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4.02  ·  Rating details ·  323 Ratings  ·  60 Reviews
A novel about Catholic girls poised - hilariously- on the brink of going all the way, Virgins recalls in aching detail what it was like to be an eighteen-year-old Catholic high school the fifties. This book contains the rules and regimen, hijinks and longing of that time.
Hardcover, 246 pages
Published January 1st 1984 by St. Martin's Press
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Giselle (Book Nerd Canada)
An Electronic Advanced Reader Copy was provided by the publisher for review. Quotes have been pulled from an ARC and may be subject to change.

The book includes white supremacists, mild racial slurs, and casual sexual acts.

Peggy walks the fine line of being a good Catholic school girl and a young woman who wants to become independent and live her own life, instead of the one that is taught by the strict Catholic church. It makes it that much harder on Peggy when her girl best friend Con is a conf
Mar 31, 2010 added it
Virgins ("The Outrageous Bestseller About Well-Bred Ladies On The Brink of Going All The Way") was fun while it lasted (171 pages!), but still I've abandoned the ghost.

I purchased this book as a Savers goof, drawn in by the cover art (three identical bottle-tanned leg sets in matching anklets and loafers, hands clasped, knees shut tight) and promotional blurbs (see above and also "Across the Country, Critics LOVE 'Virgins'!"). I didn't know what to expect. When I began reading, I found myself i
*The Angry Reader*

This was like Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. Except Catholic. And better. This is a book for women - to remind us of where we came from and where we're going. And how we got here.

A memoir of a senior year at a Catholic high school in a small town in the 1950s. Hysterically funny. Sad. Moving. Meaningful. Absolutely perfect. It felt like reading those golden summer nights when you drove with all the windows down just to be going somewhere. Just to be moving.

I read it in one
Feb 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Still one of my very favourite 'comfort' books. I can blow through this one in a day or two and it's like visiting old friends. I seem to relate well to these characters--better than to most. Many folks who have read this on my say-so didn't think it was anything special, but I guess that's okay. For me, it's warm hearted, laugh out loud funny and well worth the few hours to escape. I loved the bittersweet ending to this book. It was just so damned... well. I love it. :)
Apr 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I found this book in the basement of my house in 1995 and read it in secret, because I was pretty sure it was my mom's book and probably a no-no topic. I laughed hysterically and then cried hysterically and pretty much loved this book, even though I'm not Catholic and therefore all the god-drama and school references weren't familiar. If you can find it in print, read it.
Jun 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: to any girl in their teens, or anyone who is looking for a wonderful coming of age tale.
Recommended to BurgendyA by: No one, the book caught my attention..
Shelves: re-read
This beautiful heartfelt story was a wonderful read. It is a great coming of age tale of Peggy Morrison. She is a young 17 year old gal in her senior year at an all girls Catholic High School. Peg is a girl who is looking for more in life. She is pretty liberated and opend minded especially in the time she is in. The setting of the story takes place in the 50’s era. Her best friend, Con, has decided that they need to do something big to make their legend immortal, and while their exploits are e ...more
Beth Dufraine
Mar 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Beth by: Valarie K.
Peggy Ann Morrison is a charming Catholic schoolgirl and Sean McCaffrey, a priest-to-be, is her boyfriend, with what else but raging hormones. The story deals with sexual curiosity and uses amusing situations to explain how they satisfy their urges. Miss Rivers uses her sharp wit for comic right from the start with her appealing characters.

I read Virgins back in 1986. In fact, I’d just switched schools that year and this book helped my transition. A new friend introduced me to it, and through V
Apr 05, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
First things first ignore the description !! It paints this novel as being a story of teenagers trying to lose their virginity and it being wild and crazy and that's NOT the case. The characters are highly religious, the whole book is highly religious, and only one character is really trying to "lose it" so to speak.

That out of the way - this is what the book is really about. Our main character, Peggy is kind of stuck. On the one hand she has a insane best friend who has sex on the brain and on
Jan 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: keepers
I love this little book. I read it when I was a teenager and even though it's set during the 1950s and in Catholic School--two things I have no reference for--I just love these characters.

