A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this book is filled with graphic descriptions of first intimate experiences and has been compared to Judy Blume's Forever. As a senior in high school, the main female character is obsessed with her first real boyfriend and describes in vivid detail their romantic encounters, from kissing and touching to oral sex and losing her virginity. She is also an overachieving student, has applied to colleges with pre-med ambitions, and has strong, healthy relationships with her parents and best girlfriend. In the context of social gatherings, there is some underage drinking and profanity in dialogue for effect. The protagonist is a likeable character, but parents need to be comfortable with the frank sex-related content, which could double as a how-to manual.
What's the story?
Dominique, a high-achieving student at an all-girl high school, meets Wes, a track star at the local public high school. Her best friend Amy encourages Dom to pursue him. They slowly develop a relationship, the first physical one for both. Eventually, hot and heavy, they find secret ways to be alone and explore first sexual encounters. Promising always to be together, they attend different colleges in different states and attempt to maintain their close relationship through email, phone calls, and visits back home. But is it possible?
Is it any good?
First love and first times are very dramatic, no doubt, but they're not always on display so graphically, with how-to manual-style details. Written in the first person, the book lets readers get up close and personal with Dominique's thoughts, feelings, apprehensions, and pleasures. Like many teens, she communicates as much through email, text messaging, and cell phones as she does in person. And she's much more candid via email, in fact, especially when she's making a big relationship decision. For readers at this junction between high school and college romance, this book may give them something to ponder, but younger readers may be overwhelmed by the protagonist's obsession with her boyfriend and the explicit details of their relationship.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the sexual content of this book. Does it seem overly graphic -- or just realistic? When authors are writing books targeting teens, is any subject matter off limits?
Do you think books like this one can shape teen sexual behavior? Who or what do you think has the most influence over your decisions? Does media, including books, play a role?
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