Review: V is for Virgin by Kelly Oram

Rating: **** / 4 out of 5
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary Fiction, Comedy, Drama
Published December 11, 2012 by Bluefields


When Val Jensen gets dumped for her decision to stay a virgin until marriage, the nasty breakup goes viral on YouTube, making her the latest internet sensation.

After days of ridicule from her peers, Val starts a school-wide campaign to rally support for her cause. She meant to make a statement, but she never dreamed the entire nation would get caught up in the controversy. As if becoming nationally recognized as “Virgin Val” isn’t enough, Val’s already hectic life starts to spin wildly out of control when bad boy Kyle Hamilton, lead singer for the hit rock band Tralse, decides to take her abstinence as a personal challenge.

How can a girl stay true to herself when this year’s Sexiest Man Alive is doing everything in his power to win her over?

————–

OK, I’ll be honest here.

I did not expect to like V is for Virgin at all. Aside from the unbelievable premise (I mean, does modern society today really make fun of you if you haven’t had sex at seventeen or eighteen? It’s not a big deal where I live… although a sex-minded American society may not be surprising x_x), I thought to myself that in the end, the heroine will probably give it away, anyway, so what’s the point?I mean, isn’t that how they all end, these romance books? No matter what happens, the destination will be the same – the main character and the love interest will get together, make love somewhere on the way, and happily ever after. Well, cover me flabbergasted ’cause I was downright wrong.

V is for Virgin is not a love story. It is a story of love. No, not a love between two people, although it does touch that here as well. Rather, it’s a story of loving yourself. Her love interests? Pssh. They were interesting characters, but they were only a backdrop to something more meaningful, which I’ll get to in a bit.

It’s not the plot that made me enjoy this book so much because honestly, the general story isn’t rocket science. Valerie is a virgin and doesn’t want to have sex until she’s married and emotionally invested in someone, but unfortunately, it seems that her boyfriend doesn’t see it in the same light as she does. He dumps her for this particularly shallow reason, and after a series of unfortunate events, our heroine gets at her wits end and shouts to the world she is a virgin and not ashamed of it. However, this only worsens the situation because not only is she now the laughing stock of the whole school, she’s a celebrity on youtube as well, for a video of her announcing her virginity went viral. Not all comments were negative though, and this then inspires Valerie to launch a crusade against the sex-driven mentality – that not everyone is doing it, and you don’t have to have sex if you’re not ready.

See? Plot-wise, it’s very simple, but its simplicity is its beauty, too. It may not be very complex, but it introduces a lot of plausible themes that the youth and adults alike need to ponder on. Is sex really so vital in a relationship that without it, it just cannot work? Are we willing to give away something that is traditionally seen as sacred and precious to someone who we are not even sure we are emotionally attached with? Are we willing to wait and sacrifice a lot for someone simply because we love and care for them? Are we willing to trade away our normal, carefree lives in exchange for becoming a role model for others? Yes, simple questions, but are the answers really that simple as well? It was because of these thoughts, and the unimaginable willpower of the main character to not give in to the temptation and stick to her word that made me like and enjoy this novel so much. Sure, there are a lot of stereotypes and a cliché here and there, but for me, what make this book stand out are the messages it wants to get across to its audience.

The dynamic cast of characters made it really easy for me to appreciate the book as well. They are simply a joy to read – Cara, Robin, Stephanie, Isaac – and even, that jerk but maybe swoon-worthy Kyle. Sure, there were times that I felt a lot of them were being selfish, but they all stood out and were completely distinct from one another. Val, on the other hand, was a better overall character. She’s not afraid of speaking out her mind and letting her thoughts show, and despite the tough front, she also is aware that she has weaknesses and insecurities. She felt very real to me, and her journey from being afraid to being proud of who she is made me smile throughout the end.

The ending is a surprise as well. It’s not your everyday ending, but I thought it ended nicely and realistically. I don’t want to spoil it, though so you’ll have to see it for yourself!

Overall, 4 stars out of 5 :)

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Faye

Faye

A 21 years old Filipina who loves books, games, languages, and most especially, food. Secretly wishes to be an astronaut so she can explore the stars. Has a love-hate relationship with Philippine politics. To get in her good graces, offer her Foie Gras, Or shrimp. Or a JRPG. A YA sci-fi book works, too. You can follow her on twitter here: @kawaiileena

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