Book Review: Virgin by Radhika Sanghani

Posted August 11, 2014 by LeahAdmin in Reviews / 12 Comments

Virgin by Radhika Sanghani
Virgin by Radhika Sanghani
Published by Berkley on Aug. 5, 2014
Pages: 304
Genres: Young Adult
Source: Publisher

21-year-old Ellie is determined to cash in her V-card before graduating from her London university. Surrounded by girlfriends who lost their virginity years ago and the survivor of a few mortifying experiences with the opposite sex, she’s ready to become a woman… with just about any man willing to deflower her.

This book caught my attention when it was pitched at the BEA book club speed dating event. The publisher rep presented it as a funny novel about all the things no one talks about, from blow jobs to Brazilian waxes. As I’ve recently been lamenting the dearth of smart novels about women in their 20s, I was really intrigued by this title and eagerly downloaded the e-galley after reading positive reviews by One More Page and 52 Books or Bust.

Virgin is a fun read, for what it is. It’s not the most literary thing I’ve ever read, but it was light and funny and relatable. Ellie’s obsession with losing her virginity is a bit annoying at times, but by the end of the novel, she comes around to a healthier attitude toward sex, realizing that it’s okay to be a virgin, and it’s okay to be a slut (not my choice of word) — that women should do as they please and not be ashamed about it — whatever it is.

This is definitely a book I would recommend to women who are or were “late bloomers.” Young women in Ellie’s situation will enjoy reading a book told from the perspective of a character who is going through the same things as them, and Virgin may answer some of the questions they might have. Women who have a bit more experience than Ellie may have flash-backs to their own days of sexual curiosity and frustration. Ellie’s escapades are terribly cringe-inducing, but I’m sure many women have gone through the same things! Virgin is written realistically in the frank voice of college girlfriends staying up late dishing about boys and their vaginas. Not everyone will love it, but I found it refreshing. It is a light-hearted, relatable book about a young woman trying to achieve her sexual awakening with the support of some great friends.

In wrapping up, I should mention that this novel is very graphic. For what this book is about, it needed to be graphic, but readers should be aware of this going in.

  • Mystica

    Have seen many posts re this book. Intriguing.

  • I’m keeping an eye out for this one. If I find a cheap copy, I’m in.

  • Thanks for linking to my review! I’m so happy that you enjoyed it 😀

  • Words for Worms

    LOL, I have a feeling I would relate to this one. Late bloomer right here. High school boyfriends? Not so much. Probably the ginormous baggy grunge pants. Turns out it’s not a great look…

  • I’ve been really curious to see how this compares to How to Build a Girl, which you’re reading now, right? Seems like it’s a bit more serious, but shares similar themes.

  • I think sounds like a really interesting read. Even though it’s a lighter book, it seems like it could be very thought provoking.

  • Thanks for the mention. I’m glad you liked it. You’re right, it isn’t the most literary read, but i think it dealt with some of the issues young 20 somethings sometimes deal with. And I just think talking about sexuality more openly is really important. And I’m assuming you got the version with the rose petals, was the other cover available to you? I keep wondering why they published it with two different covers.

    • I definitely loved the way this book talked about the things that everyone wonders about, but no one talks about.

      I got it as an e-galley, so I don’t even know which cover it had. But I know why they published it with two covers! When the rep at the BEA event pitched it, she said they loved both designs so much they couldn’t choose which one to use, so they went with both! They figured the cover with the girl might appeal more to younger readers, and the flower V would appeal more to older readers.

  • I think this would be interesting, especially given I was strangely studious initially as an undergrad and missed out on some stuff! Plus it sounds like a fun, light read.