Review: Bad Habits by Flynn Meaney

I was sent a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb: The day they gave me the St. Mary’s rulebook, I ripped it up.
In a world of curfews, uniforms and traditions, Alex is a lone, loud voice for female equality. So when she decides to stage the ground-breaking feminist play The Vagina Monologues she had one thing on her mind – getting expelled. But as Alex’s campaign kicks in, she realises that just maybe she can make a change at St. Mary’s. To do that, she’s going to need a little help…

Title: Bad Habits

Author: Flynn Meaney

Publisher: Penguin Books, part of the Penguin Random House Group

Genre: Fiction, YA, Contemporary


Alex isn’t one for rules. But being a student at St. Mary’s Catholic school (complete with nuns, priests and an abstinence club for good measure), she’s not anyone’s favourite student. On a mission to get herself expelled and sent home to sunny California, Alex decides she needs to do something drastic – and as leader of the St. Mary’s Feminist Society, putting on a detailed performance of The Vagina Monologues seems exactly like the final push she needs…

I’m going to have try particularly hard not to ramble in this review which is something I always do when I love a book. I’m a bit stingy with my 5-star ratings but a few chapters in, I just knew that it was the only rating that I could give this book. Don’t you just love it when that happens?! From the hilarious tone to the characters to the overarching storyline, I loved everything about it.

We read from Alex’s point of view in this book and it’s packed with snark, sarcasm and hilarity from the get go. I actually snorted several times while reading and if that’s not the mark of a fabulous book, I don’t know what is. I loved that Alex was a strong character, who didn’t shrink herself for anyone no matter what they may have thought of her or what her surroundings demanded. She’s sex positive, loud and open – a type of character that I’d love to see more of in YA. I also really loved that she wasn’t the outcast! So many times I’ve read books where the feminist with the purple hair is the one everyone hates but this isn’t the case here. I think it speaks a lot to the growing general tolerance with young people where Alex still has friends, gets good grades (even if she’s a little late at handing homework in) and becomes a sort of mentor to other girls in her dorm as they know she won’t judge them. To add to that, her friendship with her roommate, Mary Kate, was fantastic. A little bit like chalk and cheese on the outside (the purple haired, tattooed badass who’s not afraid to say the word ‘vagina’ to a nun vs. the goodie-two-shoes, French-braid-wearing cuddler of stuffed animals who’s too nervous to buy her own tampons), their relationship was one of the highlights of the whole book. Talking everything from boys to broken noses, they share a type of friendship that I would love to be part of. They’re typical girls and I saw a lot of my own friendships in them which was brilliant. Relating to that, the characters were all well written and enjoyable – once again I’m going to mention Mary Kate here, who we see grow from a little bit of a mouse to someone who’s not afraid to stand her ground. There’s also a bit towards the end of the book centring around Katie Casey (eternal optimist, perfect student and leader of the abstinence club) where we get to see another side to her which only made me love the book all the more. The setting was descriptive enough to give you a great idea of the St. Mary’s campus while not becoming boring with the details and the pacing was well done. This isn’t a book with a big twist or a load of drama but that’s one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much. It’s real, contemporary, shines a light on the importance of friendship and made me wish I’d gone to Catholic boarding school too!

As for what I disliked, there was nothing! I was hooked from the first page and hated having to put this book down even for a minute. The only thing I will say is that if this book isn’t picked up for a movie adaption anytime soon I might have to change my career path and make my own! 😂

Overall, I can’t recommend this book enough to anyone who enjoys contemporary YA that’ll make you snort with laughter and give you all the friendship feels. Perfect reading for fans of Dumplin’ and The Diary of a Confused Feminist!

Rating: 5/5

Recommend?: Yes!!!!

Have you read this book? Or maybe you’ve read something similar? What did you think? I’d love to know!

You can always find me over on Twitter if you’d like to discuss this book (or any others that I’ve featured) in more detail 😌

5 thoughts on “Review: Bad Habits by Flynn Meaney

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