Review: Adult Virgins Anonymous by Amber Crewe

Title: Adult Virgins Anonymous

Author: Amber Crewe

Published: 21st January 2021, Coronet

Status: Read January 2021 courtesy Hodder & StaughtonUK/Netgalley


My Thoughts:

In looking for a light read for the month of January, Adult Virgins Anonymous by Amber Crewe garnered my attention because of its eye catching title and unusual premise. Billed as a romantic comedy, Kate and Freddie, both in their late twenties, meet at a support group for adult virgins.

This wasn’t quite the light hearted romp I was expecting though. When the book opens, Kate is on the verge of a depressive episode. Her career has stalled, her friends seem to have moved on and left her behind, and she has no choice other than to move back in with her parents. Meanwhile Freddie, who has a clinical history of anxiety and OCD, is tired of feeling misunderstood and alone. Both are virgins not through choice per se, but because of a lack of opportunity, and both feel it is a burden that contributes to their single status.

Cue the fortuitous discovery of a support group, where they learn they aren’t the only adult virgins in London. Hosted by a person who identifies as nonbinary, the group includes a diverse range of members who for varying reasons are also virgins. They are an appealing bunch, and Crewe takes care to flesh these characters out, even though they play a reasonably minor role in the story as individuals. The group though is the stage that allows for thoughtful discussion about the nature of desire, sex, sexuality, love, insecurity, loneliness and personal happiness.

Inevitably Kate and Freddie decide that having sex with each other is a good idea, an opportunity to get ‘it’ over with, with no strings, but predictably the pair catch feelings for each other they are too afraid to admit to. It’s a cute take on the friends to lovers trope though the repetitive cycle of angst before they confess does get a little tiring.

Crewe’s characterisation is impressive, and I thought she wrote sensitively in regards to the various issues explored in the novel, including on the subjects of adult virginity, OCD and self esteem. What I thought was uneven with regards to the story was the balance between the comic and serious elements, and the pacing.

While Adult Virgins Anonymous wasn’t quite the romantic comedy I was anticipating I thought it offered some unique detail, and enjoyed reading it.


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