Genre: Young Adult,contemporary, feminism, mental health.
Year Of Publication: 1st August 2015-1st November 2016
Publisher: Usborne Publishing Ltd.
Pages: 1570 ( Paperback / Hardback )
My rating: 5/5
This series is AWESOME! I finally understand why people love it so much! Thank God it’s not one of those books that are insanely hyped about but are utter disappointments.
“We can reinvent the word ‘spinster’, make it the complete opposite of what it means?Like ‘young’ and ‘independent’ and ‘strong’?”
“At the moment,spinster,technically means,what?An older unmarried woman?But it also means more than that.It’s the scary fairytale word girls are told about so we fear being unattractive to men from a young age.It means left on the shelf.It means a life wasted.It means cat lady.It means lonely and sad and bitter just because a man doesn’t want you…What if we reversed it?”
“Being a spinster means you value your female relationships as much as your male ones. It means not altering who you are,what you believe in,and what you want just because it makes a boy’s life easier”
“Being a spinster means you’re not afraid to look at society and say loudly,’I don’t agree with this,this is wrong’.Being a spinster means not worrying that boys won’t find you cute or sexy for saying those things”
“Being a spinster means looking after your girlfriends supporting them through whatever they need”
The Spinster Club series comprises of four books:
#1: Am I Normal Yet
In the first book we are introduced to Evie who’s finding it hard dealing with her OCD.
She finally has a fresh start at her new college where no one knows about her breakdown.
She’s successfully learned to cope with her panic attacks and is almost off her meds.
She’s convinced that this year will be different for her.
Too bad the universe has other plans…..
“That’s the thing about anxiety.You can worry about anything and everything,dream up all sorts of weird and wonderful situations to be terrified of in the hope your fear will control the world somehow…..and yet the world remains uncontrollable. Nothing you can imagine is ever as weird and wonderful as reality and what it chucks at you”
In her journey through bad decisions and guys that don’t deserve her; she meets Amber and Lottie. Together they form “The Spinster Club” where they hold meetings discussing women and the problems that surround them in these days and times. Not to mention they gorge on cheesy snacks (*yum). I especially loved the insight that was provided about OCD and mental health in general-this book had some of my favourite quotes from the entire series.
“Mental illnesses grab you by the leg,screaming,and chow you down whole.They make you selfish.They make you irrational.They make you self-absorbed.They make you needy. They make you cancel plans last minute.They make you exhausting to be near.
And just because people know the right words now,doesn’t mean they’re any better at putting up with the behaviour. They smile and nod and say,”Oh how awful,yes I watched a programme about that,you poor thing”….And then they get really pissed off at you when you have a panic attack at a party and need to leave early.When they actually have to demonstrate understanding,they bring out the old favourites like “come on,try harder” or “it’s not that bad” or “but that isn’t logical” – undoing all the original hand-patting and there-there-ing.”
#2:How Hard Can Love Be
In the second book we see Amber going off to America to meet her estranged mother who remarried and moved as far away as she could from her old life-and away from her….
To make matters worse she ends up having to volunteer at her step-fathers’ camp.
How will Amber survive through the summer; surrounded by gorgeous American boys and noisy,sticky children?
In this book we see Amber dealing with her insecurities about the way she looks and wondering if her mother ever loved her. We get to tag along on her journey as she emerges from her cocoon as a beautiful butterfly and battles her inhibitions.
And let’s not forget hunky prom king Kyle with the great arms (*wink wink).
“Be you. It’s all you can ever be anyway. But own being you. It’s a fab thing to own.”
#3: What’s A Girl Gotta Do
In the third book we see Lottie being sexually harassed one day and vowing to point out sexism wherever and whenever she comes across it.Thus begins her project “The #Vagilante vlog”.
But Lottie will soon realize that being vocal about her feminist views will have repercussions.
With parents who are concerned about her future and whether she’ll get into the best university (*so she can become prime minister of couse!), to things escalating online with people giving her death threats.
Will Lottie spiral out of control? Or will she stand her ground and speak her heart out?
Lottie makes you want to be more outspoken about your beliefs. She’s fierce and flawed but her heart is in the right place.We see her vulnerable and indecisive but at the end she soldiers on and faces her fears and emerges as a better person.
“When you fight for what you believe in, you come across a lot of obstacles. People who don’t agree with you, people who agree with you but only some bits, people who delight in ripping you down, people who are threatened by the strength of your belief.
But I was beginning to realise, the biggest hurdle to overcome was the hurdle of yourself.”
#3.5: …..And A Happy New Year?
In the final concluding novella of the series Amber,Evie and Lottie reunite after an entire year apart.Things have changed, and so have they.
At Ambers’ New Year party the truth comes spilling out. Feelings are hurt and tempers rise.
Will the Spinsters break up? Or will they come out stronger?
I loved that this book didn’t have an obvious ending.It left enough for the reader to imagine “what happens afterwards”.
All in all this book was the perfect ending to a series which focuses on friendship and strong,positive female bonds.
“This is life, Lottie. There’s no such thing as a happy ending. Because there’s no such thing as an ending. More days keep coming, some good, some bad. You can’t just stay limboed in a moment of happiness. That’s not realistic.”
I spent the last month savoring these books (*because you simply don’t “just” read them) .
I loved the fact that it doesn’t sugar coat people and their experiences.
It’s very realistic in depicting the emotional turmoil each of the protagonists goes through in their journey to understand themselves better.
The series doesn’t end on a completely happy note- and that’s alright; because life isn’t always perfect. We as humans make mistakes and are flawed and I think Holly Bourne does an excellent job explaining how it’s okay to embrace your imperfections and be who you are.
That it’s possible to be happy even though the voice inside your head constantly keeps telling you that you don’t deserve to be.
That it’s possible to be different than everybody else around you but still find that you belong.
That you might look like you have you sh*t together but it’s alright if you don’t.
In the end it’s your happiness that matters.
The series also imparts knowledge about feminism and mental illness – which in all honesty you can never have too much of.
I recommend that you go and do yourselves a favour and read this series immediately. I can assure you that you’ll be highly entertained throughout and would want to become a Spinster a.s.a.p.! ( *not to mention the insane amounts of cheesy snacks that you’d want to consume while you’re reading…..so BEWARE! )
I can’t believe I finished reading all the books. I don’t know what to do with myself anymore……
I obviously know what I’m going to do .
Read all the other books by Holly Bourne of course!
Not to mention she has a new book coming out in October called “It Only happens in the Movies” that I’m very EXCITED about (*if you couldn’t tell already).
The cover is so great (*popcorn . yum. all that butter …..). And another adult fiction book called “When the Music Stops” that I’m already dying to get my hands on!
More power to you Holly!
I can already tell I’m going to love reading everything you write in the future 🙂
*I was sent this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
*If you live in Pakistan you can order this book from http://www.libertybooks.com