Book Review: Bad Habits by Flynn Meaney

*I was given an arc of Bad Habits in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Penguin Random House UK and Flynn Meaney*

Synopsis:

Bad Habits follows Alex Heck, a rebellious feminist who is desperate to get kicked out of the Catholic boarding school she attends. After being caught sneaking out of a boys room, which is strictly forbidden, Alex is angry that she is the only one punished. However, when she realises her dad has been called in her mood quickly turns around as she thinks she is finally being expelled. 

This is not the case. With the help of the feminist club, of which she is the leader, she decides she is going to put on a performance of The Vagina Monologues. Hoping this will actually get her expelled Alex stops at nothing to see this plan through. 

Review:

I listened to the audiobook version of Bad Habits and I actually really enjoyed it. Tanya Reynolds did a fantastic job with the narration and the pacing was spot on. I flew through this book in just two days. 

Bad Habits was funny for the majority, but at times it felt a little too forced and cringey. However, this is a teen book that constantly says vagina, so what more could you expect. Don’t get me wrong this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If anything it actually fit the story well as most of the characters were awkward teens who couldn’t even say the word and acted like it was cursing. 

I enjoyed the fast pace and how quickly I was able to get through this. I have been in a huge reading slump lately and I’ve found that audiobooks actually help, this one especially. 

Even though I enjoyed the book I did not enjoy all aspects of it. This would have been a 4/5 for me if it wasn’t for the main character. 

My biggest issue with this book was that Alex thought her idea of feminism was the only valid one. She would kick up a huge fuss when any of the other girls would talk about ‘saving themselves for marriage’. She had no right to make a comment on this or tell the girls they are wrong. It has no impact on her life whatsoever. So what if they want to save themselves for marriage, it’s their choice. Isn’t feminism about the right of having a choice? 

If I’m being completely honest, Alex overall was my main issue with this book. She at times was a privileged, entitled brat and it did not fit the narrative very well. She uses the other girls in the feminist club for her bidding and never asks what they want. The worse part of this being making them put on a play that they clearly were not comfortable with.

She was often a bad friend to Mary Kate, embarrassing her with tampons at the beginning and continuing to do so when Mary Kate said she was uncomfortable. Making fun of her for being boy-crazy even though that’s what most teenaged girls are like. Honestly, she was self-absorbed, selfish and overly entitled. I really did not like her character. 

I was so glad when her friends finally called her out at the end of the book, but honestly, they should have done this sooner. 

The secondary characters were definitely more interesting for me, Mary Kate and Katie Casey in particular. Both had more development than the main character, Mary Kate especially. I would love to see a version of this book from her perspective. 

I really wanted to enjoy this book, but sadly the main character ruined it for me. I know that she realises her mistakes at the end, but come on. It happened in the very last chapter when it should have happened somewhere around the middle. 

The storyline was fun and witty and I often found myself wanting to laugh at parts of this book. It reminded me a lot of Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu, but it definitely has not taken over as my top YA feminist book. 

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