Saturday, January 26, 2008

Sex is... Popular Paperbacks for teens

So my year of reading books dealing with sex written for (or appeals to) teens is finally over. We had over 40 nominations. We podcast our 2 hour meeting where we discussed the nominated titles. It's not on YALSA's website yet, but hopefully they will put it up soon! The final list can be found on YALSA's website. I think the list is pretty diverse. We have straight and gay love, celebacy, nonfiction and fiction, novels and graphic novels, books on desire. Pretty much however you define Sex there is something for you. My particular favorites of the list are as follows!
Forever by Judy Blume
The Classic book of sex for teens. This has been passed around teen girl readers ever since it was first published in 1975. Hey, this teen book is older than me! This story is all about first loves and how forever may not really last forever. A fabulous story with a new updated cover! Highly recommended even with some corny lines thrown in every once in a while. I read this one sitting on the beach in Mexico!

Hail Caesar by Thu-Houng Ha
Caesar's really not named Caesar, it's just what everyone calls him. He's the all powerful jock, girl swooning heart throb, and king of the school. Everyone loves him--except the new girl at school. And he can't stand that she doesn't adore him like everyone else. If you've ever wondered what guys think, check this book out and also Doing It by Melvin Burgess. Another cool fact about this book is that the author is a teen girl! She's now in college, but she wrote this while in high school.

Fly on the Wall by E. Lockhart
This is more about the mechanics of sex than sex itself. Gretchen finds herself transformed into a fly in the boys' locker room after making a wish. As she observes the boys in all their glory, she discovers many new found truths and confidence within herself. Chick lit fun. And let's be honest, girls are curious about boys and all their parts probably just as much as boys are interested in girls' parts! Great pink and white cover too!

Since this is a booklist all about sex, we wanted to find some great, popular (or could be popular) nonfiction books on sex ed. After reading so many books on the topic, our committee discovered that there are a lot of DRY sex ed books out there! Geez, it's kind of sad that a book could be boring on such a "racy" topic! But we found two great titles that we really liked. My favorite one was Doing it Right by Bronwen Pardes. This is a solid resource--lots of fun banter, but very honest and informative text. Heck, I even learned something from here!

The last books I want to highlight from the list are books on desire. Sex doesn't actually take place in these books but desire is pouring out of the pages. The first one is Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. In order to avoid his ex-girlfriend, Nick asks the girl next to him at punk rock show to be his girlfriend for five minutes. This begins a hot and steamy night told in both Nick and Norah's voices. Great music book too!

The other one is a supernatural title, Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause. Vivian is trying to fit into her new suburban home but when she falls for a human, she has to figure out where her loyalties lie --with her werewolf pack or with the "meatboy" human. I first read this when I was living in Indiana. It was nominated for an Indiana award similar to our Grand Canyon Reader Award. I read all the books nominated for the teen list, but this one really stuck with me. I remember sitting in a comfy chair, reading the whole book, finishing it in one sitting, going to take a potty break and then rereading all the good parts again! This book is the first teen book that I can remember reading really talking about desire and what it feels like and what it means to "want" somebody. Oh so good. Just don't judge the book on the movie--I'm sure it was horrible in comparison!
So that's my highlights of the Sex is... list. Don't just take my opinion for the list, read the books and let me know what you think!

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