*I received an E-ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
Goodreads Synopsis: Preachers’ daughters aren’t supposed to be atheists. They’re also not supposed to make pacts to lose their virginity by the end of the year, but high school senior Meredith Beaumont is sick of letting other people tell her who to be.
Spending the last four years as Mute Mare, the girl so shy just thinking about boys could trigger panic attacks, Meredith knows exactly what it’s like to be invisible. But when a vindictive mean girl gets her manicured claws on the anti-virginity pact and spreads it around the school—with Mare’s signature at the bottom—Mare’s not so invisible anymore. She just wishes she was.
Firstly, I want to say that I wanted to read this book so much because I adore the author’s YouTube videos (channel- Katesbookdate). I’ve watched her videos for years and so I was ecstatic for her when she announced this book. I was so so happy when I got approved for the ARC which is why it saddens me to say this book did not live up to my expectations. It is not bad by any means, I just don’t think that this book is ready for publication yet. I’m actually struggling to determine a rating for this book but I’m hoping to have one by the time I finish writing this review!
Trigger Warnings (provided by Wismer): Bullying, religion, sexual assault, animal abuse, substance abuse, anxiety and trauma.
Rating: 2.75/5 stars
Writing Style: The writing style was pretty decent! It told me what it needed to and I could picture everything clearly in my head which is all you really need! At times I did find it a little bit wordy (which is also a problem I share!) but that is only a minor criticism.
Plot: I think that the author tried to do too much here. The first line of the synopsis sets up the basis of this book to be about religion but I don’t think enough was done to convince me of the authors message. The author includes a plot about animal abuse but I think the story could have been stronger without that and the space then used to develop the religious themes.
The first half and the second half of this book felt like two different books. The second half was notably better but I think if the pact had have been leaked earlier in the story then this book could have been so much better overall. Events in the plot almost happened in the wrong order which is disappointing.
The plot about sexual assault however was really, really well done. I was very impressed by it.
Characters: I love the sister relationship between the protagonist, Mare and her sister, Harper. I really enjoyed how it developed across the story.
Mare’s best friend, Jo, is very dislikable and I’m sure that wasn’t the intention. At the start she huffs with Mare because Mare doesn’t want to support a frankly stupid decision. It was completely childish and although Jo was a grand character after that, I couldn’t like her. These characters did not feel 18 and if they’d maybe been around 15 or 16 this story could have been more convincing.
Furthermore, when an important character is introduced in a book, readers usually pick up on that. When the love interest of this book was introduced I had no indication that he was even going to be in the book again never mind! Turns out, they were childhood friends but if Wismer had just said that when he was introduced then I would have known. One line could have solved this issue which is so frustrating.
I also would have liked to see the character of the bully developed greater. Her bullying seemed completely random which made me struggle to believe in it.
Pace: The pace was quite slow in the first half but really picked up in the second! I enjoyed the last half of the book quite a bit.
Some other things I enjoyed includes how Mare’s anxiousness and introverted nature is portrayed at the start of the novel. There is a scene in which Mare panics in class even though she had done the homework but she doesn’t want the teacher to ask her a question. I just found that very relatable.
I did enjoy this book, I’m just disappointed that it failed to fulfill its potential. This book could have been a five stars read with just a few more revisions and a strict focus on creating a tight plot. I will absolutely be looking forward to giving Wismer’s subsequent books a go though!
So much thanks to Netgalley for providing me with an ARC! The Anti-Virginity Pact is out June 16th 2020.
See you next time! Keep safe!