Book review: 'V is for Virgin' is a teen novel with standards

By Melissa DeMoux

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, March 16 2013 5:00 a.m. MDT

"V IS FOR VIRGIN," by Kelly Oram, Bluefields, ebook $3.99, 216 pages (f) (ages 13 and up)

Virginity does not often take a starring role in young adult novels; that’s what makes this story unique. “V is for Virgin” is the spunky work of author Kelly Oram, who is also a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The e-book is also a 2012 Whitney Award finalist in the "Young Adult-General" category. The award recognize Mormon novelists.

When high school senior Valerie Jensen’s boyfriend plans a romantic evening in an attempt to get her to have sex with him, Valerie is forced to break up with him or compromise her morals. In a confrontation the next day at school, Valerie professes her virginity in front of a cafeteria full of students and the video becomes an instant YouTube hit.

As “Virgin Val” gains fame across the nation, she also comes to the attention of Kyle Hamilton, the rowdy lead singer of a popular rock band. Kyle makes it his personal mission to woo the unwinnable “Virgin Val.” When heat begins to build between the two, Valerie is confronted with a difficult choice between giving in to her desires and following the truth in her heart.

Despite the heady topic, this book is playful and fun. The characters, particularly Val and Kyle, are witty and tart, and their scamper through struggles is engaging and spirited.

While the main character in the book does tout abstinence before marriage, this is not a religious or morally driven book. Val does not come across as preachy or judgmental. Her reasons for her virginity are not what you would expect. She has simply made a choice and she sticks with it, much to the chagrin of her handsome co-star.

Parents should be aware that although Val fights fiercely to defend her personal stance, she does not vilify those who make a different choice. Val’s cluster of close friends empower her to live her beliefs and are examples of the kind of support any good friend should give.

Val's accidental rise to the role of hero is cheer-worthy. The sharp banter that blossoms between Val and Kyle is addictive. Readers will be drawn to the strength of the characters and the solid bite of the story.

“V is for Virgin” is currently only available as an e-book.

Melissa DeMoux is a stay-at-home mother of six young children who lives in West Valley City. Her email is mddemoux@gmail.com and she blogs about her adventures in motherhood at demouxfamily.blogspot.com.

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