Alex wants to be free of the restrictive curfews, nosey nuns and sports-obsessed priests at St Mary's boarding school. She thinks she's finally got a way out but when her ideas begin to involve the possibilities of turning the school on its narrow-minded head she finds it difficult to walk away.
Thank you to The Write Reads, Penguin and Flynn Meaney for letting me be involved in this blog tour! It was a great opportunity to see a YA approach to feminist narratives! I've been reading my fellow blog tour participants reviews and you can too! Their thoughts have been shared on @The_WriteReads Twitter page!
Feminist views are often seen has offensive and vulgar by the uninformed, so the thought of a book focused on not just feminist beliefs but those beliefs inside a Catholic boarding school might put some people off, but let me tell you, this was a hilarious and eye-opening narrative on the pressure and inequality women face in society. Alex, our main character, is stand-offish and believes that no woman should have to hide their bodies or their feelings, they can be seen and heard. Her approach to the matter at hand initially came off very hostile, she had no time for any different opinions but I was glad to see this approach was addressed throughout the novel.
One of the most admirable features of the book was its humour. There are serious topics that Alex deals with, her blasé attitude and dark humour are what lifts the topics into a more approachable light. It is true that most female troubles i.e. periods, harassment and pressure to conform are rarely acknowledged in the day of light, and when they are, they are embarrassing or looked down on. Alex ensures that this isn't the case for St Mary's and does so by being brutally honest with the student population and having a laugh, this gives the novel a light-hearted tone but with important topics to make sure the message is received.
Ultimately, the novel is to bring focus on the feminist morals of equal rights in school, work and social aspects of life. It didn't sit comfortably that one of Alex's "achievements" that year was getting a boyfriend, when throughout her attitude to Mary-Kate's goal of getting one was so rude. There is nothing wrong with having a boyfriend, part of being a feminist is accepting that it's a choice we are allowed to make, but it didn't feel right for Alex's story to end there.
Meaney makes 'Bad Habits' the new benchmark for the acceptable way to openly discuss feminist ideas, it's funny, it's crude but it is honest and that is what so many young female readers will love. It makes being a girl, in any form, acceptable.