- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Hot Key Books (25 Aug. 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1471405761
- ISBN-13: 978-1471405761
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.2 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 675,805 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Cherry Paperback – 25 Aug 2016
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Cherry was extremely sex positive (...) I did really enjoy the book (...) it was very funny, but also very frank, and had such wonderful things to say about friendship and there a number of individual romance stories to get invested in * Once Upon a Bookcase * I actually lost a Tuesday to this book but it was totally worth it! I would recommend it to anyone!! It is honest, it is real, it is funny and sad and all in all it is an enjoyable and easy read * YA Nightstand * I absolutely loved this, 5 out of 5 stars! So honest, so open and covers a lot of taboos that isn't always covered in YA * SparklesReads YouTube Channel *
Cherry was extremely sex positive (...) I did really enjoy the book (...) it was very funny, but also very frank, and had such wonderful things to say about friendship and there a number of individual romance stories to get invested in (Once Upon a Bookcase)
I actually lost a Tuesday to this book but it was totally worth it! I would recommend it to anyone!! It is honest, it is real, it is funny and sad and all in all it is an enjoyable and easy read (YA Nightstand)
I absolutely loved this, 5 out of 5 stars! So honest, so open and covers a lot of taboos that isn't always covered in YA (SparklesReads YouTube Channel)
Top customer reviews
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I'm passionate about YA novels that deal with sex and how they portray it. So when I heard about Cherry by Lindsay Rosin, I was so excited to read it! And although I had a great time reading it, I'm left with slightly mixed feelings.
Layla, Alex, Zoe and Emma are best friends in their senior year of school. Once they graduate, they'll all be going their separate ways. All but Alex are virgins, so when Layla decides she's finally ready to have sex with her boyfriend, and both Zoe and Emma want to have sex, she comes up with the sex pact. They will all attempt to lose their virginity AND - as Alex is no longer a virgin - have good, enjoyable sex by graduation. This isn't so bad for Layla, who already has a boyfriend, but the other three are single. Zoe is pretty shy and blushes at the mere mention of sex, Emma is stressing out so much about the prospect of graduating, and Alex is hiding something. But they're all determined to go through with the sex pact, as it's the last thing they'll be able to do as a group. But not everything always goes to plan.
As I said, I'm really a big fan of books that have sex at the heart, especially if they're going to be realistic and not make out that sex is something completely beautiful and magical every single time. Cherry was that kind of book, and, on the whole, was extremely sex positive. These girls really talk to each other about sex; they ask questions, they talk about their experiences, they talk about penises, they discuss dick picks and porn, they have proper real life conversations without any judgement. No-one is bashing anyone for not knowing something. They talk about the subject with curiosity and interest. They even have frank conversations, more than once, about themselves masturbating. There are even several scenes of the a couple of the girls masturbating (separately and not at the same time, of course, this is not that kind of book). It also takes a look at double standards; Alex enjoys kissing guys, and she's kissed a lot of them, and because everyone knows she's had sex, too, she has a reputation and gets crap for it, and yet her neighbour, Oliver, is exactly the same as her, and yet he's a "stud". It really is quite sex positive, saying girls are allowed to kiss whoever they want, girls can be sexual beings who want and and enjoy good sex. There is emphasis on having good sex, not just losing their virginity; the girls should have an orgasm - or "firework" - at some point, the idea being that girls can and should enjoy sex.
And when it comes to the sex itself, it's wonderful! There is mess. There is sex that is ok but not brilliant, sex without "fireworks" most of the time, first time sex that is uncomfortable, sex that is over sooner than they'd think. It's just real. But it's not overly graphic or gratuitous either; we don't get a blow-by-blow (hehe, pun intended) description of all that happens, but we're given enough to know what's happening. This isn't a book that's aiming to be a turn on; the girls may be 18 and soon to head off to college, but this isn't a new adult novel. But it is still a little sexy, but I think that mostly comes from how the girls are feeling about the sex their having, rather than because of how the sex is described. Really, it's just brilliant how Cherry handles it all.
