#UltimateBlogTour & Mini Book Review: Bad Habits, by Flynn Meaney


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

3.5 Stars


Synopsis: Alex is rebellious, a feminist, and a student at a strict Catholic school – St Mary’s. Constantly in trouble for her rebellious behaviour, Alex has been on the brink of expulsion – just to have her dad save her place. Now she has a new plan, tired of the sexism pervading the school and with expulsion as her goal, Alex is determined to perform The Vagina Monologues. But in a school where no-one will even use the ‘V’ word Alex has set herself an impossible challenge.

CW/TW: Drug use/Alcohol use/ sex, sexual harassment references/ unsafe sex/ others may be present.


So a big thankyou to Dave @TheWriteReads for giving me a spot on this fun and brilliant #ultimateblogtour!

Bad Habits, by Flynn Meaney is a fun, quirky and chaotic story of feminism, rebellion and identity. Alex is a force of a character, she is determined, headstrong, vocal and chaotic. But, she is also self-centered and, despite her feminist views, narrow minded with a strong belief in her own idea of feminism and women’s liberation. However, because of this Alex comes across as a very real character, flawed, but still a character you can root for.

The plot is easy to follow, the prose flows well and is quirky and comical! This is definitely an engaging and fun feminist story that manages to tackle serious issues in an upbeat way without making them seem insubstantial – it is very cleverly done and reflects reality quite well. I loved the little pop culture and classic literature references littered throughout the book. The humour and comedy may seem quite overwhelming at first, but as the book goes on the comedy becomes more balanced and works to really highlight certain scenes or points that are key to the story and message.

The plot focuses around Alex trying to get the school to agree to her production of The Vagina Monologues, hoping it will get her expelled – her rebellion is entertaining to watch but is also handle in a clever way, she wants to get expelled, yes, and her home life is not all that great, but part of her does this also to battle sexism and liberate language surrounding women’s bodies. What starts as an attempt to anger the school becomes something much more important, an open discourse about sexism and freedom.

The book takes a feminist focus, and Alex is a very specific type of feminist who believes freedom comes from sexual liberation and outward portrayals of personality – and while this is great we also explore why her feminism may be harmful to other women. For example, we get a nice contrast between Alex and her overt personality and plethora of sexual innuendos compared with Katie Casey, vocal in a different way she supports keeping yourself until marriage, owning your body by choosing not to have sex until then. I really liked the clash between these two characters and the ultimate plot beneath it showing that being a feminist means freedom with choices about your own body but also the choices other women make about theirs even if it does not coincide with your own. This important message for and behind feminism is explored in a delightfully funny way.

I also loved the book had the school vibe behind it, the rumours and school ‘curses/stories’, the strict Catholic setting, the sports team and the clubs – all of it worked very well with the plot and theme of the book. School is a time and place of growth it is where everyone begins to find their own identities through clubs, friends and the school system itself – so having that alongside the idea of feminism and freedom of identity really supported how the characters tackled their ideologies and allowed their opinions to grow and change over the course of the book. The addition of school stories and traditions also made the setting come to life and added humour to the story.

I also liked the male characters in the book, primarily Pat (The main one at least). It was interesting to see how the male characters would fit into the feminist narrative and I liked how it was done without demonizing ever male character present. They are flawed and have privilege in the book, and some are problematic, but some of them learn and are supportive of Alex’s feminist ways. Alex is quick to blame misogyny for her failures and sometimes that is standing in her way, but other times she uses it as an excuse and gets called out on it by male characters but also female ones, causing her to address and correct her feminism. I think this was handle quite well and I thought it was clever how the concept of feminism was addressed. Alex does make mistakes with her beliefs but at her core she does care about freedom and identity and goes out of her way to help the other girls, and it was nice to watch her slowly improve over the course of the book in this regard.

This book has a nostalgic feel for me, I loved all those trouble making school students sent to boarding school for misbehaviour, and this book sort of resonated with the nostalgia of those reads. While this is clearly for a much older audience, the fun, comforting feel still exists, but with something extra!

Overall, this book has the fun of a teen/YA read, that comical and realistic school setting and great complex flawed characters. It is a comical book that also deals with serious issues but does so in a light way without debasing them, and addresses the concept of feminism. The strict Catholic backdrop gives a stark view to wider reality, its extremes reflecting the subtler forms of sexism in wider society. This book was a great, fun read overall!

About The Author: Flynn Meaney

Flynn Meaney is the author of The Boy Recession and Bloodthirsty. She studied marketing and French at the University of Notre Dame, where she barely survived the terrifying array of priests and nuns, campus ghosts, and bone-crushing athletes who inspired Bad Habits. Since completing a very practical MFA in Poetry, she works for a French company and travels often between New York (when she’s in the mood for bagels) and Paris (when she’s in the mood for croissants).


*I recieved a review/eARC copy via #Netgalley, thanks to @TheWriteReads, for a spot on the blogtour and in exchange for honest review.*


3 comments

  1. […] #UltimateBlogTour & Mini Book Review: Bad Habits, by Flynn Meaney – Netgalley eARC-⭐⭐⭐🌟 ( 3.5 Stars) – I was given a spot on this Ultimate Blog Tour by the amazing @The_WriteReads! Thankyou! – Bad Habits is a comical, fun, feminist tale that will have you laughing along with characters. This feminist story is set to the backdrop of a strict Catholic school and the plot deals with multiple important topics in a light nd fun way. […]

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