Audiobook Review: Virgin by Radhika Sanghani

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Audiobook Review: Virgin by Radhika SanghaniVirgin by Radhika Sanghani
Narrator: Faye Adele
Length: 8 hrs, 17 mins
Published by Penguin Audio on August 5, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Humor, Romance
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
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four-half-stars

Okay, I admit it…I didn’t do it.

Yet.

This is normal, right? I mean, just because everyone I know has talked like they’ve already done it doesn’t mean that they’re telling the truth…right?

It’s not like I’m asking for that much. I don’t need the perfect guy. I don’t need candlelight or roses. Honestly, I don’t even need a real bed.

The guys I know complain that girls are always looking for Mr. Right—do I have to wear a sign that says I’m only looking for Mr. Right Now?

Sooooo…anyone out there want sex? Anyone? Hello? Just for fun?

I am not going to die a virgin. One way or another I am going to make this happen.

Hey, what have I got to lose? Besides the obvious.

This review is going to be personal in a way that I rarely get on my blog. I’d feel more comfortable if any family members who happen to be reading my blog would please skip this one or at least have the good grace to not talk to me about it. I am not and probably never will be mature enough for that.

Reading books like Losing It and Virgin is a very personal experience for me, as I am a 26-year-old virgin. I’m not waiting for something specific except for what feels like the right time for me. Though less abundant than slut-shaming, virgin-shaming is also prevalent in popular culture and I’ve always struggled with my own identity. I felt and still sometimes feel weird and behind, like there’s something wrong with me that I’ve ended up where I am. I’ve even idly (VERY idly) considered plans like Ellie’s: finding someone with the sole goal of not being a virgin anymore. However, I know myself well enough to know that’s not something I’m capable of, even though I do see the appeal of it.

Books like Virgin attract me, but they also scare me, because oftentimes the message is that it is indeed better to get it over with and to join everyone else in the land of the penetrated. At the start, I was afraid that this is the sort of book Virgin would be, as Ellie ranted and raved about how fucked up she was because she’d never been fucked. Do not stop reading, PLEASE. Virgin is revolutionary in a way that it shouldn’t be; our culture needs books like this, which frankly discuss all aspects of female sexuality, so that women like me or not can feel more comfortable with who they are and their own personal time table.

Ellie is sort of a stand-in for a woman of the modern world. She’s well-educated (in uni for English), attractive (though not model gorgeous), and has friends (not an outcast). She’s fairly average, which makes her incredibly relatable. She hates herself at the outset, the product of society’s messages. She hates herself for the same reasons I struggle to admit what shouldn’t be a shocking truth on my own blog. Everything in her life experience tells Ellie that there’s something wrong with her for having an intact hymen (though really this is a terrible indicator) and wants to fix that by finally having sex.

As Ellie launches on this journey, there was a bit more of a bumpy start as she got into a fight with a friend, partly over jealousy that Lara pulled at a club when Ellie had the big plan. Again, don’t let this make you throw Virgin aside. Friendships will be mended stronger than ever. There’s so much kinship and female understanding in Virgin, as the girls open up to one another about all their secret fears.

Virgin talks openly and honestly about vaginas. Ellie and her friend Emma end up starting a blog about their experiences as a 21-year-old virgin and a 21-year-old woman who is proud to be, in her attempt to reclaim the term as a positive, a slut. The blog is about vaginas and about sex. They discuss the state of pubic hair, masturbation, discharge, other body hair and things like that. They do so without shame and without letting the negative comments get them down. It’s so glorious. I was laughing and cringing regularly at Ellie’s mishaps, particularly Little Hitler. Then there’s the fact that Ellie’s internal monologues and concerns and fears are almost all things I’ve worried about in my time and I am just so glad that books like this one are starting to be published.

Even better, Virgin isn’t really a romance. It’s an actual new adult novel about growing up in so many ways. She’s trying to finish her degree and figure out what to do after that. She spends a lot of time and energy on her quest to lose her virginity, yes, but she continues living a real life on the side of it. Her friends were always more important than whatever boy she was chasing. And, in the end, it’s a book about loving and accepting yourself. It’s about figuring out what you want and what makes you feel good about yourself and embracing that. Hallelujah.

Virgin by Radhika Sanghani is brilliant new adult fiction in the inquisitive, comedic vein of The To Do List. It’s painful at times, incredibly awkward, exceedingly honest, and quite humorous. Highly recommended to those who want new adult fiction that is about more than romance.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

gif to do list virgin
gif to do list climax

15 responses to “Audiobook Review: Virgin by Radhika Sanghani”

  1. Nessi says:

    I’m glad I stumbled upon this blog. I really liked your review and maybe I’m going to read this book, too. 🙂
    I’m a feminist and this book sounds like just the right book to equality.
    I’d gladly get to know you and your blog more. You just won yourself a frequent reader. Hopefully I can find you on bloglovin 🙂

    • Christina Franke says:

      Awww, thank you. I am on Bloglovin’. I hope you enjoy the book too. It took me a bit, but I’m so so happy it exists and is talking about these things.

  2. Meg says:

    This book sounds fucking awesome as are you and this review.

