Published by Allen & Unwin on 25th August 2016
Genres: Coming of Age, Contemporary, Friendship, Love & Romance, New Adult, Young Adult
There's a first time for everything . . .
Layla, Alexis, Zoe and Emma are four best friends with not a lot in common. Well, except one thing . . . But they're determined to lose 'that thing' by the time they graduate high school. Yes, the time has come to Do It. To make love. To have all the sex. It's momentous, it's huge, it's important and it's life-changing. Or . . . is it?
Although each of the girls sets out with a pretty certain idea of what the Big Moment will be like, as they'll discover, life doesn't always work out the way you expect. And in their search for something huge, important and life-changing, they'll discover that they already have it - in each other.
Cherry is essentially American Pie for teenage girls. From the fruitful title to the virginity pact – these two have a lot in common. But where American Pie focused more on the humour and sex side of things, Cherry is more about the friendship and feelings behind the act.
Cherry is a fairly lighthearted and fun account of four best friends who decide to undertake one last project before high school graduation. At first it was just a way for Layla to plan out losing her virginity to her long term boyfriend Logan, but soon it became a way for the four to become close as they became intimately physical with their own partners.
I loved the friendship aspect throughout Cherry. Layla, Alex, Zoe and Emma are best friends who do have each others backs. They got though some hardships and their relationships with each other aren’t always perfect but there is a sense that they would always be there for one another. I enjoyed reading as their bond changed as the girls prepared for graduation and college.
But most of the sex parts of the novel annoyed me. Some parts were great. Rosin has her characters discuss sex in an open way without feeling ashamed. There is talk about female masturbation and romantic relationships other than just heterosexual ones. But it felt rather shallow. For all the talk there never seemed to be much depth in their conversations rather just reiterating the same thoughts and feelings over and over again.
I have a problem in general with books which suggest (even subliminally) all teenagers must be in a sexual relationship. There are characters in this book who are highly immature and can not even say the word sex or others associated with the act without giggling like the school girls they are. Cherry essentially pushes characters who weren’t all that interested in intimate relationships into pursuing boys as not to break the pact and let the girls down.
There is little time in the novel devoted to consequences or preparation. With each of the girls only having positive experiences (I think the only boys they had problems with were ones they didn’t sleep with), I wonder if Cherry gives teens an unrealistic expectation. There’s also a lack of parental interaction in this book which is one of those things which bugs me in young adult fiction. I feel the absence of parental figures was to show how strong the friendship was between the girls and they were their own kind of family. But had we not been explicitly told Zoe’s dad was strict- I never would have believed it.
Overall, Cherry was an entertaining read. It’s lighthearted and fun but I felt it offered an unrealistic approach to teen relationships and only focused on the positives of sexual encounters whilst glossing over the bad.