The V girl – Mya Robarts
Firstly, if you are under eighteen – you should probably back away from this book right now, it has a lot of VERY adult content, which the blurb below will explain better.
In post-apocalyptic North America, rape and sexual slavery are legal. Lila Velez, desperately wants to lose her virginity before the troops visit her town and can take it away by force. She makes plans to seduce her only friend, Rey, the most attractive man in her town. Lila does not love him but he is the only man who has shown her true affection, an affection she is willing to take as a substitute of love.
Lila’s coping mechanism to her mother’s rape and kidnapping is her secret. A secret that will bring her closer to Aleksey, a foreign, broody man. Lila does not trust him because his links to the troops and his rough, yet irresistible appearance. Aleksey offers Lila an alternative to her plans, a possibility that terrifies her…and tempts her in spite of herself.
All the while Lila will have to find a way to live in the constant company of death, slavery, starvation, sexual abuse and the danger of losing the people she loves the most.
Ok, so if you’ve been here before, you’ll know that when I review stuff, I like to give you guys trigger warnings because I don’t like the idea of recommending (or not) a book to someone who would find the whole thing a really traumatic experience. So, there is sexual content in this book, not all of it is consensual. There are many mentions of slavery and war crimes. It isn’t the easiest book to read.
Every review of this that I have seen has hailed this book as being brilliant and brave. It is one of those things, brilliant seems like too strong a word. Mostly this book annoyed the hell out of me because it had so much potential, it could have been incredible, but it just wasn’t. Like, there was so much to play with and so many elements that could have really captured the rawness that was buried beneath some of the more ridiculous moments. Let me explain, this is the story of Lila who lives in what was America but is now a war torn shadow of its former self destroyed by civil war between the Nationalists and the Patriots. You can imagine, living in a war torn, disadvantaged and some what feral society is bad enough, but in this version of a war zone, all the soldiers have been genetically modified and the process for this makes them horny, which means that rape and sexual slavery is not just an accepted part of life, but is completely legal. What’s interesting about this is it isn’t just limited to being a way to control women, EVERYONE is subjected to this kind of assault. The way this is mainly done is through a thing called recruitment, where you are recruited into the army and, the only way to escape this is if you happen to be married or engaged, well… Sometimes. But, if you’re single, you are fair game and if you happen to be a virgin (I hate that word, virginity isn’t real.) when you’re recruited, it is likely that you will raped because in this world, people have forgotten about contraception and its easier to not catch something from someone who hasn’t had sex before.
Never before has this gif been more (or less) appropriate.
Therefore, Lila wants to lose her virginity on her terms with someone she cares about, she doesn’t want it forcibly taken from her. Fair enough. This bit I liked, I liked that she was taking her sexuality into her own hands and expressing it, I also liked that even though she had yet to experience her sexual debut, she knows what she likes and she isn’t afraid to express that. It’s just a shame that apparently everyone she meets automatically knows she’s a virgin (even a doctor can’t tell if someone is a virgin fyi). There is also a RIDICULOUS moment when she (off her face on drugs) has an intense sexual dream and actually checks to see if her hymen is still in place. LIKE EURGH. Let’s have a little science lesson with Leah a moment, yes, many people with vaginas have hymens. It is not a covering of a vagina. It is a mucusy membrane that sits in there that can stretch etc. Sometimes it breaks when you’re horse riding, or exercising or whatever, sometimes it doesn’t. If it’s broken because you have sex and that hurts you, it’s because you weren’t using enough lubrication. Sex isn’t supposed to ‘rip’ through this membrane. Basically, mini sex-ed lesson aside, if you don’t have a hymen, that doesn’t mean you’ve had sex and if you do have one, it doesn’t mean you haven’t. The whole hymen thing is a myth. And it’s annoying that a book that is so brave about female sexuality and uses sex as a plot point seems to have completely washed over this entire fact. There is a moment in the book where Lila’s father, who is a doctor, states that Lila’s worth is not dependant on a bit of mucus inside her. Good, but like, don’t make out that that bit of mucus is integral in the whole sexual liberation thing.
God, that paragraph was long. Sorry.
There were moments when this book was incredible, really dark, sadistic moments when Lila talks you through how soldiers and police treat civillians, there are public executions and all sorts. But then there are moments when it becomes a bit of a silly erotica and the whole Alexsey/Lila thing gave me massive Fifty Shades vibes. An older, more experienced man who is intrigued by a young, inexperienced female and offers to teach them the way of sex in return for something. Yeah. No thanks.
There is a lot of quite graphic sex in this. Every time Lila mentioned going to the glade and every time she and Alexsey were together I was like
Because I knew something was going to go down. Or up as the case may be.
This is a New Adult novel, which apparently seems to be erotica for young people, so like, if you’re going into this for the dystopia (which is what caught my eye about the blurb), you might be a tad disappointed because Lila and just about every other character in this book cares more about getting laid than they do winning and surviving the war.
While I’m on the subject of characters, Lila’s sister needed a reality check. Like, i know she’s a kid and all, but her giving her big sister advice on how to lose her virginity was kind of a no no and the flippant way in which she dealt with everything really irritated me, in a few years, this kid will also be subject for recruitment. She was by no means safe from assault. She needs to start taking things a bit more seriously and stop mocking her sister for trying to be proactive about having something for herself. Also Lila was stupid af at times. like, having been already assaulted in broad daylight, she still chooses to wonder around town with these maniacs at night on her own. Like gurl, what?
This book could have been amazing. If there had been more focus on the dystopian nature of the story and a more intelligent conversation about sex and the way it is used in society I would have loved this book. There was so much wasted potential, it just makes me kind of sad. My only other bug bears was the narration could have been better, Lila did not sound like an eighteen year old girl and it was a bit clumsy and childish in places and there were a lot of errors that hopefully will have been picked up in editing before this gets released for general sale.
Whether you read this and love it like the majority of reviewers or whether you read this and see the potential for brilliance, it is a worthwhile take on this emerging genre and hey, it is nice to have books about girls taking charge of and expressing their sexuality. Just maybe get the kindle edition and angle it away from everyone else in the room if you plan to read this in public because hot damn, it gets a bit steamy.