This was the third book in Holly Bournes trilogy, The Spinster Club. For those who haven’t read it, the spinster club is not a club for old woman, it’s a term that’s been turned on it’s head. It’s what 3 college girls call their feminist group that meets at each other’s houses, cheesy snacks at the ready. This whole trilogy has its roots in feminism, although this is the first book in the series where it took centre stage.
I started this series 2 or 3 years ago with the first book, Am I Normal Yet. It was about 1 of the 3 friends, Evie, although they hadn’t become friends at that time. It mostly focused on mental illness and it was only towards the end the theme of friendship and relationships took hold. I really enjoyed that first book, but not so much the second, which was from Amber’s perspective, another girl from the group. This was from Lottie’s perspective, the one who started the spinster club to begin with. She’s the smartest of the 3 apparently and is pipped to go to Cambridge University. This book and the first are set just outside London, in an unnamed town, whereas the second book is set in the US when Amber goes to see her mother. In this one it’s the last year of college for the girls, after which time they’ll be forced to separate.
So, the plot. After being subject to verbal harassment on the way to college one day, Lottie decides on an extra-curricula project. She plans to call out every instance of sexism she witnesses for a whole month, along with the girls from her feminist society at college. She’s doing this alongside her hefty college work and preparation for an interview with Cambridge University. At the start, Lottie doesn’t know what a big project she’s getting into and soon begins to feel the strain. She also gets involved with a guy, which complicates things more.
Even though feminism is an issue that transcends age, I don’t think I was the intended audience. I think it might benefit younger people more who are just getting into feminism. They can learn some of the fundamentals and are poised to be inspired. During Lottie’s project it became obvious just how much sexism women have to put up with on a daily basis, so it really helped shed more light on the issue for me.
If you’re thinking the novel sounds overly preachy, you’d be right and wrong. There was a good deal of finger-pointing in the name of feminism, but at no point did I roll my eyes and think it was too much. It was all pretty much justified. There were also plenty of side plots to divert from this issue, such as a romance between Lottie and the film student who was filming her during her project for a YouTube channel dedicated to it. There was also a strong focus concerning friendship, which has always been a big theme in each of these books.
The writing was nothing fancy. It was very much to the point, with few descriptive elements to speak of. Apart from the odd reference to appearance and a little about the surroundings, there wasn’t much. That didn’t particularly matter to me, as it’s what I’ve come to expect from the YA genre at large. Holly Bourne has just written her first adult novel, though, so I would be interested to see if that changes. I doubt it, though. What this was instead was a really fun read, with just enough seriousness to prevent it from falling into being too light. It was exactly what I needed, a fun read.