Review: Bad Habits by Flynn Meaney

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 . . .

Bad Habits by Flynn Meaney follows Alex who is trying to get herself expelled from her Catholic boarding school, but all of her plans have failed so far. She is the founder of the school’s feminist club, and she convinces the club to help her put on a production of The Vagina Monologues.

Mary Kate is Alex’s roommate, and they are complete opposites. Alex is a feminist who is sex positive and even gives the other girls sex advise or helps them when things go wrong. Mary Kate on the other hand, can’t bring herself to say ‘vagina’ out loud. I really enjoyed the dynamic between the two characters. Mary Kate wanted a boyfriend by the time the first snow fell, and Alex wanted to put on the Vagina Monologues. Although they had their differences, they always worked together to help each other reach their own personal goals.

I loved how there was a focus on sex education and how it needs to be improved without being patronising. The novel discusses situations like teachers being uncomfortable with the topic and the whole department just lacking when it comes to sex education. There were numerous moments within the book that really drew attention to why this can be an issue and how dangerous it could be, and I really liked how the novel tackled this whilst never shaming anyone.

That was another thing I enjoyed about this novel – there wasn’t any shaming. Whether that was about the girls saving themselves for marriage or the ones already sexually active, no one was ever shamed. Choice was a central theme in this novel, and it was quite refreshing.

I also want to add this comment as a little side note: on Goodreads, it is shelved as LGBT+. I’ve seen some comments from people being disappointed and a little mislead because it was thought that one of the main characters is part of the LGBT+ community. There is a side character who is gay, however neither one of the main characters are openly apart of the community but they are allies to the community. I hope that clears up any confusion.

Overall, I really adored the novel. I thought it was funny, and it was a great novel with an openly feminist protagonist. I also got Wild Child vibes from this book. Wild Child is one of my favourite comfort films, so finding a very similar thing in a book format was an unexpected surprise. I gave it 4/5 stars, and I recommend it.


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