Review: Pop! by Aury Wallington

POP! follows one of the trends I’ve noticed in my reading this year(see my Reading In 2006 post): it deals with the consequences of sex for teenage girls. It also, however, deals with making the decision to have sex or not, which is something that is also important. This is an important topic, and when I say that it’s something I’ve noticed, I don’t mean the preachy books about teen pregnancy. I mean realistic books about other consequences, books that aren’t preachy and don’t condemn sex, just show that some thought should go into making that decision.

In POP!, Marit thinks she is the only seventeen-year-old virgin in Connecticut. This is obviously an exaggeration, and her best friend Caroline points out the flaw in this idea: their other best friend, Jamie, is also a virgin. He doesn’t act like it’s as big of a deal as Marit does, though.

What, exactly is Marit’s problem? She’s had boyfriends before. Caroline and Jamie think they have it figured out: as soon as Marit’s in a relationship, as soon as it gets physical, she gets scared and runs. As much as she tries to protest this theory, Marit’s past experiences prove that it may have some merit.

Marit’s older sister has a solution. At first, it seems totally outrageous, but the more she thinks about it, the more it makes sense to Mart. The idea is that Marit and Jamie can lose their virginity to each other. They’ll know not to expect anything from each other, it’ll be totally comfortable because they’re already so close, and they won’t be the only seventeen-year-old virgins in Connecticut anymore! It is, Marit thinks, the perfect plan. After having sex with Jamie, Marit won’t be afraid anymore, and she’ll be able to actually have a serious relationship with someone. Like maybe Noah, the new guy at school. He’s completely different from Marit and her friends, but she really likes him, and losing her virginity to Jamie seems, to her, like a good way to finally get–and keep–a great boyfriend.

Of course, this plan is not as simple as Marit thinks. After she gets Jamie to agree to it, she finds out the hard way that sex, no matter how much she doesn’t want it to be, is a big deal. She can’t just lose her virginity to Jamie and expect the whole thing to be over and done with, and have everything go back to how it was before between the two of them, and actually have a relationship with Noah. Nothing is ever that easy.

This book is pretty fantastic. It’s Aury Wallington’s debut novel, and I’m looking forward to reading more from her! Besides the fact that I do like the topic of the story, the writing is great. It does a fantastic job of pulling in the reader, and it flows marvelously. Almost all of the characters were three-dimensional, though I occasionally had some issues with the Caroline character in particular. The narration, in Marit’s voice, is very realistic in depicting what goes on inside the mind of a teenage girl.

I didn’t feel that the ending rang completely true to all of the characters or the situation. That could just be me, personally, though, as the idea for the ending was nice; it was a happy ending, but not the predictable one. That’s great in theory, but making it unpredictable and truer to the story and characters could certainly have been done, I think.
Overall, however, this book was fantastic, with only a few problems. It definitely kept me reading all the way through; whenever I had to put it down and get back to real life, I missed the characters and couldn’t wait to get back to reading POP!. The term page-turner certainly applies to this book, and, as you can see, this made my Best of 2006 list, despite its minor flaws.

Rating: 9/10