Promised as the 'funniest, feminist book you'll read all year', and perfect for fans of Derry Girls and Sex Education (two of my all fave shows ever), Bad Habits instantly captured my complete attention. I wanted Louise-Rennison-vibe-cackles. I wanted fierce and honest feminism worthy of Laura Bates and Roxane Gay. I was going in with high hopes and even higher expectations...
On the surface Bad Habits is an all round lively, quirky and chaotic story of feminism, identity and rebellion. It's like a bubbly mix of (very American) Derry Girls meets Wild Child. Underneath, it's sadly lacking authentic substance, real representation, and, most disappointingly, laughs.
With that said, a successful book is one that encourages thought and discussion long after reading it, and Bad Habits definitely delivers on this front. The protagonist Alex for example, is very closed-minded and stubborn when it comes to her ideals of feminism. And until the end, Alex neither leaves nor creates any room for growth or new opinions and ideologies. But it's called Bad Habits for a reason (I think), and Flynn Meaney boldly delivers a narrative that stirs and sparks conversation, whether that's on the freedom of feminism or what feminism personally means to you, but from conversation comes understanding, receptivity and empathy. And with that in mind I can for sure see Bad Habits becoming a popular YA book club read. If you're in it for The Vagina Monologues though, I'd recommend skipping it and going directly to the book itself - you won't be disappointed.
And when it comes to funny, feminist YA fiction there are a wealth of fantastic authors and books out there - Holly Bourne's The Spinster Club series, Randa Abdel-Fattah, Kate Weston, Jennifer Mathieu, Alexandra Sheppard, Leah Johnson to name just a few.