Except... well, the pact itself. I found that a little problematic. All girls must have sex by the day they graduate. Ok, they don't have to. No-one forced them to be part of the pact, and there's no issue, mostly, with you deciding to back out. But there are some issues. Emma is stressed enough about almost everything in her life, and Layla asking for progress reports each week isn't helpful. And because of this, I do have slightly mixed feelings about Emma's first time. If there was no pact, would it have happened? I can't say either way for sure. It's a possibility. But if it would have happened, it wouldn't have happened then. The whole idea of the pact and whether having sex before a certain date is a good idea is addressed, but I would have liked a little more on that, because to me, it just feels... a little like peer pressure. They all want to have sex - great. So why can't they just have sex when it happens, rather than have a day they must have lost their virginity by? It just felt a little contrived. I think without the pact, some of them would have had sex how they did anyway, but for others? Maybe not. I just wasn't comfortable with the idea, and how their "progress" was important.
And also, a number of times is ableist language used through the novel. I counted, and "lame" appears ten times, and "lameness" once. Now I know how harmful such language can be, I can't help but notice it, and it makes me uncomfortable. There are so many other words you could use instead. It just doesn't sit right with me.
Saying that, Cherry is pretty diverse in some respects. Alex is a woman of colour. Emma has a Japanese-American mum and an Irish-American father, and her being a quarter Japanese shows in the shape of her eyes, and she mentions how it leads to questions about where she's from. Emma also discovers throughout the course of Cherry that she isn't straight. Or, at least, that she's attracted to a girl involved in Year Book with her, Savannah. She has been attracted to guys in the past, but there's no indication as to whether she's a lesbian or bisexual, as there's only ever really one conversation about her sexuality, and it's about how she doesn't like labels. Her story isn't so much about her sexuality, in regards to how she sees herself, as it is about dealing with being attracted to a girl and their relationship. There are some scenes of Emma having sex with Savannah, and there is a conversation about what actually counts as sex between two girls, and I think it's all done really beautifully.
I did really enjoy Cherry over all! It was very funny, but also very frank, and had such wonderful things to say about friendship, and there are a number of individual romance stories to get invested in. There are a couple of awful love interests, but also some really lovely ones. You go through a whole range of emotions while reading this book, and it's such a good fun read... apart from my issues with the pact itself, and the ableist language. I really am of two minds.
I’ve seen reviewers describe Cherry as American Pie for girls. I’ve never seen it, but I can totally see where the comparison comes from.
Anyway, I LOVED this. Cherry is honest, blunt and fun. Fair warning, Cherry does feature a lot of sex, foreplay, and talk of masturbation and orgasms, which they call ‘fireworks’, so if that isn’t your thing, I’d avoid this… BUT, it is very sex-positive & I would say suitable to older teens & the first time I’ve seen such sex-positivity in YA and I think it’s done really well. The girls never get shamed, and they support and lift each other up.
You would think because Cherry is a book about 4 friends trying to lose their virginity that there would be a lot of romance involved. But Cherry is a book that is heavily focused on friendship. Their friendship is really great – I love their conversations and they are HILARIOUS. Their dynamic is great, and each character feels well rounded and distinct individually but they also work so well together as well. Rosin showed the differences in the girl’s actions and approaches towards sex, and their different experiences, which was a really great insight. There is also a great f/f relationship, so that is also a positive.
Cherry openly discusses a lot of important sex-related questions and fears a lot of girls face, but sex is always treated as something fun and positive which I think is largely missing in YA.
Overall, Cherry is very sex-positive, very female driven and there is a lot of female empowerment, and a lot of girls supporting girls. Highly recommend.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I wanted to like this more than I did.
In ways, it was utterly realistic.
In others, it was utterly unrealistic.
For example, I simply don't believe, in this day and age, that none of these girls, as seniors in high school, would know how to masturbate. Nope. You can't convince me otherwise.
Beyond that,Layla's character was a little too uptight for my taste and most of the guys were complete douche bags.
Overall, it was a fun idea...sort of 'American Pie' for girls...but I don't feel it was executed all that well.
Reviewers have said Ages 14 and up, and I adore it and I'm no stick in the mud, but as a teacher, I'd say 16 and up, minimum. There's some pretty explicit, but appropriate to the plot, sexual content.
I love the voices of all the characters and I love the messages sent by this book for young women: take charge of yourself, control your destiny, understand your body, listen to your gut, love is love.
I think it's really well done and it isn't a high brow, YA masterpiece, but it's super enjoyable. A great read.