1. It is FUCKING HILARIOUS. It's also just got a very different sense of humor found in American YA novels. The straight-forward, British humor made me LOL a lot. Also British humor in general is pretty great. Lots of LOLs to be had.
2. It is Sex-positive. It isn't just sex-positive in that it has one sex scene. This book is full of teenagers who think a LOT about sex (because TEENAGERS DO THAT) and also have sex often. The book explores teen-sexuality in a very true-to-life manner that isn't full of rainbows and roses but rather lots of awkwardness and self-doubt.
3. Awkwardness. Just based on personal experience, being a teen is pretty hard. There are so many messages teens get from media and from one another and all they do is make us very aware of ourselves and the ways in which we are different from this 'idealized' image of a teen. While the book doesn't directly address the messages, it weaves them in with the insecurities the main characters have about themselves.
4. Kids who don't always get into their top college/university. I know this seems really minor but I am so fucking tired of all the teens in YA lit who dream big and somehow always get into their top college/university. That doesn't happen that often in real life. What does happen is that you sometimes see the good in situations that aren't always that great and this book does a lot of that.
5. Teens who drink. Whaat? Teens drink? What are you going on about? Given that it's the summer after high school, let me tell you, there is a lot of drinking involved and I appreciated the realistic ways in which the authors tackled teen drinking.
This book will definitely not be for everyone because there is a lot of angst and drama, occasional toxic friendships and perhaps the kinds of situations these teens get into will make some readers uncomfortable. Hell, I was pretty uncomfortable sometimes. BUT, Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison do justice to teen experiences in the novel. Not every teenager will have had the same experiences as the main characters but I am sure everyone will be able to relate to some aspect of these teens' lives and will find something that makes them want to cheer the main characters on.
Note that I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review