Thursday 5 November 2015

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Review: My Soon-to-Be Sex Life by Judith Tewes

My Soon-to-Be Sex Life by Judith TewesNetGalleyMy Soon-to-Be Sex Life by Judith Tewes (eProof) - Charlie is down to her absolute. Total. Last. Resort.

Despite a thoroughly comprehensive list of potential cherry poppers, er…suitors, and careful plotting, Charlie is three weeks into her devirginization campaign, still untouched, and getting desperate. In the movie of her life, this aspiring screenwriter is giving herself a PG, for please, get some.

Her project goes into freeze frame when her mom checks herself into rehab and packs Charlie off to live with her estranged, or just plain strange, grandfather, Monty. How is she supposed to get a date when she has to go pick up his Depends?

Enter Eric, a hot rehab grad on the road to redemption, and the only one who can make Charlie rethink her strategy. The more she gets to know him, the more convinced she becomes that he is the one, and not just another to add to the list of people who will abandon her.

In this hilarious and heartbreaking story of one girl’s detoured road to womanhood, Charlie’s list develops a life of its own – right when she realizes there’s so much more to lose.
from Goodreads

With a title like My Soon-to-Be Sex Life (MSTBSL), there was no way I couldn't include Judith Tewes' debut novel in Sex in Teen Lit Month II. Not exactly what I was expecting, MSTBSL is SO good!

After admitting to an addiction to Valium, Charlie's mother has Charlie move in with her grandfather, Monty, and checks into rehab. If her mother's addiction and now living with a man she's never met before wasn't enough, the move has laid waste Charlie's plans to lose her virginity. Vowing to never end up like her mum - an addict due to grief over the death of her cheating, lying husband, and discovering said cheating and lying - Charlie wants full control over her sex life; emotionless sex with someone she doesn't care about, so as not to get hurt. But then she meets Eric, and she starts feeling things she's never felt before.

MSTBSL is such a great story; incredibly funny, honest, and so moving. Charlie has such a great voice, so much so that reading MSTBSL felt like eavesdropping into an actual teenager's life than reading a book. She also has a great sense of humour that comes through a little crude but very real. It's impossible not to love her, which makes it a little hard to read about her situation. Her Dad is dead. He died while out with his latest floozy. Charlie's Mum takes this bad - the death and the cheating - and zones out of her life, suffocating in hurt. Hurt that is only helped by the Valium she takes. For Charlie, seeing how much her father hurt her mother, she gets mad, and decides not to let anything like that happen to her. She can't get hurt if she doesn't feel anything. Her life is crazy, and losing her virginity is her way of trying to control her life. Charlie doesn't care about love, it's all about the control. The who, how, when, and where. Her "devirginization" campaign becomes so important to her as her life gets further out of control with her Mum going to rehab and her moving in with Monty.

One of the people on the list of "devirginizers" was her ex-boyfriend, Ty, until he screw things up. I don't want to give away spoilers, but Charlie doesn't react well and embarrasses him. Which causes Ty to want payback - not just for embarrassing him, but also for not having sex with him. He's a right bloody git, and does some awful, terrible things. But what I love about this subplot is how Charlie talks about her attitude towards sex with him. Yes, she wants to lose her virginity, and she did try a few times with him, but something always stopped her. And she has the right to stop things if she wants to. She wants to lose her virginity when it feels right.

MSTBSL also looks at the religious side of things. Charlie's best mate Roach (short for Rachel) is the daughter of a minister, and is into the idea of waiting to have sex until she's married. Because of this, although she's supportive of Charlie, she's not really for her plan. Because they disagree, there is a lot of discussion about Charlie's plan from both sides of the argument. One of these discussions, quite a feminist one, really struck a chord with me. Charlie talks about how everyone makes a big deal out of a girl wanting to lose her virginity - or just have sex in general - but not for guys. For guys, it's something to cheer and laugh over. It's sexism, and I'm finding this idea cropping up a fair bit in the books I'm reading: if guys have sex, it's fine; if girls do, they get judged. It's awful! Charlie talks about how she just wants to do things her way, and doesn't see why it has to be anybody else's business.

I love the romance with Eric, though I do wish there was more of them together. But even so, Eric plays his part, he gets Charlie thinking. This plan she has, the plan to control her life... doesn't really work when feelings are involved. The feelings are bigger than her need for control, and make her re-evaluate. Charlie wants more than lust and control. She wants more.

There are other subplots throughout the novel that keep you just an invested in the story; Charlie's moving and heartbreaking relationship with Monty (who I LOVE!), the situation with her Mum, Ty's disgusting behaviour. For a novel that I flew through and felt like a relatively light read, it's quite meaty with the issues it tackles. A really fantastic story; thought-provoking, but also really funny and entertaining. My Soon-to-Be Sex Life is awesome, and Judith Tewes is definitely one to watch.

Thank you to Bloomsbury Spark via NetGalley for the eProof.

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Published: 30th June 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury Spark
Judith Tewes' Blog


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