Hello, internet people! Are we ready to get a little uncomfortable today? I read my second ever Romance novel this past week, and I’ve got a lot of thoughts about it that I want to share.
(Before we get started, I want to mention that I received a free Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. Thank you, NetGalley!)
Let’s get started with today’s book: The Virgin Romance Novelist by Meghan Quinn! Advance notice: there will be spoilers. I genuinely don’t know how to talk about this book without dropping a few spoilers, so consider yourselves warned, readers.
First things first, if you know me, you know I have historically not really read much in the way of Romance. Last year, I read Since You’ve Been Gone, which was pretty light in terms of actual, intense descriptions of sex. This year, I dove headfirst into this eBook, which was such an intense read (for me), that I had to come up for air. I was attracted to The Virgin Romance Novelist because its summary told me that it was about a 23-year-old virgin who is trying to write a romance novel. As a 23-year-old virgin writer, I couldn’t help but think “I need this book in my life.” I don’t regret the decision at all.
This book is one of those books I would characterize as a fun, light read. Within a few chapters, the “who ends up with who” of the thing became pretty easily clear–a male best friend who does a lot of snuggling and refers to the narrator exclusively as “Love”? Gee… wonder what’s going to happen? Since I have a bit of a complicated relationship with the “best friends in love” trope, it took me a while to warm up to the idea, but slowly and surely, Henry won me over as the most likely candidate.
Rosie, the main character, is a fun, quirky, and neurotic narrator who gets into a series of unfortunate, awkward situations throughout the book as she attempts to educate herself about the stuff of Romance novels (aka sexy sex). While some of her mishaps bend believably (does anyone have EXCLUSIVELY bad dates?), Rosie herself is a believable, lovable narrator who you can’t help but root for. Things even try to get a little meta as Rosie sees herself as the character in a Romance novel who fails to see that the hero is perfect for her. It felt a bit like trying a teeny bit too hard for me at this point, but it was still an interesting effort to make the book a commentary on itself. The story seems to strive for realistic portrayals, as most of the sex scenes are a combination of awkward and steamy that left me unsure whether to catch my breath or laugh out loud (Rosie names her lady bits Virginia, for instance, and Virginia does a lot of “clapping” in appreciation… something I could never take seriously).
I ripped through this book in the space of a few days, even staying up until the ripe old hour of 10pm on a work night so that I could finish the book. That being said, I can’t do anything but recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Romance. A word of caution for the virgins of the world, however: you’re probably going to get a little offended by Rosie’s often ridiculous level of naivety (I mean, come on… she reads. She can figure some of this stuff out). All in all, however, it’s a fun book and certainly a great quick read.