Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.

Monique and Dom look perfect from the outside, the preacher’s daughter and the golden boy who everyone loves. In reality, they’re trying to have sex, but Monique’s body isn’t cooperating. When Dom tires of waiting, it spurs Monique into action and she discovers she has a medical condition. She can be fixed! And that means she can win Dom back…

I wouldn’t normally pick up a book about a preacher’s daughter trying to fix her broken vagina and get her boyfriend back, bit since I liked Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry so much, I gave this a go. It was just as good as her debut.

Vaginismus is a protective reflex where the vagina goes nope to things going up there. As well as making sex difficult, it also gets in the way of using tampons and having smear tests (or whatever they’re officially called now). It’s not always a conscious fear triggering it either, in Confessions of an Alleged Good Girl, Monique has internalised the idea that sex is bad. She’s had a religious upbringing and her parents oppose sex before marriage. But she wants to have sex.

It’s an important thing for young women to learn about, and if that has to be done through YA fiction, so be it. Because knowing this is a condition and that something can be done about it will relieve a lot of distress.

While Monique starts out wanting to get Dom back, and as a reader I was all screw him. Well, not literally. But the story really focuses on friendships and not judging a book by its cover. She learns that the goody two shoes church girl she resents turns out to be the biggest help of all, and her parents judge Reggie based on one mistake. He’s the bad boy and Dom’s the good boy, but who’s the one pressuring their daughter into sex?

This? Running in and out of stores, disrupting the peace, bringing attention to ourselves, adrenaline coursing through our veins, this smile trespassing on my lips, I don’t know if I’d call this fun. Can fun be scary?

She also comes to realise her parents are fallible human beings. Maybe her dad isn’t perfect and her mother is hard on her for a reason. I thought her mum was terrible at the start, and maybe it’s a bit overdone, but I welled up when she stepped up to the challenge in front of her. Her dad wants her to get back together with Dom, meddling in their relationship. He never considers that sex is what’s getting in the way.

Joya Goffney writes with fun and compassion on difficult topics and I’ll definitely be keeping my eye out for her books in the future.

Confessions of an Alleged Good Girl is published by Hot Key Books and will be available in paperback, ebook and audiobook editions from 3rd May 2022. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review via NetGalley.

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