The Virginity Club by Kate Brian | Rating: ★★★★☆
Revised review, originally reviewed in 2008. Originally I gave the novel five stars but I’ve kicked down one star during my reread. Kate Brian is known mostly for her best selling series Private, as well as the spin-offs and prequels to the series, and when I was in middle and high school I owned almost every book she’d ever written. Aside from the Private series, my most read book by her was The Virginity Club.
I can’t tell you what I loved so much about it, perhaps it was the close friendship that was held between the four main characters who start a purity club in order to win a scholarship which requires them to have “purity of the mind and soul” (ugh, I know, right? But they do acknowledge the weirdness of this requirement frequently in the novel) but for one reason or another this novel was one of my most read books in my early-mid teens.
The thing about the main characters in The Virginity Club is that they are all different and lovely in their own right. I liked the diversity in characteristics and race. I liked that each girl fit perfectly with each other and had different struggles, interests and backgrounds and that they had every reason to run in different circles but they didn’t.
And I like how they weren’t fond of the requirements for the scholarship, but still went along with it (only until they graduate) so they could score the money for a good education. Because let’s be real: that is one fucking weird requirement, am I right? (I’m not rolling my eyes at those who choose to wait, mind you. I’m just rolling my eyes at this being a requirement to win a scholarship.)
Each character is driven and though they do have moments where they will bug you, they are very real. Real and interesting.
Don’t let the title fool you — there is plenty of romantic action featured in the pages. And to let you in on a secret: although they’re in the purity club, one girl isn’t a virgin and one girl won’t be for long.
By the end of the story, although there are moments of drama that occur before the end of their high school careers, each of the girls still remain close. And our final chapter will reveal where they end up, if any of the relationships last and who ends up engaged.
Debbie was probably my favorite character to see grow. Although many people in their high school see her as a ‘slut’, what many don’t realize is that she is actually a virgin. She’s pretty shameless about who she kisses and I’m rather fond of that — the best part? She’s totally badass when someone tries to bring her down and will hand you a verbal bitch slap if you insult her or one of her friends. This isn’t to say that she is without flaws.
All of the others are pretty great as well. We have Eva, who is the shy one of the group and undoubtedly wants the scholarship most. Her scenes are cute and her narrative is pretty funny, especially in the opening of the novel as she’s talking to her guidance consular about the scholarship. I especially liked the way she connects with Debbie, although they do face some problems, and I was totally rooting for her to not only get the scholarship but to score a romance with the boy she’s crushing on.
(His name is Riley and he plays a big part in the story. And he’s totally cute and sweet. Swoon!)
Kai and Mandy have so many similarities and I had an obvious feeling that they’d have the strongest bond by the end of the novel. Although all four girls are equally close. I liked Kai’s unapologetic nature, which is similar to Debbie’s in some ways. We get a big glimpse in all the characters lives outside of school and their friendships, but I think the most interesting plot was the struggles that Mandy’s family goes through. Mandy is initially revealed to be the “perfect, All-American, rich” girl with the perfect relationship but grows into something much bigger than that.
The Virginity Club's title doesn't do it much justice and while it may not be the best novel on the market, it still is a good read. It's juicy and funny and holds plenty of romance as well as something much deeper. My favorite part is the friendships within it that will probably last a long time. May I recommend picking up a copy of this novel and reading it with some yummy coffee and macarons? It's like a dream.