Am I Normal Yet?, How Hard Can Love Be? and What’s a Girl Gotta Do?
Genre: Contemporary, Feminism, Romance
Published by: Usborne
Pages: 434, 480, 432
More: The Manifesto on How to be Interesting
Over the summer, I read this absolutely amazing series called ‘The Spinster Club’ and I loved it so much I couldn’t even put into words how much it all meant for me. Dealing with everything you could possibly want in a contemporary and more, Holly Bourne manages to actually do the impossible and create a series when I loved each and every one of the books equally. Now, there’s a short story epilogue to the series, called …And A Happy New Year? that’ll be the first thing I read after Christmas and I’m sure to review the finale, but first, let’s reflect on just how awesome this feminist trilogy is!
Am I Normal Yet?
Evie’s story is all about her trying to overcome her OCD. At the start of the book, she’s been weened off her medication and having checkups with her therapist, but there are a lot of things happening in Evie’s life that might cause her to stress out a little…or a lot! First, she meets the wonderful Amber and Lottie, and second she meets Guy, who’s extremely attractive and seems extremely interested in her, until he starts blowing hot and cold and driving Evie mad.
I really, really loved the portrayal of mental health in Am I Normal Yet? It took centre stage and was so complex, I felt that I truly got to know Evie and the roots of her anxieties. It was painful to read as she spiralled further and further away from a healthy mindset, and it broke my heart that she felt too embarrassed and nervous to tell her new friends. But, it was a personal journey, and by the end of the book, Evie is leaps and bounds ahead of where she started.
Like any sixteen year old girl, Evie wants to be normal and the first step is finding a boyfriend. It’s too bad that Guy was that guy and too much of a player to give Evie what she wanted and needed. As much as I was sucked in by his charm and the way they were connecting, when the book was over and I reflected on his behaviour it was just not on.
Of course, it wasn’t a case of if for Evie, it was a case of when, and things have to get much worse for her before they get good. BUT, I adored the emphasis on female friendship and how empowering it can be to have girls around you that get you and love you and want to see you succeed. The Spinster Club is friendship goals, for sure.
How Hard Can Love Be?
Amber is my favourite character of the trio. There was something about her that really struck me in Am I Normal Yet? that I related to, so I went into the sequel so prepared to fall more in love with her personality. And I did.
Amber goes to America to be with her mum and her new-stepdad over the summer and gets roped into working at a kid’s away camp, spending all her time with children hanging off her arms and missing her girls terribly. The atmosphere of an American forest was amazing and even though I wasn’t jealous of what Amber had to put up with, I was mega jealous of where she was and who she was with.
As the title would suggest, love is the main problem for Amber. But, when she meets Kyle, a fellow camp counsellor, he sees her the way no English boy ever did and they just click, telling each other about their pasts and hopes for the future. In fact, I think this book has the MOST romantic scene I’ve ever read when Amber and Kyle go on their own little solo adventure for a pre-sunrise hike around the mountains. It reminded me very much of the Yosemite sections of Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour. You can’t really top being kissed under a waterfall with rainbows spritzing all around you, can you? OH my, it was so delicious, I just want to read it all over again.
You’d think being in America would mean that the Spinster Club was suspended for a few months, but Evie and Lottie still made their appearance in Skype conversations and I especially loved when they got together like that because sometimes you don’t know how happy you feel around certain people until you’ve been away from them for a while. Wow, I literally just explained absence makes the heart grow fonder, didn’t I?
But don’t go thinking this is all lovey-dovey. There is some serious drama that Amber needs to sift through, and not all problems can be solved by running away to Vegas with your boyfriend…okay maybe they can for a little while. Overall, I loved how confident Amber became when she finally got back to the UK and I couldn’t wait for the last book.
What’s A Girl Gotta Do?
Lottie’s story is by far the most feminist and I was 100% on board. The premise of What’s A Girl Gotta Do? is that Lottie wants to call out every sexist act she sees and she’s charting her undertaking with her Vagilante vlog which starts to get some media attention by the end of the project.
Now, obviously, Holly Bourne isn’t going to be able to tackle every single issue that hinders the equality of the sexes, but the things that are discussed in the book really did open my eyes to all the things that we can just let slip under the radar, without thinking they’re a problem and it suddenly lit this fire within me to go out and change the world, or at least read up feminism more.
While Lottie was my least favourite of the Spinster Club girls, her passion and dedication to her task is undoubtedly inspiring. Reading about someone trying to change the world, one small step at a time really put into perspective how much one person can do to alter mindsets. Will, the love-hate interest, was one of these people that refused to call themselves a feminist even though when they explain what they believe in, it’s exactly what feminism is all about, and when Lottie got through to him, it was a victory.
I loved What’s A Girl Gotta Do primarily because of the emotion it elicited from me. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book and felt so pumped afterwards. I wanted to message all my friends and start a Spinster Club. I’d say my enjoyment also came from sharing the love with my lovely friend Carys, and Bee who read the series around the same time. There’s nothing quite like sharing your love for a book that moment you finish reading it.
V E R D I C T
Overall, I couldn’t be happier with reading this series. It’s one of the first contemporary series I’ve read, besides Clearwater Crossing, that have made me feel literally every single emotion possible. I genuinely feel like a changed person after the final book, and I cannot wait to have And A Happy New Year? in my hands so I can see what these girls have been up to again. If you love friendship, feminism and having a good time, this is the series for you!