Series Review: Spinster Club by Holly Bourne

Holly Bourne is a very inspirational young-adult author. I’ve read a few of her books already and I’m a huge fan of her humour and writing style. Her books are always so relatable and she’s able to talk about real issues without glorifying them.

I recently finished reading her Spinster Club series. There are three books in the series, each book focusing on one of the three best friends: Evie, Amber and Lottie. Spinster Club is a feminist discussion group, made by the three girls, where they can talk about sexist issues and equality. These books have really important messages, they’re empowering, and a must-read for teens and young adults.  

Evie - Am I Normal Yet? (#1)
Published - August 1st, 2015
Pages - 434
Rating - 4 stars

All Evie wants is to be normal. She’s almost off her meds and at a new college where no one knows her as the girl-who-went-crazy. She’s even going to parties and making friends. There’s only one thing left to tick off her list…

But relationships are messy – especially relationships with teenage guys. They can make any girl feel like they’re going mad. And if Evie can’t even tell her new friends Amber and Lottie the truth about herself, how will she cope when she falls in love?

Evie suffers from OCD. She is formerly known as the girl-who-went-crazy. But now she’s starting a new college, and all she wants is to be normal. She’s going to parties, making new friends and reducing her medication. All she needs to do now is to get a boyfriend, but relationships come with their own problems, which is not very helpful for someone in recovery. Hiding her OCD from her new best friends Amber and Lottie, as well as being completely overwhelmed and confused by boys, things start to get too much for Evie.

I really liked how the relationships weren’t the typical ‘boy and girl fall in love and everything is perfect’ type of relationship. Instead, they were messy, confusing, and real, because let’s be honest, relationships in your teens are confusing as hell!

Evie meets Amber and Lottie at a party and they quickly become good friends, but feminism is what really makes them bond. Together they start the Spinster Club, where they discuss feminist issues, sexism and equality (and eat cheesy snacks).

This book is brutally honest, and reading from Evie’s perspective really helps you understand the constant struggle of living with mental illness. She talks about how mental health issues, like OCD for example, are easily thrown around and used as a way to seem “quirky” and “different”.

“Mental illnesses have gone too far the other way. Because now mental health disorders have gone “mainstream”. And for all the good it’s brought people like me who have been given therapy and stuff, there’s a lot of bad it’s brought too. Because now people use the phrase OCD to describe minor personality quirks.”

The book also touches on feminism, however, there are some flaws with this (for example, Amber sometimes acts like you can’t be really a feminist if you talk about boys etc) but I think this ties in with an underlying message, which I interpreted as ‘no matter how hard we try, we are not perfect, and that it’s okay to be flawed’.

Amber - How Hard Can Love Be? (#2)
Publishing - February 1st, 2016
Pages - 480
Rating - 5 stars

Amber, Evie and Lottie: three girls facing down tough issues with the combined powers of friendship, feminism and cheesy snacks. Both hilarious and heart-rending, this is Amber’s story of how painful – and exhilarating – love can be, following on from Evie’s story in Am I Normal Yet?

All Amber wants is a little bit of love. Her mum has never been the caring type, even before she moved to California, got remarried and had a personality transplant. But Amber’s hoping that spending the summer with her can change all that.

And then there’s prom king Kyle, the guy all the girls want. Can he really be interested in anti-cheerleader Amber? Even with best friends Evie and Lottie’s advice, there’s no escaping the fact: love is hard.

Ambers mother became an alcoholic and her family fell apart. After seeking treatment and getting sober, her mother meets someone else and moves to California, leaving Amber behind. After two years of not seeing or speaking to her mother, Amber decides to visit her for the summer hoping it will help them reconnect (and hopefully convince her to move back home). However, Ambers mother is now distant, cool and super American and completely different to how Amber remembers her.

Once in California, Amber works at her mother and step-father’s summer camp, where she makes new friends, including the super-hunky, typical American Prom-King Kyle who Amber can’t help but fall for,  despite her head (and mother) telling her not to.

I really felt for Amber in this book. All she wanted was to feel loved and to try and understand why her mum left her. She had so many questions and things to say, but couldn’t without being shut out. Their relationship is strained and difficult throughout the book, and we really get to see how her mother’s actions have impacted her and influenced the way she thinks and acts.

After reading How Hard Can Love Be? Amber became my favourite of the three girls. She’s feisty, and even though she can be sarcastic and pessimistic, she still has a big heart and she’s so lovable. Not to mention… she also likes Harry Potter!

This book has everything you could wish for in a YA book: summer romance, family drama, character development, feminism and Harry Potter references.

Lottie – What’s A Girl Gotta Do? (#3)
Publishing – August 1st, 2016
Pages – 432
Rating – 5 stars

HOW TO START A FEMINIST REVOLUTION:  call out anything that is unfair on one gender,  don’t call out the same thing twice (so you can sleep and breathe), always try to keep it funny, and don’t let anything slide. Even when you start to break…

Lottie’s determined to change the world with her #Vagilante vlog. Shame the trolls have other ideas…

Lottie is smart, like, Cambridge smart. She wants to be Priminister someday and to change the world for better. She’s brave and not afraid to speak her mind, especially when it comes to what she believes in.

Let me just say… this book starts off STRONG. On her way to college, she runs into two men driving a van who sexually harass her in the street. Naturally, Lottie is shaken up by what happened, but what troubles her the most is how she didn’t fight back. This inspires her to start a month-long project, calling out every single bit of sexism she sees.

She recruits Will, a handsome and hipster film student who becomes her cameraman. Along with her two best friends and the support of their feminist group, her projects start to take off and soon her youtube channel goes viral. Lottie starts to get noticed by various journalists and news stations, but this also brings unwanted attention. The trolls are out in full force, not to mention the added pressure of having to prepare for her Cambridge interview and keep up her grades, it all begins to get too much. She starts to question herself and the project. She even considers giving up. However, she doesn’t realise just how many people she is helping with her #Vagilante project.

“I want to change things on my own terms, to show that there’s no right or wrong way to change the world. There’s no entry test. You don’t need to suck anything up. Pay any dues. Just you and your anger and your voice is enough. If you only have the courage to use it.”

What’s A Girl Gotta Do? Is such an inspirational book, it actually made me want to be more vocal and active when it comes to feminism. Even though Amber is my favourite of the three girls, What’s A Girl Gotta Do? is my favourite out of the three books. Lottie is an incredible and strong character, and although she can sometimes act like her way is the only way, she is a perfect example that one person really can help to make a change.

Have you read these books yet? Which spinster girl is your favourite? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading! x

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