radhika Sanghani
Genre: Contemporary, new adult
Publication Date: August 5, 2014
Kindle edition: 304 pages
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
How did I get this book: Netgalley
NOTE: I was provided with an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Berkley for letting me read this.
Let’s start with a brief synopsis from Goodreads:
Okay, I admit it…I didn’t do it.
This is normal, right? I mean, just because everyone I know has talked like they’ve already done it doesn’t mean that they’re telling the truth…right?
It’s not like I’m asking for that much. I don’t need the perfect guy. I don’t need candlelight or roses. Honestly, I don’t even need a real bed.
The guys I know complain that girls are always looking for Mr. Right—do I have to wear a sign that says I’m only looking for Mr. Right Now?
Sooooo…anyone out there want sex? Anyone? Hello? Just for fun?
I am not going to die a virgin. One way or another I am going to make this happen.
Hey, what have I got to lose? Besides the obvious.
What I thought:
*PARENTAL ADVISORY ADVISED for this review. It may be unsuitable for young readers.*
If you couldn’t tell from that synopsis, this book is clever, laugh-out-loud funny, and well, actually quite meaningful and honest. This book is an authentic and evocative portrayal of what it’s like growing up in a society so obsessed with sex and whether or not you’ve had it. It’s about relationships and yes, sex, including all the parts of sex that you don’t normally discuss with people – well, personally, I’ve never discussed the state of my [WARNING: might be something icky you don’t want to read] pubes with my friends. I think, just like the blog that two of the main characters start, this book can be a bit of a go-to for teenage girls who don’t get to talk about this stuff or have a lot of questions about all things sex. I do think some people will not want to read a book that gets as graphic as this, so I will say that you should avoid it if you don’t want to read about a girl learning how to give a BJ (via YouTube instructional video) or whether or not she should shave her pubes. I was fine with most of it, but there was one part that was a little too gross for me. Ellie, the main character, goes into a lot of detail about the fact that she’s a virgin, and we get her SUPER awkward stories about what she has done. However, she once says that she is [possibly inappropriate for young readers] “definitely going to give him access to my untouched hymen tonight.” GROSS. That phrasing was unnecessary, I think.
On the other hand, Ellie is honest about her sex life (or lack thereof). Her thoughts on sex and pubes and everything else felt so true and relatable. Again, I don’t usually discuss these types of things, but what girl hasn’t thought about all of this? She’s pretty self-deprecating in the beginning and not accepting of her own virginity (though no one else seems to really care that much), but she grows a lot in the book. The book is also written conversationally, so it was like the reader was discussing everything with Ellie (graphic or romantic or otherwise) like we were chatting over a beer at a pub.
Two things that irritated me: Ellie and her friend Emma start a blog about vaginas. A vagina blog. So they call it a vlog. Now if you’re someone who likes YouTube or the internet, you know a vlog is actually a video blog (like TheVlogBrothers or Tyler Oakley or Danisnotonfire). Every single time the word vlog was mentioned in this book, I had to remind myself it wasn’t a video blog. That got annoying. The author is young; she should’ve known what a vlog was. I just think a different word should’ve been used. Also, Ellie worries about whether she’ll get “Magna Cum Laude” or “Summa Cum Laude” with her degree. This may not bother everyone, but this book is set in London; in the UK, these types of designations are not given (I checked with my Scottish friend). Again, this won’t bother everyone, but it got on my nerves. It was probably the publisher trying to help Americans understand, but they left in things like a “First” degree (actually written as 1st in the UK usually) and “revising” (which means studying). I know these two things were small, but they irritated me so I wanted to mention them.
The bottom line: Virgin is a highly entertaining, funny, relatable, honest read. I think it will be good for teenage girls who have questions about sex or virgins who want to know more or really anyone who is or wants to be sexually active. It’s a very enjoyable read.
Rating: 8 – freaking fantastic
Reading next: Struck by Lightning by Chris Colfer