*I recieved both of these ARCs from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
The Anti Virginity Pact by Katie Wisner
Publication Date: June 16th 2020
I. Am. Annoyed. With. This. Book.
The Anti Virginity Pact follows Meredith a pastors daughter and an athiest to boot who makes a pact with her best friend to loose their virginities before graduation but when the pact is stolen and spread across school Meredith has to deal with being harassed and deciding who she wants to be … at least according to the synopsis.
The synopsis, and the literal title of the novel, makes it seem like this is going to be the main theme of the book when in reality the pact is mentioned in the first chapter and then not brought back into play until halfway through the book when it’s spread through Meredith’s school and even then it takes a backseat to other plot points and topics.
Part of me is glad this “anti-virginity pact” wasn’t the main focus of the novel because I don’t think I would have like to read a book with the message that not having experienced certain things by a certain age is something to be ashamed about, but on the other hand I would have preferred that to what we actually got.
I enjoyed the first fifty percent of this book. The book felt like it was going to concentrate on Meredith being an atheist and not having the same beliefs as her very conservative parents.
For example it was brought up that her younger sister, Harper, liked girls and also there was a scene were their father, a pastor, finds out about an obligatory freshmen health and sex education class at their school and goes to the school with other parents to complain.
I feel like I personally would have preferred the story to have gone down this route and explored those challenges and obstacles and relationship dynamics.
Halfway through there was a considerable shift in tone when the previously mentioned pact is leaked to the school and this is where the book went downhill. This in itself is jarring, like it came out of nowhere, which is weird to say since it’s meant to be the whole plot of the book. It feels like there’s no real build up and the whole thing feels forced and unnecessary.
I don’t want to spoil the book but after this there’s just so many more things thrown in there. Serious topics which require Trigger Warnings such as: slut shaming, kidnapping, sexual assault, dog fights, religious conversion camps (I think this is the term). The author tried to tackle a lot of heavy things in a short amount of time which I can respect but in the end it made them feel like they were added only to add drama.
Considering this is a “mini” review this is quite long so I’ll wrap it up by saying: while I didn’t mind the characters and the first half of the book I wish the author had concentrated more on one set thing (which i think could have made for an important and powerful read) rather then introducing so much so fast and making it feel so dramatised and unnecesarry.
Off Script by Kate Watson
Publication Date: January 21st 2020
(Companion) Series: Seeking Mansfield #3
Off Script dives into the glitz, glamour and dark secretes of Hollywood as we follow teen scarlet Emma Crawford navigate her return to spotlight and tackle the nasty truths of the industry.
I was pretty sure going into this that I was going to like it, I’m a sucker for books following famous protagonists or talking about the behind the scenes of Hollywood. What I didn’t know was that this is actually the third book in a companion series which I’m actually now pretty interested in checking out.
My favourite thing about this book was the main character Emma. Right off the bat I liked her character but it took me a while to decide if should. Emma, although having good intentions, is a flawed character who makes mistakes and doesn’t always say or do the right thing. I loved this because throughout the course of the book we see her learn and we see her grow and mature.
Besides from just Emma though I did enjoy the overall plot. I thought the character did a good job in connecting various plot points and weaving an interesting and compelling story which felt organic and not overly forced.
There’s a romance in here too which is by no means the best or most developed in the world but I’d be lying if I wasn’t shipping Emma and her love interest super hard.
There’s also commentary on a fair few things which I enjoyed such as: a parent doubling as their childs manager/agent and how it doesn’t exactly create the healthiest of parent-child relationships and called out and discussed the sexual abuse, mistreatment and blatant sexism within Hollywood.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. I’m glad I read it and I would reccomend it if you’re in the mood for a Hollywood tinged contemporary.