“Their time felt like it was flying, dripping away, and there was nothing any of them could do to hold it or stop it.”
This book made me truly happy – cheeks hurting from smiling so much and everything – while getting to know each and every character. I just… I got this exciting feeling that I can’t quite explain. It was the kind of feeling that made me want to break into song, which, thanks to my throwback playlist, I did.
In Cherry four best friends make a pact during their senior year of high school to lose their virginities—and end up finding friendship, love, and self-discovery along the way.
This review contains *spoilers*.
- Alex (my favorite) Campbell:
Alex’s on the track team and wants to break the state record.
- Zoe “Ohmigod” Reed:
Zoe considered herself to be very plain & vanilla compared to her best friends.
- Layla “to-do list” Baxter:
Layla started the sex pact and didn’t do much of anything without giving it a great deal of thought.
- Emma “don’t-talk-about-graduation” O’Malley:
Expectation-less Emma – the photographer – likes to keep things interesting, but she didn’t feel the need to stray too far from the status quo.
In their second semester of their senior year, Layla is determined to have sex for the first time. Initially, the rest of the crew is scandalized, but, once they all admit to wanting to lose their v-cards too, they embark on a quest to do the deed together… separately.
To be completely frank, I wasn’t expecting this book to be so much fun. But it was simply everything I wanted in a contemporary. Everything and so much more.
Each subject was handled with such precise knowledge and expertise, I felt like the author was in my head.
And to top it off, this book featured incredible songs and artists:
“Zoe felt like you could tell a lot about a person by the music they listened to. It was like a window into their soul. She knew she wasn’t going to be able to stop Joey from shuffling through all the songs on the mix, but she couldn’t help but feel like he and Alex were sitting inside her head—and heart and soul and all that—as they listened to the music Zoe loved so much: “Man in the Mirror.” “Walking in Memphis.” Andy Grammer’s “Kiss You Slow.” Paramore’s “Ain’t It Fun.” “Wait for It” off the Hamilton Broadway cast album. And of course “Wonderwall” by Oasis.”
I appreciated Zoe 100% more after seeing Hamilton in her favorites. I still can’t believe a book mentioned it. So. Much. Yes.
The characters in this book felt so damn realistic, it is ineffable. The friendship is incredibly dynamic and fleshed-out. And I’m still waiting to read more from their group chat even after closing the book.
“Caring for a friend’s emotions as if they were your own could be muddled—and difficult and confusing. Sometimes, even the togetherness could be overwhelming. Especially since there were four friends involved in The Crew dynamic. All the emotions felt exponential.”
There were so many great moments that I related to and loved. It also opened up my mind to a few things I hadn’t thought about before and just AHH, it’s so good.
Speaking of… Alex was absolutely brilliant even in serious times of distress.
And in this case, I’m talking about Oliver and how Alex put him right where he deserved to be:
“You’re actually crazy,” Oliver said when Alex still hadn’t spoken to him.
“And you’re actually an asshole,” she finally replied. “You’re welcome,” she added, echoing the text message he’d sent the boys. “For the Photoshop skills.”
Oliver’s face turned instantly pale. He was so cocky and stupid; he thought he was actually going to get away with the whole thing. Not just the picture. Not just the embarrassment and all the ache he’d caused Alex. But the bragging, too. He thought he could get away with that. And that was the worst part, Alex decided. Oliver asked her if she was going to tell on him. He sounded like a small, sad, sniffling child.
“No,” Alex said, making the decision as the word came out of her mouth. “What’s that going to do? Make your life miserable? Maybe, but I don’t need that. You know what you did. And I know who you are. So. As far as I’m concerned I’ve already won. Forever, I get to be me—and you have to be you—and I feel incredibly good about both of those things.” Before Oliver could respond, she added, “And I’m glad you had so much fun jacking off to my knees . . .”
Alex turned triumphantly and walked away with her head held high.”
She’s a literal queen. I love her.
And I’m so damn glad she found her happy ending with Joey:
“Hi,” she said as she walked into Joey’s room.
“Hi,” he replied, standing up to greet her.
Before she knew it, they were only a few inches apart.
A spark from Joey’s deep brown eyes slid down his face and parted his smile, and in one fluid movement he pulled Alex toward him, pressing his lips—firmly, sweetly, perfectly—against hers. The kiss was so natural and so obvious and so necessary, that it was actually the pulling apart afterward that felt strange. All she wanted to do was kiss him again.
But before she could, her phone buzzed. It was the girls, getting anxious.
“They’re waiting for me—to watch your porn collection,” Alex explained.
Joey smirked and then pulled her in for another soul melding, mind crushing, body bursting kind of kiss.
Alex’s phone buzzed again.
“Ugh. Okay.” She smiled. “To be continued . . .”
“Please stay?” Joey said as if the words had escaped through his lips without permission.
“I can’t,” she said. She wanted to, but she couldn’t. Not right now. “Chicks before dicks,” Alex added with a little laugh, knowing it would drive him crazy.
It did. And she liked that.
“All right, fine . . . ,” he said with an adorable shake of his head. He ran his fingers through his hair. “Me and my ‘dick’ are gonna go take a cold shower.”
The “chicks before dicks” killed me.
As the story progresses, the crew continues to grow, both together and apart. But the sooner graduation nears, the sooner they realize that their days as a group are few and far between.
“The Crew would always be friends.
But being best friends and being “together” would not always mean the same thing as it did right now.”
Like I said, the friendship is so damn brilliant.
Also speaking of brilliant, I was so satisfied with Layla and Logan’s character arcs. I feared for a second there that she would return to the jackass, but she stayed strong and loved herself.
“Layla walked away—back to the party and away from Logan—and she knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that not doing her very last bullet point was actually the most important thing she’d done all year.”
I’m so damn proud of her. Is this what motherhood feels like??
To sum up, I simply did not want to put Cherry down. This book held the perfect balance between playful and honest and sincere all at the same time. And I still truly miss everyone.
“The story started in a froyo shop, and that’s effectively where it ended, too.”