T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 42492
posted 12-28-2012 01:51 PM
I only really picked these books up because my favorite fanfic writer said she based her writing on their tone/format.
As I expected, although I am about 10 years past their target age, they were extremely funny and a great way to unwind after a really rough semester. However, what I wasn’t expecting was how honest, non-judgmental and accurate they were when discussing teen sexuality. There were no actual sex scenes, but there was a lot of good discussion of sex and examination of social standards stereotypes. Here’s a few examples: 1) A “talk” between a mom and a daughter that was sex-positive and supportive (even though the daughter was really embarrassed, the mom did an awesome job.) 2) A period of time where the main character and a friend start relying on romance novels for advice and learn that it isn’t a good idea 3) The same friends get the idea from these novels that virginity is a “precious gift”, but over time learn the harmfulness/unrealisticness of this way of thinking 4) An actual quote from a character describing how the virginity concept was invented to insure paternity of offspring 5) A few great conversations with a school nurse dispelling common rumors including ones about the hymen (with a discussion about bleeding during first intercourse that could have been taken straight from a Scarleteen article) and the one that sperm can back up if a guy doesn’t have sex. 6) Some accurate information on birth control 7) Pretty much a whole book where the main character gets upset because she finds out that her boyfriend had sex before they started dating, but over time realizes that it’s ok for your first sexual experience to not be “for love”, and that the fact that two people aren’t each other’s “firsts” doesn’t make the relationship any less meaningful. 8) There’s some minor slut shaming on the part of the main character that gets reversed by the end of the series 9) Some vague but positive references to female masturbation 10) Another couple vague but positive references to two of her female friends who are implied to have a romantic relationship. 11) Main character is friends with a Transexual neighbor The only think I took issue to was a statement that “All boys want to have sex eventually”, and an implication that that may be sooner than girls. But I feel like compared to all the positive messages it could be excused. One of the main issues I have with Young Adult literature is the inaccurate and preachy picture that they usually paint about sexuality. However, I’d totally recommend these books to teens, as well as older people like myself who find this kind of story immensely fun. Just a note though, If you do choose to read these books, don’t expect to see too many of the things I listed until the 4th or 5th book. It’s touched on a little bit in the first couple, but it becomes much more present as the characters get older. Also, some of the themes may seem sex-negative at first, but become sex-positive as the topic is expanded over the course of the series, much like in a real teen’s life. Also, note that the plot of the books bears very little resemblance to the movies of the same name, a fact that the character mentions when she complains about the inaccuracies in the movies "about her life". [ 12-28-2012, 01:55 PM: Message edited by: Atonement ]
Member # 41657
posted 12-28-2012 03:28 PM
I've been curious about these books for a while as I remember hearing that they're a lot more realistic and sex-positive than many other YA novels, and I've decided to read them based on your post, thanks for sharing this information and your perspective, Atonement
Member # 42492
posted 01-02-2013 08:50 PM
Glad I could help, Jill!
Feel free to share your opinion of them with me when you finish. I always love discussing a good book!
Member # 41657
posted 01-03-2013 12:47 PM
Will try to do that, though it might be a while until I get round to reading them as I have a huge backlog of other books that I keep meaning to read and have started and not finished (one of my new year's resolutions is to work through them), plus I'm trying to be more sensible with money, the library is not a good option for me as I tend to end up incurring late fees a lot, I do go there to read sometimes though so I guess maybe I could set aside a day and try and read a whole one in there? Or maybe look for them in a charity shop or secondhand on amazon or something... anyway, it might take a while to get round to it