I think Caryl Rivers really nails what it feels like to be a teenage girl that longs for a bigger-than-life life while also clinging to that bittersweet time when you know you're growing up but there are things you never want to see end--and sometimes there is a very real deadline, whether it's the end of the
Aug 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: summer-2015
The title and tagline made me take this book out of the library. It was a very enjoyable read of Catholic school girls and some of their favorite guys and adventures in the 1950s. It is filled with the longing of doing “it” and the guilt of what the Catholic church and school nuns are telling the young women about saving themselves, but there are also some funny high school pranks and rites of passage – inventing a fake saint, stealing a banner off a high school and placing it on the Baptist chu ...more
Stacy Fetters
Nov 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
"Who's the whore of Babylon? Maybe It's Jane Russell!"
Growing up, the catholic school kids were wilder and crazier than the normal school kids. They had the best booze, crazier hookups and the most amazing parties.
Browsing my local thrift store and this caught my eye. It looked ridiculous and sounded ridiculous and it was a must have for my book collection. At the time I didn't know that it would turn out to be such an amazing read. From the ridiculousness of catholic school, the silly pranks an
Apr 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I think I also read this in middle school.. like maybe my when i was 12 or 13
My mom actualy bought this book for me @ a second hand store, she had read it when she was younger but I dont think she had remember all the things that were in it becuase im pretty sure she wouldnt have let me read it over all it was a great book.. and i can relate because i did go to a catholic school but it wasnt all girls
Terri Lee
Oct 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those little books that you might overlook, but it should be treasured. It is charming and witty and silly and thoughtful. It is a coming of age story with a true glimpse of Catholic youth in the 1970's. It is not to be missed. Many funny scenes still remain in my memory, such as the 'Roadmap of Sin'. Good stuff. If you ever have a chance to read the adorable book don't pass it up.
Aug 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
this book is absolutely hilarious. a coming of age novel that explores a good Catholic upbringing with tongue firmly in cheek.
Nov 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: i-have-read
Another all time favorite book. A great re-read.
Drennan Spitzer
Oct 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
In Virgins, Caryl Rivers depicts the coming-of-age of Peggy Morrison, a Catholic schoolgirl, in Maryland sometime in the late 1950s or early 1960s. Rivers creates a story that is both comic and poignant, as Peg, our first-person narrator, recounts the highlights of her senior year of high school. Peg and her friend Con engage in hijinks and pranks at their all-girls Catholic school, while Peg navigates a relationship with her neighbor and would-be boyfriend Sean. Sean, however, is headed for sem ...more
Apr 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 Stars

One word to describe this book: HILARIOUS.

I honestly stumbled upon this book by accident, I was just looking around the website Scribd (I got the 1 month free trial) and I saw this book, it had an interesting cover and lots of greats reviews. Initially, I only planned on trading the first chapter, I don't remember why, but it wasn't something I planned on reading fully.

That changed as soon as I read the first sentence and burst out laughing.


I don't even know why I found
Sara Strand
Sep 30, 2012 rated it did not like it
OK. So let's talk about how I lost my virginity because I'd like to think most everyone's first time is kind of awkward and horrible. At least, just lie to me and say that's true.
It was a Saturday in October, I had been dating the boy for a few months and we had been engaged for a few of them. No, I'm not joking. I was also 17 and stupidly fell for the "we're engaged so we may as well" argument. Ah... young love.
It was his parent's house, he was a few years older than me, and we thought we wer
Julie - Book Hooked Blog
Virgins was originally published in the mid-80's and is set in the 1960's. It focuses on the senior year of high school for two virginal Catholic school girls who are aching to grow up and experience life. It's really not as much of a plot-driven book as it is the story of their senior year and their coming of age. It reminded me a lot of a Judy Blume book - like something you'd read in middle school or high school and share the "dirty" parts. The main focus of the story is how the girls toe the ...more
Lis Carey
Sep 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, christian
This is the re-release of a delightful mid-80s novel of mid-50s Catholic school girls coming of age.

Peggy Morrison, her friends and classmates Con and Molly, seniors at Immaculate Heart of Mary High school, and her neighbor and boyfriend, Sean McCaffrey, a senior at Sacred Heart of Jesus High School, struggle with the challenges of growing up and entering adulthood. Peggy and Con dream of being writers and journalists and living a glamorous life in New York City. Sean plans to be a priest, and w
Feb 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
I think it was a marvellouse novel. It really gave me insight on how teen/young adults struggle with the topic of "sex" and "sin", and the line between right and wrong. It showed me how ignorant teens can be in the case of con and peg. It also showed me that things don't always work out as planned.I think it did, in so many ways mock the division of the Christian churches and the doctrines that accompany each denomination, as in the case of Venial and mortal sin practiced by the catholic church. ...more
Carrie Ardoin
Oct 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own-this, tour, funny
Peggy is a senior at an all girls Catholic high school. Her boyfriend Sean is also her next door neighbor, and goes to the boys Catholic high school. Although both are virgins (and Sean's on the road to priesthood), it's getting more and more difficult to stay that way.

