Monday, 20 July 2009

Review: Giving Up the V by Serena Robar

Giving Up the V by Serena Robar - 16-year-old Spencer is a virgin, and is happy to be. She is happy to wait until she’s with the right person to have sex, rather than get obsessed about it like all her friends in her crew. But then Benjamin Hopkins joins the school. Gorgeous, funny, athletic, Spencer can’t help but go weak at the knees when she’s around him, and Ben starts giving her the right kind of attention. How far will she go to get her guy?

I really like this book! It reads a lot like it could be part of an American TV teen programme; the teens were so lifelike and believable. I found myself literary crushing on pretty much all the guys in the book, even the guys who weren’t so great. Ryan, for example; he may use girls a lot, but he was hot and funny, so it was easy to see how he could get away with it.

I loved how Spencer wouldn’t give in to the jokey “peer pressure” from her friends over being a virgin, that she was determined to have sex when she wanted to , when things were right, and not when others felt she should – before Ben arrived. It kind of annoyed me she went a little crazy over him, as I was thinking “pull yourself together, he’s just a guy”, yet it was believable, we girls do get a little “oh my god!” when it comes to guys. I also admired how she was still able to pretty much be herself around him despite it all, it was cool. I identified with her a lot when she wasn’t sure what she should do when things started to happen between her and Ben; very true to life.

What was also interesting was the sub-plot in the story; Spencer’s best friend Alyssa was determined to lose her virginity, a one-night-stand so she could get it out of the way, and planned and organised for she was going to get it done. It was a little disturbing how tenacious she was, and how she made it seem like some school project, like no big deal, but something that had to be done – with no feelings. It was great to see these two different attitudes and stories running along each other.

There were no actual sex scenes in this book, but there were some almost-sex scenes that were really well written. It was a great depiction of how Spencer was feeling AND thinking towards what was happening, and keeping those two things clearly separate worked well.

This was an awesome book overall dealing with a sensitive subject with great characters and a lot of humour. I loved it!

Thank you to Simon Pulse for sending me a review copy.

Published: 2009
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Buy on Amazon UK
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Serena Robar Website

Other Reviews on Giving Up the V:


  1. Great review! I'm writing a review of this book right now - I'll link to yours when I post it up. I thought this was a light and funny book, and very entertaining.

    I did have a couple of issues with some of the content, though, just related to 'sex in teen lit'. I mentioned this before in a previous comment, and I'm certain now that it's some kind of cultural difference, but I'm wondering a little about the way gynaecologist visits are shown in teen lit. This isn't the first book where I've seen them referred to as 'embarrassing' and 'humiliating'. I do realise that this book was playing things up for humour, but it still made me wonder about the context. Couldn't Spencer have asked to see a female practitioner, and/or someone who hadn't known her all her life, if she felt so embarrassed by the male doctor? Why were stirrups used? (This is probably cultural - I don't think they're ever used in the UK. And most smears are taken by female nurses.) Why hadn't her Planned Parenthood specialist mother told Spencer what to expect from the exam so that she was less shocked by it? In fact, had Spencer's mother talked to her about alternative methods of contraception or the side effects of going on the pill? Did she really think it was a good idea not to give her daughter a choice about what happened to her own body?

    That said, I know I only noticed these things because I was reading it with a view to Sex in Teen Lit month. Otherwise, I probably would have just sat back and enjoyed the entertaining story and fun characters, and not taken these issues too seriously! After all, they were essential to the story, and it did make Spencer easy to empathise with right from the start.

  2. Awesome questions, Luisa! Some of them didn't even enter my head when reading. An interview with Serena will be going live tomorrow, and she will be popping over to answer any questions, so maybe she'll answer those for you! :)

  3. I haven't read this book so I can't really comment on the content. However, I like the idea of Spencer planning to wait and then being faced with temptation. It also sounds interesting to have a contrasting situation with Alyssa planning when she was going to lose her virginity. Great review!

  4. Thank you, Kate! It was an awesome book, I highly recommend it!

  5. Definitely on my list of books to acquire and read... thanks for a great review :o)

  6. You're most welcome! :)