Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Ebury Press (Fiction) (28 Mar. 2013)
Sick of being the only virgin among her friends, Bliss Edwards decides the best way to deal with the problem is to lose it as quickly and simply as possible - a one-night stand. But her plan turns out to be anything but simple when she freaks out and leaves a gorgeous guy alone and naked in her bed with an excuse that no one with half-a-brain would ever believe. And as if that weren't embarrassing enough, when she arrives for her first class of her last college semester, she recognises her new theatre professor. She'd left him naked in her bed about 8 hours earlier.
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Let’s talk about the cover first. The one with the blonde guy? Cute. I like. The one with the dark haired guy? Not so much. Also, why is there two contrasting covers - like at least have both guys on the different covers LOOK somewhat the same (you know, same hair colour or something) rather than have them looking like complete opposites to each other. When in actuality, in the book, the guy has BLONDE HAIR. GO FIGURE. The designers for the other cover didn’t get the memo then, eh?
ANYWAY. All that aside - I did finish this book, but, that said, I also really didn’t like this book, for several reasons, which of course, I will regale you with OBVS. The story to begin with, having finished it - was just another one that blended into the background of other similar contemporaries. I don’t know if it’s just me, or is anyone else baffled by the YA/Contemporary book trend of trying a girl to lose their virginity - and hilarity/drama ensues? I just find it a really odd thing, personally, for a girl to set off to do like some kinda checklist. But each to their own, just in this book, I wasn’t on board with the agenda.
Then, lo and behold, as she makes this checklist of hers and heads into the club to tick it off - she bumps into Mr-Hot-With-British-Accent-Guy-Reading-Shakespeare-Up-IN-DA-CLUUUB. I know this is fiction, but oh my god, still, to set the scene where a hot guy just happens to be in the club, happens to be reading Shakespeare, and just HAPPENS to zone in and fall head over heels for you and is ready to head back to your place with you to unknowingly fulfil your romping wish… and the mother of all ‘just happens’ - to top it off, this guy JUST HAPPENS TO BE YOUR NEW TEACHER. It screamed outlandish to me - and though I continued to read the book, I still couldn’t shake off my annoyance at this. Too many cliche tropes just thrown into one - should have just stuck with the surprise-the-guy-is-your-teacher trope rather than mixing the other ones in really.
Okay, so moving along - the writing was easy enough to read, if not cheesy, but that was probably the only redeeming thing about the book. Sadly, that was about it - another thing that got smoke blowing out my nose like a bulldog, was the whole British accent thing. As a British citizen, who was born here, raised here, and lived here for all of 24 years - I am continuously baffled by the pure sexualisation of a British accent, by people who are not British, and the main culprits of this, are the Americans.
“I think I could actually feel the hormones released into the atmosphere when the girls in the room heard his accent.”
OKAY. Not weird at alllll. I saw in another review, someone wrote - "Garrick felt like a British character written by an American author” - which screams 110% true to me. Another reviewer who hit the nail on the head: “Garrick is still more like a caricature of a British person than an actual British person.” Bingo. Let’s take for example his use of the word “love”. Maaaan. I did NOT like the use of term “love” in most sentences because only 60+ old ladies and really old British guys (think grandfather) use that term in the UK, not some hot guy you HAPPENED to find in a club, reading Shakespeare. Yeah. Overly predictable and in the hands of someone else, could have been cuter or less cliched, but not in this case when coupled with everything else.
Also, I'm not fond of the way sex and virginity is also portrayed in a lot of YA contemporaries. Let's take the below for example:
“You’re relieved that I’m a virgin? What, did you think I was a hoe-bag?”
“I would never think you were a hoe-bag.”
Why, pray tell, would you not being a virgin immediately equate to you being a "hoe-bag"? Also, why is someone being a virgin, be it a girl or boy, something to hide, to be embarrassed about, to be ashamed of? Maybe that was a mindset best featured around 100 years ago (or something along those lines) but today, I'd like to think, and on a personal level - that we had passed that stage in fiction where sexuality could be openly discussed; representation is important - girls reading this book who may be virgins, shouldn't think it's something to be embarrassed about to reach a certain age and not have had sex. I'm sensing I'm foraying into depths best saved for another time (read - another rant) but I just took particular issue with this representation which as you can guess, only added to my dislike.
This wasn’t as terrible as a book I’m making it out to be - I know people will enjoy the book without overthinking it like me - I guess my first instance of annoyance with the book just set the tone and followed me throughout as I continued. The characters, much like this book, blended into the seamless background of all other characters that have before it and do nothing to stand out to me. I would have liked to see more depth to Bliss' character, her desire to be theatre and acting barely scratched the surface in its call for passion and excitement. While Garett can pull off being cute and be spared from my momentous rant - that's only because this was not told from his point of view, which has otherwise saved him. I honestly wish I wasn't so annoyed by this book, but sadly I am, and that is that. Alas, at least the blonde guy on the cover was cute.