After reviewing books for a while, I think I’ve found something I’m especially good at: summarising books in one word. For The Night When No One Had Sex by Kalena Miller, it would without a doubt be the word “ridiculous”. In a good way, that is, because I’ve never read a book that talks so openly and honestly about the struggles of being a teenager, and of course: sex and sexuality.
This was a funny and light read with lots of important lessons included! It was also just an absolute delight to read, so today it’s time to convince you to pick up a copy of this debut novel! Let’s take a walk, shall we?
Thank you to the publisher for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review! This did not affect my opinions in any way. This review is completely spoiler-free.
The Night when no one had sex by Kalena Miller
Publisher: Aw teen
Release date: September 7th, 2021
Genre: YA contemporary
Representation: sapphic couple, chronically ill main character (lupus specifically), plus-sized main character, Korean main character
Trigger/Content warnings: couldn’t find any.
It’s the night of senior prom, and eighteen-year-old Julia has made a pact with her friends. (Yes, that kind of pact.)
They have secured a secluded cabin in the woods, one night without parental supervision, and plenty of condoms. But as soon as they leave the dance, the pact begins to unravel. Alex’s grandmother is undergoing emergency surgery, and he and his date rush to the hospital. Zoe’s trying to figure out how she feels about getting off the waitlist at Yale–and how to tell her girlfriend. Madison’s chronic illness flares, holding her back once again from being a normal teenager. And Julia’s fantasy-themed role play gets her locked in a closet.
Alternating between each character’s perspective and their ridiculous group chat, The Night When No One Had Sex finds a group of friends navigating the tenuous transition into adulthood and embracing the uncertainty of life after high school.
That was…definitely something, huh? The Night When No One Had Sex had me choking on my own laughter one second and nodding yes while reading appreciating the important discussions this book takes on. Now, there’s a lot going on in this one as we basically follow, well, eight characters (four couples). Surprisingly though, it was really easy to not mix the characters and their stories up!
But because this story could be easily divided into the four different couples, I’m gonna be reviewing their stories separately! Let’s go!
Zoe & Morgan:
Let’s start of with the storyline of our cute sapphics: Zoe and Morgan are already sexually active (and actual goals, may I add). They just plan on having a good night together, but when Zoe starts struggling with some university things, Morgan finds herself worrying about her twin sister Madison again, and some miscommunications happen, their night is far from what they imagined it to be. I loved (and related a lot to) them, what else do you want me to say?
Julia & Kevin:
Julia was the one who came up with the whole sex-pact and I loved her and Kevin together. They’re just really sweet and I don’t know, they complement each other I guess! They’ve been a couple for a long time and tonight they wanna have sex, but let’s just say there are…some obstacles. At some point Julia gets stuck in a closet (I know, I know, but hear me out!!) but most importantly: the sex hurts for her. I thought this carried such important information and lessons and it was really refreshing!
Madison & Jake:
Though Madison’s “overprotective” twin Morgan doesn’t approve of Jake, she just wants to feel normal for one night. She will do anything to have her lupus not ruin the plan to have sex with her boyfriend, but…well, you’ll have to find out! This was, again, such a refreshing storyline and I loved the whole “I just want to be a normal teenager” thing. Great message and Madison was such an interesting (and very psychologically correct, may I add) character!
Alex & Leah:
I ADORED their storyline and only wanted more, to be honest! Alex and Leah had the absolute best dynamics since it all felt so natural between them. They are the only non-couple (and also not in on the sex-pact), but their friends convinced them to take each other as a date to prom. As something happens to Alex’s grandmother, they end up spending the night in the hospital. And! I! Loved! Every! Second! Of! It!
I would’ve loved to see some more of the entire friendgroup, to be honest, since I feel like this could’ve been a perfect book for the found family trope, but still! The Night When No One Had Sex brought me such good and comfortable vibes and I miss the cast of characters already! We follow them for one night so it’s fun to imagine where they might’ve ended up, though.
This was written with so much wittiness and honesty and I don’t think I’ve ever found a book with a better portrayal of being a teenager. So yeah, Kalena Miller is definitely an author to watch! More of this, please!
One-sentence pitch: Set the night after prom, The Night when no one had sex follows eight friends who made a sex-pact, but when nothing seems to happen like they expected it to, all of them will have to fight through their teenage struggles, navigate adulthood, and most importantly: accept that life takes unexpected turns, and that’s more than fine.
One-sentence review: I really love how this book found the perfect balance between making me 1) choke on my laughter, 2) nod yes while reading and appreciating the important topics this tackles and 3) question what kind of ridiculous story I’m reading…and yet still loving every second of it.
Definitely read it if: you’d like to read a book where sex is openly discussed, you want to read more realistic and honest stories about teenage struggles or you like to laugh while reading.
Maybe skip it if: you are really put off by the concept or would rather not read a book that’s sometimes, well, a bit ridiculous.
Characters: 4 out of 5 stars!
Writing: 3.5 out of 5 stars!
Vibes: 4 out of 5 stars!
Plot: 3.5 out of 5 stars!
Enjoyment: 5 out of 5 stars!
OVERALL: 4 out of 5 stars!