#BookReview: Like Other Girls by @chennessybooks @HotKeyBooks

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Like Other Girls book review

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Here's what Lauren knows: she's not like other girls. She also knows it's problematic to say that - what's wrong with girls? She's even fancied some in the past. But if you were stuck in St Agnes, her posh all-girls school, you'd feel like that too. Here everyone's expected to be Perfect Young Ladies, it's even a song in the painfully awful musical they're putting on this year. And obviously said musical is directed by Lauren's arch nemesis.

Under it all though, Lauren's heart is bruised. Her boyfriend thinks she's crazy and her best friend has issues of her own... so when Lauren realises she's facing every teenage girl's worst nightmare, she has nowhere to turn. Maybe she should just give in to everything. Be like other girls. That's all so much easier ... right?


Review:

I'm so glad someone finally wrote this book! I'm also glad that someone was Claire Hennessy as I've really enjoyed the way she's tackled teen issues in her past books. 

I had to smile at some of the reviews of this book on Goodreads. People seem to be surprised that a teenager in a book isn't perfect. Lauren doesn't always say the right thing or act the right way, but then what teen does? I do believe she learns from her actions and everything she experienced made her a stronger person. However, even if she didn't learn that wouldn't have affected my enjoyment of the book.  People don't always magically change for the better (despite many teens online believing they should in every.single.book), they don't always learn a valuable lesson, they don't always get what they deserve. Fiction reflects life and shitty people exist.


Anyway, enough derailing. The book. 

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I wasn't sure how to approach this review as I thought revealing Lauren's experience might spoil things too much. I messaged the author and she assured me that it wouldn't be as she had revealed details herself in discussions.

So here it is: while dating her tosser of boyfriend (I really hated that guy) Lauren becomes pregnant. She decides she doesn't want to be pregnant. She's young, she has plans that don't involve a baby and her boyfriend is an ass. It's as simple as that. 

I really admired the angle Claire took on this. There was no moral dilemmas (at first) or questioning her virtues. She didn't regret having sex or regret feeling like she needs sex (It's still a taboo subject among young girls here). I love that she dealt with the subject in an open and honest way. She just didn't want to be pregnant. End of story (well not really but you know what I mean).

I think I really connected with this book because I was born and have lived my whole life in Ireland. You may or may not know that in Ireland abortion in illegal unless you can convince a board of doctors that you are about to take your own life. Sounds horrific, right? It is. We have no say over our reproductive organs because this is a 'Catholic country' (excuse me while I throw up a little). 

You might think I'm exaggerating, that such a law would never really be upheld. Well just have a read at what happened to poor Savita Halapannavar.

When Lauren decides she wants to have an abortion she's treated horrendously by a local anti-choice group masquerading as a women's health clinic. Again this may seem far fetched but you just have to read the lies spewed by the people like Youth Defense. Lauren is a strong who's girl capable of seeing through their bullshit, but many are not. Many are confused, emotional and  just believe what they're told.

What's heartbreaking is that Lauren has to face it all alone. She tells no one because she fears what repercussions she may face from both her mother (who she is distanced from as she's also the principal of her school) and her friends (who she's also fallen out with). Women in Ireland do face a possible prosecution if they are found to have had an abortion-up to 14 years imprisonment. Many won't go to the doctor and the one's that do have to pretend they've had a miscarriage. It's currently a very isolating experience and this is reflected in Like Other Girls.  

But she deals with it, maybe not in the best way but Lauren comes out the other side fighting. Even though this book deals with tough issues I really enjoyed reading it. The seriousness is balanced out with Lauren's wonderful snarkiness, and she loves musicals which makes her a fantastic human in my book. I also loved that this book featured many LBGTQ+ characters who fit well into the story. It doesn't feel like she included them just for the sake of ticking boxes like some books I've read. 

Like Other Girls is an authentic read and you can really feel that the author cared about the issues within. The passion flows from the pages. I hope this book finds it's way into the hands of every Irish teenager.

Rating:

★★★★★

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2 comments:

  1. Great review! I'm going to have to pick this one up. It's really rare that a YA author seems to be willing to tackle topics as heavy as abortion, so the fact that it was handled well makes me interested. On another note, I just found your blog through Bloggers Commenting Back's list and it's gorgeous! I love your reviews and your header. :)

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    1. Thanks so much! I clicked on your profile but I can't see your blog link?

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