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.
This book, which is half romance and part modern friendship narrative, is deserving of all the excitement it will receive when it’s out (this is an ARC review) . I’m in the same year as the protagonists in this book, so it was incredibly wonderful to have so much of the plot revolve around college plans and concern about the future.
Julia Harmond has arranged for her entire group of friends to accompany her in losing her virginity on the night of her senior prom, after gaining access to Zoe’s uncle’s lake house. However, she is frustrated because her previous attempt was too painful, and she is keen for things to go according to plan. There’s also the issue of Zoe’s uncle abandoning his cat at the house, which Julia is terrified of.
She spends many hours imprisoned in a closet with her boyfriend, Kevin, as they try roleplaying for the first time.
Zoe Blackwell and her partner, Morgan, have been having sex for nearly a year, but she’s delighted to go along with Julia’s plan since she needs a break after her recent Yale acceptance (where she is a legacy student). She doesn’t know how to tell Morgan that she might be moving across the country, and telling her family that she might not want to go after all will be much more difficult. (In fact, her uncle’s house has an entire bedroom dedicated to Yale memorabilia.) Yale has always been her ambition, so it couldn’t possibly alter now, can it?
My favorite aspect of this novel was that, despite the fact that it appears to be about love relationships and friendships, most of the drama stemmed from other sources (like college plans, pressure from family, and chronic illness). There’s no misunderstanding or “everything goes wrong” moment in this story. There isn’t a single instance where the group is engaged in a major battle.
Also, NO EXTREME PARTY CULTURE IS ALLOWED! I was hoping it wouldn’t be an over-the-top party with everyone getting drunk and high on the nice furniture because the majority of the story takes place at a lake house with no parental supervision. No, it’s not at all unrealistic.
Even though they primarily just sit around and talk, they’re more interesting to read about than any other “crazy party” in any book.
And then there’s the GROUP CHAT. There are multiple situations where the characters have a group chat, and the names they come up with are hilarious.
If you’re nearing the end of high school, a student who is worried about the future, or if you simply miss your adolescent years, read this.
About the Author
Kalena Miller is a writer, teacher, editor, and scone enthusiast. She currently lives in Hopkins, Minnesota with her husband and lovable, if slightly neurotic, dog. When she isn’t writing, Kalena enjoys tap dancing, scrapbooking, and watching an embarrassing amount of reality television. Her debut YA novel, THE NIGHT WHEN NO ONE HAD SEX, will be published on September 7th, 2021.