A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Girls are harassed because of their sexual behavior while boys are congratulated, and even teachers get involved in passing judgments. A girl is harassed by the entire school and not much is done about it. On the plus side, several girls come to an understanding about the repercussions of sexual activity and relationships.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Many sexual situations and discussions that are key to the story. A girl describes losing her virginity, including bleeding afterward. A teen's penis is described including look and feel. Discussions about orgasms, masturbation, sexual promiscuity, and descriptions of heavy-petting sessions are also prevalent. A naked cell phone picture of the main character circulates school.
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A few swear words, mostly in German. A few English swear words include "s--t."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teens smoke and drink alcohol at parties.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that there are a lot of discussions about sex, making out, virginity, and sexual promiscuity -- a girl describes losing her virginity. The main character has a naked cell phone picture taken of her in "the moment." The novel deals with sexuality in a very open way but overall it's not unduly graphic. Teens also smoke and drink alcohol at parties. Because teens in the book come to an understanding about sex and its repercussions, parents may find that this is a good discussion book.
Is It Any Good?
This begins like many contemporary teen novels with casual references to sexual romps and "hook-ups"; thankfully, the story evolves into something much more. Ruby rips off the false sophistication and glamour of teen sex and exposes the raw and very real emotions behind adolescent relationships. What lifts this novel above others is how Ruby tackles the "friends with benefits" phenomenon and the fairly new "naked cell phone photo" trend. Her characters are open, awkward, troubled, and honest. They evolve as they come to understand more about relationships and themselves. Readers will gladly go on this emotional journey with Audrey and her friends.
Parents may have a strong reaction to the content of this novel, but they shouldn't be too quick to pull the plug. Where many teen books often disregard parents as either meddling or self-absorbed, Audrey's parents are real. They are horrified, achingly concerned for their daughter, and struggle to find the right words and the right steps to protect her. Teens are going to love this book and it's definitely a way to kick off discussion about sexuality, responsibility, and relationships.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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