Cherry by Lindsey Rosin
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Published by: Hot Key Books
Format: ARC e-book
Note: We received this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.
This is the story of four friends who decide that before they graduate high school they MUST lose their virginity. They call it ‘The Sex Pact’. The premise in general – the whole we need to have sex by a deadline thing – was the main issue we had with this book. But there are so many pros that make this a real must-read for teenage girls who don’t want to feel ashamed for enjoying sex or don’t feel comfortable talking about sexual content with their own friends. It’s going to give you a dialogue to help understand how you might be feeling about sex, and that in itself is a wonderful thing.
There’s nothing wrong with girls wanting to have sex. The only toxic thing about the premise is the deadline. Why did they feel the need to lose their virginity before college? If you think about it what’s society done to make girls think that if you haven’t had sex before you’re 18 then you’re…what? A freak? The connotations weren’t healthy and potentially damaging. I think if a lot of younger girls decide to start their own ‘Sex Pact’ this could have some serious emotional backlash that this book does not touch on AT ALL.
Lindsey Rosin does not shy away from anything. Literally any experimentation or sexual act is well discussed between the girls. And not in an awkward way. All of the sex scenes are realistic and not overly romanticised – at some points they are down right awkward – and consent is really a key thing, too. This kind of explicitness is exactly what YA books need. Metaphors and vagueness just make us roll our eyes now. Teens have sex. It’s not a weird thing and trying to disguise that with flowery language and the ‘…’ isn’t doing anyone any favours. Books are the perfect place to learn/discover these things in a safe environment. Basically, Cherry is going to be the best sex education you’ll ever get.
Things to take away from Cherry:
- Sexual activity is not something you should be afraid to talk about. Also, girls can like sex! We really liked how the emphasis was on them rather than what others thought of them for having sex.
- Only have sex when you’re ready. Deadlines are stupid.
- Friends are always there to talk to. Whether you feel comfortable talking about it or not, your friends will always listen. But on the other hand, it’s perfectly fine to be private about your sex life.
The actual writing
While the subject matter was important, the writing itself was a little lacking. The book starts out with super long and laboured descriptions of their frozen yogurt choices and how that reflects the girls’ personality. But the author doesn’t let you come to your own conclusions about Zoe having vanilla. That should be enough, but then Rosin feels the need to tell you that she’s a cautious, sensible, unadventurous character. Duh!
At the beginning it was hard to imagine the girls as 18. Sharing yogurt and giggling over boys seems a bit ‘middle school’ and the fact they’d gone through ten or so years of friendship without ever bringing up sex was the most unrealistic thing about this book.
We also felt like the story was lacking a bit of emotion. There were a few standout scenes but the girls weren’t really talking to each other about their feelings more than whether or not they enjoyed the sex they were having. Also, everything beyond sex wasn’t discussed – like Layla always wanting to plan things, and Emma’s fear of university – making the girls feel 2D with nothing but sex on the brain.
Cherry is a blunt, fresh perspective, but it’s not perfect by any means. What it lacked in character exploration it made up for in realism. It’s Sex and the City for 18 year olds, with froyo instead of Cosmopolitans.