This review is brought to you as part of the Bad Habits Ultimate Blog Tour hosted by The Write Reads. Thank you to Flynn Meaney, Penguin and Dave from The Write Reads for the chance to review a copy and be part of this blog tour.
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 . . .Bad Habits by Flynn Meaney
Bad Habits is the riotous, fun, and humour filled feminist read of 2021.
First of all I want to mention that the main theme of Bad Habits is feminism and it goes a long way to highlight the everyday sexism that exist in society. Throughout the book we are remained that not all sexism is glaringly obvious. Some are little comments or micro aggressions that although don’t seem to be offensive they do reinforce sexist ideas that lay below the surface and are just as detrimental as the more obvious and intended attacks. Now for me as a male and at times very ignorant (although I do try to inform myself, learn and change my ways) to everyday sexism Bad Habits served as a good reminder of my part and what I can do to help the situation.
Now another really clear directive of Bad Habits is that the ultimate goal of feminism can differ from person to person. Our main protagonist, Alex, for instance is an example that sexual freedom is high on the list for many however for others the idea of saving ourselves for that special someone is just as much an important goal. What I’m saying is that Bad Habits does a fantastic job of highlighting the fact that feminism comes in many flavours and people fight for what matters to them most. One thing I did note is that at times Alex puts her own goals ahead of others and this goes to show that in her pursuit of feminism she actually undermines other’s efforts or down plays the importance of their idea of feminism.
With all that being said Bad Habits was a really enjoyable read. The humour was right on point for a young adult novel and the characters are nice and diverse. One thing I really enjoyed about the read is that the two main characters, Alex and Mary-Kate, are such different characters but they work so well together. Alex is our resident bad girl with her purple fauxhawk and motorcycle boots that treats school like the Thunder dome rather than a place of learning, kinda like I did myself, and then we have Mary-Kate a typical goody two shoes that avoids trouble making like the plague. This ultimately gives us the ideal conditions for some humorous happenings to flourish. A big high five to Meaney for that.
Bad Habits is set in the ex all boys school of St. Mary’s which is totally fitting to the theme of the book and a great choice by Flynn Meaney. Meaney does a great job of building a beautiful setting which really helps bring the story alive. The school is filled with the usual aspects that would be found at any real world school. Secret passage way/corridor that no one knows about, the odd ghost story and the sections of the school that you really don’t want to walk down for fear of bumping into the resident bully.
Oh one more thing I liked was the nice sprinkling of references to movies, books and songs through the book. I know some people don’t like references to other works but there are a lot that do and where references are used they make sense. They don’t feel like they have been plonked in randomly to help jazz things up. I do want to mention that it seemed to be a strange choice to include Harry Potter references given recent happenings over the last several years into a book that promotes equality among the sexes. Depending how you feel on the matter will depend on what you make of the use of HP references but I thought it worth a mention nonetheless.
On the other side of the scales one thing I didn’t like is that Alex didn’t really see any comeuppance for the way she treats those around her in her blind pursuit of her goals. Those on the receiving end just seemed to be fine with it and shrug it off which I didn’t feel would be true to the age range of the characters. Teenagers after all can be an unpredictable bunch at times when it comes to friendships. This is only a small issue I have with Bad Habits and it does not hold back the story which continues to flow nicely regardless.
Overall Bad Habits was a good eye opener for me on the topic of feminism and with it being a light read with easy to read prose I would happily recommend Bad Habits to those wanting a fun, quick and humour filled read while wanting to know more on the subject of sexism.
P.S. Okay now I am no expert on the subject of feminism and gender inequality so by all means if anything I have said in this review is incorrect or offensive please highlight that to me. After all the main reason I want to read Bad Habits is to educate myself in a fictional setting that I enjoy best.