As the year passes, Peggy and her friends realize that they are actually growing up, and must come to terms with that.

This book was set in the late 1950's (I think, no specific year was mentioned so I gather the context clues) but
Chrissy (The Every Free Chance Reader)
Did I enjoy this book: Unfortunately, I did not enjoy this book. It was a struggle for me to continue reading it until I finished it.

For me, Virgins wasn't that funny. I thought it was okay but kind of boring. I just didn't get it. I guess I was expecting something else going in to this book. I thought it would be more about the girls finding their place and trying to be who they were expected to be while being who they wanted to be. The characters just seemed really immature and overly sex-cra
Oct 14, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-tlc, 2012-reads
When I read the premise of this book I have to admit that I thought it would be a great read because I generally like coming of age stories, note that I stated "generally." This story just did not grab me and even though I did like the main character, Peg, I realized that I'm just not the target market for this book. Now if my eighteen-year-old self had read this one then I think you would be reading an entirely different review! My younger self would have gobbled this book right up and loved ev ...more
May 18, 2014 added it
I found this book on Oyster and I'm not even sure how I stumbled across it but I am so glad I did. I grew up in an Italian Roman Catholic family and while I didn't attend private school, I certainly went to many religion classes on the weekends, church, participated in mass, youth basketball leagues, and dated my fair share of private school boys.

Now this book was written in 1984 and was based on high school kids of 1956. I was born in 1985, but Jesus, this book was phenomenal. Aside from the di
I had heard that Virgins by Caryl Rivers was hilarious. But, I just don’t agree. It made me chuckle in a few spots, and made me smile in many more, but I didn’t find it laugh-out-loud funny. And definitely not hilarious. Still, the story is interesting, compelling, and has very interesting characters. I think that, as a teenager, I would have really enjoyed this book. As an adult, though, I think my perspective is just way too different to appreciate it as much.

I don’t really have any real compl
Suanne Laqueur
Jul 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-five-stars
I lost (or gave away) my copy of this book and its sequel Girls Forever Brave and True. I really need to acquire new ones. These are treasures.

Virgins is fantastic. Don't let the title or cover fool you, this is a charming, honest, thoughtful look at growing up and coming of age as a Catholic in the 1950's. Between the hilarious antics of Peggy Morrison, her best friend Constance Wepplener, and her headed-to-the-seminary boyfriend Sean McCaffrey, we get profound insights and observations on the
Dec 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was a really quick read (I read it in like 3-4 hours). It was a good story set in the 1950's, a sort of coming of age story for Catholics. The book centered around Peggy but her two best friends had an equal amount of time in the book and I think having all three characters in the book is why I liked it. It sort of reminded me of the Perks of Being a Wallflower but in a more toned down, enjoyable version. I didn't know what to expect for this book, but for a quick, fun read I would recommen ...more
Feb 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult, romance
I read this book twenty some years ago and talked all my friends into reading it. It's a wonderfully funny coming of age story with lovable characters, great humor, life changing events and a bittersweet ending. If you ever attended a private Catholic school, you have to read this book! I loaned this out so many times I shouldn't be surprised eventually it didn't come back to me so I finally bought another copy and reread it. It was every bit as wonderful as I remembered from twenty years ago.
Jan 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I adore this book. Which, as a Catholic school girl, of course so. But seriously, it's just hilarious and poignant and in both those regards very, very teenaged. Which doesn't stop me rereading it long after leaving teenagerhood and Bishop O'Connell High School behind...
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Caryl Rivers has been called “one of the brightest voices in contemporary fiction.” Her novel VIRGINS was an international critical success, published in the US, UK, Sweden, Germany and Japan. It was on many best seller lists and in paperback (Pocket Books) sold more than a million copies. Her novels deal with American women trying to find a foothold in a rapidly changing world.

She is a nationally
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