Now, If you had told me a couple of years ago that I'd be shoving a book called V is for Virgin at my students, I would have wondered if you were insane. After all, past-me would say, a book with that title could only be one of two things. It's either one of Those Christian Inspirational Books in which the MFC is a virgin and convinces her boyfriend, friend and doubting classmate that virginity is What God Wants. Or it would be one of Those Romances where the Staunch Virgin loses said virginity after much resistance in as much detail as the author could provide.
But I wondered anyway, when I first picked it up during my Oram marathon: this is Kelly Oram. She did Cinder & Ella! The Avery Shaw Experiment! I could trust her not to write like that... right?
So I picked it up. I read about The Virgin, Valerie. I read about her attempt to explain her stand to her boyfriend. I read about him dumping her because she wouldn't put out. I read about said boyfriend's lies. I read her tabletop declaration that yes she was a virgin and unashamed of that fact. I read about her declaration going viral. And I knew this one was going to be different.
Surprisingly, this book was not so much about remaining a virgin until marriage. Sure, that was Valerie's choice, but it wasn't for religious reasons. Nor did she shove her choice down anyone's throat. Instead, Val talks about every girl's right to make her own choices, and not letting ridicule, public opinion or even their own boyfriends make that choice for them. Instead of browbeating you into agreeing with her choice, Val points out how much society focuses on taking that choice away. It's something people tend to forget in this society: that having the right to choose to do something also means having the right to choose not to do it (or even Do It). And Val doesn't Do It with the humour, flair, wicked wit and strength of character I've come to expect of characters created by one Kelly Oram.