About the Book

Title: Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity
Published: 2008
Swoonworthy Scale: 3

Cover Story: Haven’t I Seen You Somewhere Before?
BFF Charm: No, But…
Talky Talk: Straight Up Girl With Low Self-Esteem
Bonus Factor: True Story, Dan Scott Award for Awful Parenting
Relationship Status: My More Experienced Friend

Cover Story: Haven’t I Seen You Somewhere Before?

Yes. Yes I have.

Seeing the two covers together really emphasizes what a raw (heh) deal Raw Blue got, with the poorly Photoshopped shirt. And it also got me wondering about reused cover art, which feature wayyyy too many big faces and fancy dresses. Talk about insult to injury; at least cheat off the smartest kids in the class

So not only are we inundated with terribly embarrassing covers, but now they might pop up for an encore?! SERIOUSLY, people in charge of cover designers: just wave a stack of Hamiltons near an art school/fingerpainting class/toy store stocked with an Etch A Sketch, and you’ll get better (and more original) results. IS THAT SO HARD!?

The Deal:

Kerry just wants to be loved. But she sees herself as utterly unloveable. And it’s this pervasive belief that infiltrates and overwhelms every aspect of her life. Her addiction to male attention follows Kerry from high school into early adulthood, manifesting as a myriad of sexual encounters and relationships before she finds real intimacy.

BFF Charm: No, But…

BFF Charm that says "denied"

Anddd this is the portion where I reveal myself to be a jerkface. Kerry desperately yearns for love, so naturally I deny her a BFF charm. I mean, I enjoyed getting to know her and I can tell there’s hangout potential from her thoughts. But even Kerry admits to not having an identity outside of boys. Despite spending a whole book with her, I only got a glimpse of what Friend Kerry would be like (and some of it is less than favourable), which isn’t enough for bestie territory.

Howevs, I do care about Kerry a lot. I want to Tina-Fey-as-the-world’s-most-involved-math-teacher her into finding self-worth and loving herself.

Swoonworthy Scale: 3

You may be stunned to discover that a book about promiscuity has a lot of sex in it (I know!). Teen Kerry’s experiences are more sad than sexy, but Older Kerry enjoys sex as more than a ploy to keep boys around. Although overall deductions for the underlying desperation to feel loved.

Talky Talk: Straight Up Girl With Low Self-Esteem

Cohen’s writing rings true — unsurprisingly, since this is a memoir. Her narration is compelling and well paced, but YA Kerry’s insecurities are omnipresent. Not to the point where it annoyed this apparently insensitive asshole reviewer, but it re-emphasizes how difficult it was for Kerry to shake her old habits.

Bonus Factor: True Story

Everything really happened, y’all! Or at least everything from Kerry’s perspective. Even though I trust her story to be true, I recognize the inherent biases anyone has when recalling events from their own lives. But this bias also makes Kerry her own worst critic; she’s brutally honest and never tries to sugar-coat her past.

Bonus Factor: Dan Scott Award for Awful Parenting

Evil Dan Scott from One Tree Hill

I feel way-harsh-Tai for bestowing this award, since this is a real person and I’ve only gotten one side of the story. But one of the first lines uttered by Kerry’s father LITERALLY made my jaw drop with its horribleness. I’m no psychotherapist (unlike Grownup Kerry!) but YA Kerry’s obsessive craving for male attention? Yeah, there be daddy issues.

Kerry’s mom isn’t the picture of perfection, either. It’s not that I (fully) fault her for putting herself first by pursuing a second career. But she totally comes off as someone who just bides time when someone else is talking so that she can turn the convo back onto herself.

BUT this is listed as a bonus factor because Older Kerry becomes more understanding of her parents, as well as the choices and mistakes they made. I mean, her parents are both kind of messes (though that doesn’t excuse how they let that affect their kids), but haven’t we all had that moment when Adult Self sympathizes with how our parents dealt with Younger Self?

Relationship Status: My More Experienced Friend

Book, I’m not naïve to the point where I think stories like yours don’t exist. But I just never encountered one as thoughtfully written as you were. So I hope you don’t think I’m friends with you just to hear your wealth of stories, because I also like hanging with you for YOU.

FTC Full Disclosure: I bought my review copy from a library sale. I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity is available now.

Mandy (she/her) lives in Edmonton, AB. When she’s not raiding the library for YA books, she enjoys eating ice cream (esp. in cold weather), learning fancy pole dance tricks, and stanning BTS. Mandy has been writing for FYA since 2012, and she oversaw all things FYA Book Club from 2013 to 2023.