Blog Tour: Bad Habits [Book Review]

Breaking out of my (mini) 1099-deadline induced hiatus is a review for Bad Habits! Today is my stop on the Ultimate Blog Tour for Bad Habits by Flynn Meaney. Thank you so so much to Dave from The Write Reads for including me in this tour! I had a blast reading this book and I’m having a blast writing about it now. Bad Habits will be released on February 11th and it’s not a book you’ll want to miss!

Book Name: Bad Habits
Author: Flynn Meaney
Book Type: Ebook > Kindle
Pages: 320
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT, Feminism, Humor, Fiction

Disclaimer: An e-copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are of my own.

CW/TW: Reference of sexual harassment, references of sex, unsafe sex, drug use

Summary

Alex is a rebel from the tip of her purple fauxhawk to the toes of her biker boots. She’s tried everything she can think of to get expelled from her strict Catholic boarding school. Nothing has worked so far – but now, Alex has a new plan.

Tired of the sexism she sees in every corner of St Mary’s, Alex decides to stage the school’s first ever production of The Vagina Monologues. Which is going to be a challenge, as no one else at St Mary’s can even bear to say the word ‘vagina’ out loud . . .

Review

I’ve read books that made me bawl my eyes out and I’ve had books that gave me a giggle or two here and there, but I’ve never had a book that made me burst out laughing (loudly) every few pages. 

Alex, a teenage junior from California, is the main protagonist of this story. After her parent’s divorce, she’s been sent off to a Catholic boarding school: St. Mary’s, where her father is an alumni. Alex is a rebel and everything about St. Mary is just unbearable; the sexism, the oppression, the scary nuns patrolling the halls…She’s had enough! Yet, despite a thick file of all her write ups on attempts to get herself expelled, she’s STILL HERE (thanks Dad for pulling some strings). 

This time though, she’s got a plan. In a school where no one can even bare to say the word “vagina” out loud, she’s going to stage the school’s first ever “The Vagina Monologues”! It’s controversial, it’s everything that St. Mary’s hates, and it’s definitely going to get her expelled.

I don’t know where to start with this review. I simply loved the writing in this book. It’s a quick and easy read, like a light little appetizer to get my “I haven’t read a single book all month” brain back into gear. Yet, it tackles an important topic. Flynn approaches the topic of feminism in a comedic and humorous way. 

Alex is a character that is rebellious and a bit chaotic. She is determined to get kicked out, but at the same time, she is determined to make St. Mary’s a little more progressive place on her way out the door. Alex is very vocal about her views about St. Mary’s and not afraid to show her disdain with the patriarchal ways of the school (and society in general). But sometimes, she can be a little narrow minded and might not even be the most accepting person around. She clashes with a few others, such Katie Casey, a very sweet fellow student who is the complete opposite of Alex who voices her own beliefs about choosing to save yourself until after marriage. After all, one of the many points of feminism is the freedom of choice, be it the choice to have sex before or after marriage. With that, there are certain moments where, despite still rooting Alex and her play’s success, you can see Alex getting lost in her own beliefs. In those moments, I wasn’t very fond of Alex. She was occasionally nasty and sometimes would even put others and their beliefs and choices down (including other females). Throughout the books, there are moments where Alex begins to grow. and I loved that she becomes more accepting of others and their choices by the end of the book. I quite liked some of the male characters in the book too, especially the hockey player, Pat who, with his own set of flaws, was pretty supportive in helping Alex achieve her semester goal of making sure the play proceeds and goes well.  Nearly every major character had their own transformations by the end of the book and the ending was so heartwarming it made me tear up. 

The setting gives me warm nostalgic fuzzies of my own school days. I’ve never attended a boarding school and the closest to a religious educational institution was a Catholic college (even then, I commuted rather than dormed and not to mention it was a pretty progressive school too). Yet, still, I miss having the daily hang out group that gets meshed with the schedules of your other friends. I miss sitting in a crowded cafeteria with your buddy as they gush over their latest crush. I miss giving crushes nicknames. The setting was pretty realistic with the insane school spirit (towards sports), the hosted events being planned, having clubs around, the yearly club booths as members tried to fill their sign up sheets…

A lovely read that invigorated me and had a lively and well written cast of characters that felt so real. Filled with topics and discussions of feminism, this is a very chaotic and quirky book that sort of made me miss school (lol nah). Wonderfully written and humorous, the pages are dripping with sarcasm, wit and comedy. The characters are complex. They aren’t perfect, none of them are. They call each other out and the characters learn and grow to correct themselves. There are some nice character developments in this book and the ending is a lovely way to finish it all off. It was a fun read that I laughed myself through!

About the Author

Flynn Meaney is the author of The Boy Recession and Bloodthirsty. She studied marketing and French at the University of Notre Dame, where she barely survived the terrifying array of priests and nuns, campus ghosts, and bone-crushing athletes who inspired Bad Habits. Since completing a very practical MFA in Poetry, she works for a French company and travels often between New York (when she’s in the mood for bagels) and Paris (when she’s in the mood for croissants).

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