A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know the book features a 14-year-old who has oral and anal sex with a boy at school but still considers herself a virgin. Although she feels used by this boy (he's dating her best friend while fooling around with her), she is too "weak" to resist him and has sex "without even thinking." She drinks alcohol to please him and to relax. On the positive side, he uses condoms. There is also extensive cursing and two incidences of girls beating each other up.
What's the story?
Fourteen-year-old Kendra knows what happens to teens who have sex: They end up like her mother, pregnant as a high school freshman. Kendra's mom stays in school and continues to get her Ph.D. -- but only because Kendra's Nana raises her. Kendra is best friends with her aunt, Adonna, her dad's younger sister. Nana is overprotective, but even so, Kendra can't resist Nashawn, a hot older boy who is also dating Adonna. As their relationship heats up, Kendra really needs her mom to start acting like one.
Is it any good?
Teens will identify with Kendra's engaging first-person voice. She boasts a stereotypes-busting family, with a well-educated teen mom and a close relationship with her father, who pays regular child support. Nearly every chapter ends the same way, however, with Kendra let down by her mom. While this may be realistic, it grows tedious even for sympathetic readers who feel Kendra's pain of rejection.
For a self-described shy "good girl," Kendra's sudden jump to anal sex in the teachers lounge at school seems out of character, especially when she does it again despite feeling used. Her only explanation: "Why did I do this? I don't know." Readers will be glad when Kendra begins to accept her mother and her boyfriend on her own terms.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about their definitions of sex and virginity. Do oral sex and anal sex count as "sex"? Do these really carry fewer emotional attachments? What does it mean to make good choices in relationships? What do teens and parents agree on? What don't you agree on? What do teens think about Nashawn's statement, "When a girl like you lets a guy like me hit it, of course I'm gonna do it. You're hot."