    “our culture needs books like this, which frankly discuss all aspects of female sexuality, so that women like me or not can feel more comfortable with who they are and their own personal time table” PREEEEEACH

    Yes please to frank conversations about sex and not sex and all of the weird, goofy, awkward things that go along with sex and body parts.

    I’m so glad you wrote/posted this. *many, many hugs* Books and conversations like this are so important to have. There are so many societal hangups around everything have to do with sex and why? I mean, okay, we can probably put this one down on the patriarchy (Ellis is on a plane, so I am channeling her in the meantime) but it’d be really nice if we could just get past that now please and thank you.

    You are the best.

    p.s. craughing forever over ‘the land of the penetrated

    p.p.s. purchased
    Meg recently posted…Who’s This Katie Finn Character?!My Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Awww, *HUGS* <- It's in all caps for extra squishing. SO WEIRD AND GOOFY. This is like the adult book version of Anatomy of a Boyfriend. So great. We really do need to get past it because hello most people want sex and if we didn't have fucked up attitudes about it, people could have it more often and more safely without shame. And people who don't want it could talk about it and find their people and not feel alone or weird. Because neither thing is weird and my kanye, life is hard enough without this. p.s. I was pretty thrilled with that line. p.p.s. I hope you love ittttt. You will probably cackle muchly.

  3. Dragana says:

    Now you got me interested! This is one of the topics I don’t see much. And it’s funny? Sounds like a must read.

    Now to get more personal. I was also a virgin until I was 24. As a teen I waited for someone special and then… I don’t know how it is in USA but here, after some time, guys think that you are looking for a serious relationship. Like they should marry you if they sleep with you. And they avoid you like plague. As you get older it gets harder to lose it.
    Dragana recently posted…Book Review: Wings of Arian by Devri WallsMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      It’s very funny, sometimes in a punny way, sometimes in a cringey way, and sometimes just in a bantery way. It’s pretty great.

      Interesting. I think it’s a bit the same here, though it’s never really be an issue for me. Mostly, I’m either long term oriented or just plain not relationship-oriented. I really wish we had some different language for this subject, because losing it sounds awful, as does a guy taking it. Blergh.

      • Dragana says:

        You already convinced me to read, you don’t have to praise it anymore. I requested it on Netgalley, but if they decline I’m buying it.

        It was not really an issue for me either, but most of the people think it’s a problem. Even when you tell them you are not interested in relationships, they think it’s only an excuse. And there is no one for you to talk about this subject. Because others either make fun of you or want to help you to stop being one.
        Trying to think for alternative term and can’t think of one. I think even losing it is better than the term we use in Serbian. The best translation would be: getting rid of it.
        Dragana recently posted…Book Review: Wings of Arian by Devri WallsMy Profile

  4. SOLD I WANT IT I NEED IT IN MY LIFE.
    Debby (Snuggly Oranges) recently posted…Top Ten Gateway Books If You’re New To Sci-Fi and/or FantasyMy Profile

  5. Dahlia Adler says:

    I’m *so* glad to hear there’s a great book out there like this. (I actually have an ARC from BEA, and I bumped it to the top of my TBR when I saw how highly you rated it, especially since we’ve privately talked about this particular topic a lot.) Such a necessary thing, especially because even in the most well-meaning attempts to fight slut-shaming, virgin-shaming is still very much a Thing; acknowledgment that the older you get, the scarier it gets is so freaking important. Plus, more books that are honest about the good, the bad, and the super ugly are never a bad thing, and having one in NA goes beyond important into *necessary.* Go Radhika Sanghani!
    Dahlia Adler recently posted…Author Spotlight: Kara TaylorMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      I’ll be curious to hear your thoughts on this one, since we don’t always agree on contemps. BUT I think no matter what you’ll love it for the dialog it opens up. And, yeah, it’s definitely diving into the good, the bad, the awkward, and everything else too. 😀

  6. Ashton says:

    This was really lovely, Christina. I am definitely interested in this book now.

  7. Heather says:

    I hate how our society perpetuates the notions of slut-shaming and virgin-shaming. Seriously, what is a woman supposed to do? There is nothing wrong with being a virgin, not being a virgin, liking sex, or not liking sex, and why do other people feel like it’s their place to judge anyway? I don’t get it! There is absolutely nothing wrong with you, buddy! You just keep doing your thing, and the right moment will come along; there’s no timetable for this kind of thing 🙂 If you ever need to chat, just let me know!

    Anyway, I will definitely have to read this book at some point; it sounds interesting and real!

  8. This is a wonderful review. It’s a book that I have been very curious about and definitely want to read. I picked up a copy from Edelweiss. I am glad to hear that you enjoyed this book so much. I think it will speak to me in many ways, too.
    Quinn @ Quinn’s Book Nook recently posted…Top Ten Books I’d Give to Readers Who Haven’t Read Romance NovelsMy Profile

  9. Lesley says:

    I hadn’t heard of this one, but I’ll definitely be checking it now. Certainly one I can relate to!
    Lesley recently posted…TOP TEN TUESDAY (9)My Profile

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