Alex is a rebel from the tip of her purple fauxhawk to the toes of her biker boots. She’s tried everything she can think of to get expelled from her strict Catholic boarding school. Nothing has worked so far – but now, Alex has a new plan.
Tired of the sexism she sees in every corner of St Mary’s, Alex decides to stage the school’s first ever production of The Vagina Monologues. Which is going to be a challenge, as no one else at St Mary’s can even bear to say the word ‘vagina’ out loud…
Bold and stubborn, Alex is a feminist rebel in a strict Catholic boarding school. The story opens with her expecting the boot. Its the first day back after the summer break. She’s in her junior year and wants out. But things don’t go to plan.
Bad Habits is the story of Alex trying to get kicked out of the school she hates and finds oppressing. But its so much more than that and thats why I loved it. It’s more about learning about others, learning not to take things at face value, and learning to appreciate people’s values even when they don’t align with their own.
Alex is a lot like a lot of teenage girls. She reminded me of me when I was younger. I used to think that it was my opinion that mattered and everyone else was wrong. I fought everything that wasn’t want I wanted it to be. And Alex is the same. She sees everyone else as oppressed. The priests, the hockey guys, the Sacred Heart group who want to save themselves for marriage. As the story goes on, she gets to know people who she was so against, and it helps her understand more.
This kind of topic is one that needs to be in more books if I’m honest. The judgement that most people in society have is something that I hate. Judging anyone without knowing them or their reasons for doing things is just wrong. Alex is exceptionally judgemental at the start of the book and is wallowing in her own misery far too much. Due to this I did struggle to enjoy it at first, but once other characters were introduced I got more interested as I wanted to know them more. Even Alex’s room mate, Mary-Kate jarred with me as all she wanted was a boyfriend. But the humour in the book did get me through the first part of it.
I say all this because of hindsight. Because I have grown and developed into a 30 something who doesn’t judge and is bringing up a child to be the same. If I was reading this book at 15, and I wish it was around when I was 15, I would have adored every minute. Alex’s attitude was very much like mine and I would have been 100% invested from the words purple fauxhawk.
I would definitely recommend this for any teenage feminists, especially those starting out on their feminism journeys. And I would recommend it to anyone who wants to help their child see any other side of the story. Or any teenager really, because they do tend to have their head in their own issues, not thinking about other peoples’. I thought this was Flynn Meaney’s first novel as I’d not discovered anything by her before, but I was wrong. Upon further inspection I’ve found she has a few books out and they all sound as awesome as Bad Habits. I will be checking them out soon!
Bad Habits was published by Penguin Random House in February 2021. My copy was sent to me in exchange for an honest review from the publisher.