This is a review of Confessions of a High School Disaster: Chloe Snow’s Diary by Emma Chastain.
I was sent this book by the author’s publicist in exchange for an honest review.
Overall Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Content Rating ★★☆☆☆
Writing Style Rating: ★★★☆☆
In the tradition of Bridget Jones’s Diary, a lovably flawed high school student chronicles her life as she navigates the highs and lows of family, friendship, school, and love in a diary that sparkles with humor and warmth.
I’m Chloe Snow, and my life is kiiiiind of a disaster.
1. I’m a kissing virgin (so so so embarrassing).
2. My best friend, Hannah, is driving me insane.
3. I think I’m in love with Mac Brody, senior football star, whose girlfriend is so beautiful she doesn’t even need eyeliner.
4. My dad won’t stop asking me if I’m okay.
5. Oh, and my mom moved to Mexico to work on her novel. But it’s fine—she’ll be back soon. She said so.
Mom says the only thing sadder than remembering is forgetting, so I’m going to write down everything that happens to me in this diary. That way, even when I’m ninety, I’ll remember how awkward and horrible and exciting it is to be in high school.
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TRIGGER WARNING: Due to the nature of this book, my review is fairly blatant about the topic of sex. If this bothers you, you probably don’t want to read any further!
Mmmmkay. This is going to have to be a brutally honest review. There were aspects of this book that I enjoyed (particularly the “diary” format), but unfortunately, I consider the bad to have much outweighed the good…
Where do I even start. Okay, so our main character is 14. Yay! No problems there. What is a problem? About 95% of her brain is devoted to sex. SEX. She’s 14. And she is OBSESSED. Okaaaaay so most teenagers have crazy, half-out-of-control hormones. However, there is a difference between having those hormones and acting on them. Chloe is convinced she’ll die a spinster because she’s never been kissed, is dying to give a “hand job,” has a crush on an 18-year-old (who has a girlfriend), proceeds to enter into a VERY unhealthy relationship with him, isn’t bothered by the pornographic images on said 18-year-old’s wall, and comfortably refers to “grinding” and “dry humping.” SERIOUSLY? There are SO MANY problems with this…
…But let’s start with the relationship between Chloe and Mac (the senior). By the end of the book, Chloe finally understands that this relationship was wrong. HOWEVER, that “wrongness” was only because he already had a girlfriend. HELLO? He is four years older than she is and it is technically illegal for him to make sexual advances to her! NOT COOL. The author never implies that there was anything wrong with this relationship apart from “he had a girlfriend” and “he was a jerk.” The “jerk” part didn’t even have anything to do with his advances–only that he led her on. I am very, very against promoting relationships at this age with such an age difference. Too many things that could go wrong!
Aaaaaand when Chloe visits Mac’s bedroom (RED FLAGS, ANYONE??), she sees the insanely indecent poster on his wall and states that it makes her feel “horny” and want to undress. Can we all agree that this is seriously not the kind of thing we should be filling our 14-year-olds’ heads with?? Come on, people. Do you WANT your daughters to lose their virginity at 14 and become moms at 15? Because that’s what you’re promoting with material like this.
While we’re talking about what shouldn’t be in kids’ heads… GRINDING AND HUMPING? Wow. I’ve read YA lit that is WAY less screwed up (no rude puns intended) than this. I’m not entirely sure what age group this book is supposedly appropriate for, but the writing feels very “middle grade” to me. However, I would never give this book to a middle school kid, let alone anyone under 18! (Or 30…) Honestly, doesn’t this kid’s brain have anywhere better to be? I love a good romance book and if you want recs, I have plenty! I have read quite the variety. 😀 But this book left me feeling dirty and unclean. I’m a sucker for a good romance, but this is gutter material.
Seriously guys, Mac the Perv actually discusses his sex life with Chloe… Is that messed up, or what?? And I’m talking inappropriate details here. Absolutely wrong, regardless of the age of the MC!
Next up, enter Hannah. Good, sweet, righteous, Catholic Hannah–who by the end of the book has dated (and been dumped by) a high school senior without her parents’ knowledge, given said senior a “hand job,” AND had sex with said senior. All at age 14. Her response? She feels guilty “in church” but “it was worth it.” Really? Was it? Is this truly the mindset we want to give teens? GO HAVE SEX WITH ANY RANDOM PERSON. IT’S WORTH IT. Even though you’re so young that pregnancy could damage you for life… Even when you’d probably choose to have an abortion and then feel guilty about THAT on top of everything else. Come on, let’s use some common sense here.
I’d like to point out at this point that it is actually legitimately dangerous to have sexual relations at such a young age. LOOK IT UP. It’s not exactly for the faint of heart… Vastly increased chance of STDs, cervical cancer, etc. Worth it? I think not.
As I mentioned at the beginning, I did enjoy the writing format. The author did a good job using the diary entries to (mostly…) realistically portray the everyday life of a 14-year-old. This was a different style for me and now I want to go read the book Goodreads says this was in the style of. 🙂
I also appreciate the character growth Hannah experiences throughout the story. It wasn’t entirely satisfactory (particularly where her love life was concerned) but there were a lot of meaningful moments, especially as pertained to her relationship with her parents. Honestly, if the “sex stuff” hadn’t been so messed up, I’d have probably rated this book between 3 and 4 stars. It had a LOT of potential! But all the “stuff” really lowered the quality to the point where I consider this book nonredeemable. Really? Chloe’s 14? Yes, I can’t stop coming back to that critical fact…
* * *
So no, I do not recommend this book. There’s a distinct difference between “romance” and “perversion.” If you want to read about high school kids “doing it,” please pick a book where your MC is older than 14! Not cool, Emma Chastain; not cool. I came here for a fun, lighthearted book (as I was promised) about the quirks and issues of a high school freshman–not a book about a 14-year-old’s sick relationship with an 18-year-old.
I also want to mention quickly (or not) the dangers of promoting dangerous relationships like Mac and Chloe’s. I vividly remember being 14 and IT IS SO FREAKING HARD. You are looking for someone stronger than you; someone who can comfort, protect, and love you. You feel insecure, unloved, unwanted, and undervalued. (Chloe, too, felt all these things!) It is SO EASY to get into an unhealthy relationship with someone older. So it makes me positively ill that any adult (let alone a MOTHER) would promote this sort of behavior to kids who do, indeed, want nothing more than to feel loved and special. How could you tell kids this kind of relationship is okay and normal? That it’s only a problem if the guy already has a girlfriend? That having sex at that age is fine and everyone is doing it? So please, for the love of all that is young and tender, DON’T MAKE KIDS GROW UP TOO FAST.
Teens (young and old), you have your entire life ahead of you to find someone who truly loves you. Don’t throw your life away on someone who isn’t worthy of you. ❤
Creepiness content: 6
Grief content: 4
Language content: 3
Religion content: 4
Romance content: 5
Sexual content: 7
Violence content: 2