The Best Laid Plans

Razorbill. Apr. 2020. 368p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780593114919.
Gr 10 Up–A cute first-person narrative about the big “V” word: virginity. Keely is in her final year of high school. She has four best friends, though she doesn’t really like two of them, but it’s a small town, so you take what you can get. When one of her friends loses their virginity at a party, it seems she is the only virgin left. But when Keely meets a James Dean look-alike from the local college, she feels the pressure to lose her V-card. James Dean doesn’t know Keely is a virgin, and she wants to keep it that way, so she asks her friend Andrew to help her become more experienced, and things get messy. Because when two best friends cross a line, there is no going back. This romantic comedy is a mix of awkward emotions and miscommunication. Approachable and easy to read, it explores complicated topics like slut-shaming and peer pressure. The author uses dynamic characters to create a well-rounded story. Keely’s friends experience growth, which helps Keely understand her own emotions and perspective. The tone is light, making it an enjoyable, quick read. The themes, and how they are addressed, make the story stand out. In the end, there’s a group of teens who have grown and have a thorough understanding of what they’ve gone through and are fearless as they approach the unknown future.
VERDICT This heartwarming, funny novel will resonate with anyone struggling under the weight of societal pressures.

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