The Night When No One Had Sex by Kalena Miller
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publishing Date: September 7, 2021
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
Thoughts and Themes: As this book has four different point of views as well as four different couples, I will review each of those storylines separately and then review the book as a whole.
Zoe and Morgan
Zoe and Morgan have been together for a while now and are the only two of the group that have already had sex so this night should be no big difference to them. I really liked how this night goes for both of them and how they are both forced to confront their fears about the future. I like how they not only are forced to confront those fears but how they do this all together and help each other through those fears.
Julia and Kevin
These two made me laugh throughout this whole book and I loved reading their parts because of how funny it was. I loved how comfortable these two are with each other and how much they clearly love each other. I loved how all of this was Julia’s plan but nothing goes according to what she has planned.
Madison and Jake
As much as I wasn’t invested in this relationship as much as the rest of them, I still really liked seeing how things played out for them. I liked seeing the way that Madison navigates her relationship with Jake and what her needs are. I thought it was great that we got to see everyone telling Madison what she should want and what her needs are but she stands up against them because of what she wants.
Alex and Leah
This pairing was my favorite of the whole book and I loved how wholesome it all was. I liked seeing how Leah supports Alex through what is probably the scariest night of his life. I like that they don’t really know each other but spend this whole night learning about each other. I also like how we get to see Leah interacting with Alex’s family and love getting to see who these characters are when they are alone.
I loved the friendships between all of these characters and was laughing during the scenes that you get to see their interactions through the group text. I would’ve loved to see these characters interacting more with each other throughout the night.
I loved that this book was about fearing the unknown in so many different ways and the transition from being a teenager to being an adult. I remember being that age and then going to community college so I didn’t feel like a full adult yet until I left home a few years later. I remember trying to decide which college was the best choice for me and thinking about what leaving friends or friends leaving me meant for my future.
Characters: In this book you get introduced to four main characters, and their partners. I loved getting to learn more about each of the main characters as well as read about their relationships. I loved reading about the separate couples but also the relationships they had with the others in the group.
There were some moments in which some of the characters were frustrating me but then I reminded myself that these are teenagers and this was typical behavior for this age. I liked that this book has Sapphic representation as well as chronic illness representation (Lupus).
Writing Style: This book is told through four points of view in first person which I really enjoyed. I was a bit concerned that I would get confused between all of the points of view but they were all distinct enough that you are able to tell the difference between who is speaking. I liked that you got to see things from each of these perspectives because you got to be in the characters head but also follow along as they are figuring the night out.
Kalena Miller grew up in College Station, TX with her mom, dad, and the most photographed hamster in history. After high school, she moved a thousand miles north to attend Carleton College, where she graduated summa cum laude with a BA in Religious Studies. After a brief stint working as a paraeducator in Seattle, Kalena decided she missed school too much, so she spent the next two years pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing at Hamline University.
Kalena currently lives in Hopkins, Minnesota with her husband, Kenny, and Toy Australian Shepherd, Toshley. She writes middle grade and young adult fiction and co-authors narrative nonfiction with her mom, Kathy Miller (check out her website here). She loves books that make her laugh and make her cry, preferably at the same time, and she firmly believes all quality novels should feature a cat.