Hello, dear book lovers!
I hope your February is starting out well. Last month was a bit of a dry spell concerning reading, but I am aiming to make sure that this month is different. I must finish the book I already started as well as start a new book this month as a treat. Considering that I have also been working my ass off recently, I might even get myself a new book or two to add to my never-ending TBR, because why not right?
(If you have any good recs in the comments, let me know! And if you have any reading goals in mind, I would love to hear them!)
Okay, so, today I need to talk to you about Bad Habits. I would like to thank Dave from @TheWriteReads, the folks at Penguin and Flynn Meany for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review! It was a wonderful way to start the month, and it really set the tone for my reading habits this month – I can’t wait to read more, and hopefully find books more like this one!
Name: Bad Habits
Author: Flynn Meaney
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Random House
This book was equal amounts wholesome and equal amounts insightful – there were a few good parts of the story that made me think a lot about feminism as a movement and the tendency to gate-keep. I really enjoyed the setting, characters, and the subversion of certain character types and tropes. The main character, Alex, is a very feisty, bold, opinionated teen that is set on getting expelled from St. Mary’s boarding school. She believes that the school is the antithesis of who she is as a woman and feminist, and she is not afraid to say it to anyone, including her best friend, Mary Kate. It immediately reminded me of the film ‘Wild Child’, but this story is quirkier and more well-rounded. There are more events happening, and a lot more chaos. The fact that St. Mary’s is a co-ed school means that a lot more can happen. Their obsession with hockey is also quite amusing.
The plot was overall enjoyable, with a lovely ending. The pace was a bit slow at times, and there were occasions where I could not relate to Alex’s voice, but I love how it had several twists and turns, as well as anticipation. I really liked how immersive the story was and it felt like I was alongside Alex and Mary Kate in their whacky adventures.
(As a side note, I do not miss high school at all lol.)
I am going to be honest… I related much more to Mary Kate at times. She was very much me in my teens – a romantic, shy, a little naïve. Alex was very OUT THERE, so the complete opposite. She knew so much and did not really hold back, which I both admired, and sometimes really did not. There were moments when I could not really understand why Alex did or said the things she did, or cases where things were done specifically to show that she is “different” and “edgy”; and I just could not condone her actions during those times. It becomes noticeably clear the more you read that Alex can be self-centred and snobby, but thankfully this behaviour is tackled and challenged.
And Mary Kate’s shining moments are a remarkable sight! She has some lovely, and hilarious moments that you do not want to miss out on.
The rest of the characters were wholesome, and really helped ground Alex at times. They added more colour to the story and made the setting more inviting. I enjoyed getting to see the softer sides of Alex too, and how her friends helped her accept them. Her dad’s relationship with her school also added an interesting layer of tradition and history that I enjoyed.
The setting was… chaotic, but in a very entertaining way. Modern teens in a Catholic boarding school? With all those hormones and curiosity and a need to rebel? I was hooked. I’m not even sure how I would have survived that, but I’m glad to see that there was camaraderie in breaking the rules and keeping each other out of serious trouble. Alex really stepped up there, which I loved about her.
It is a fun, feminist tale about rebellion, identity, community and the power of presence. It invites you to reflect on where you hold yourself and others back and break those barriers apart. Like we see with Alex, it is an uncomfortable journey, but it is the best thing you can do for yourself and others. Once you stop restricting yourself, the possibilities are endless, and often times incredibly fun.
If you like YA books that are wholesome, quirky, and fun, then this is the book for you. To my fellow bloggers, what are your thoughts on this? And do you have any similar books to recommend? Let me know in the comments below!
Written by: Alexia DeBono
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