Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Virgin, by Radhika Sanghani--New Adult Book Review

 I got an arc copy of this through Netgalley. In honor of it's release on August 5, here's a review. Run out and get it on Tuesday!

VirginVirgin by Radhika Sanghani

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5 stars

I love books that make me laugh. That's all there is to it. If a book can make me laugh out loud even once, it's pretty much guaranteed 3 stars even if it's crap. And this book is not crap.

In short, it's about a girl trying to lose her virginity. But it's also about so much more. Considering the shallow topic/plot of the book, I was expecting it to be a lot of fluff. But for someone who places such importance on such a thing as virginity, our protagonist is actually smart and somewhat empowered. It was a very female book, and even though it has a great message about accepting ourselves, it is definitely not for everyone (especially those uncomfortable with the word "vagina"). This book is all about loving oneself completely, as our protag Ellie learns to do.

But aside from the important feminist issues cloaked in the silly, candy-coated shell, this book is just real. It's like reading someone's diary--someone very honest with herself. I doubt most people are even this honest in their diaries, so I applaud the author for not shying away from squirm-inducing topics. On top of that, the characters are loveable as well as real and honest. Even when some parts get predictable or obvious(her mom walking in on her, Jack talking about someone else), they still work. You are waiting for them to happen, cringing because you know they will, but it doesn't make them any less painful when they do.

By the end of the book, when I hit the 90% mark, I was so invested that I got a bit teary-eyed when Ellie is rejected. I wanted to punch the guy...but I also wanted to say, "Yes, this exact thing happened to me!" It didn't, but this book felt so real that for a second, I thought it had. I WAS Ellie in that moment. I've had enough similar situations that it felt completely real. And that's where this book succeeds--because we've all been rejected, or misread the signs, or gotten our hopes up, or gotten crushed and had to pick ourselves up and start over (and the lucky ones have had friends as good as Ellie's to bring wine, encouragement and their own horror stories).

I would recommend this frank, hilarious book to just about all women, but especially those in the 18-30 age group. THIS is the new-adult book I've been waiting for. THIS is the book I was excited to read when I heard about the new-adult category. Not another romance with a generic plot-line and carbon-copy characters.

I could not stop reading this book. I found every excuse I could to read more of it. I used precious moments when I should have been doing other things, but all I wanted to do was keep reading. It made me laugh. It made me cry. It made me become the character. It grabbed me and didn't let go. All that adds up to a 5-star read. This book may not change your life, but it will make you feel good. Sometimes, that's enough all by itself. Not every book needs to be THE NEXT BIG THING. This book is like it's message--it doesn't try to be something it's not. And that's just fine with me. For what it is, it's perfect in itself.

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