Parents' Guide to

Wait, What?: A Comic Book Guide to Relationships, Bodies, and Growing Up

By Mandie Caroll, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Modern, nuanced sex-ed guide fantastic for tweens, teens.

Wait, What?: A Comic Book Guide to Relationships, Bodies, and Growing Up Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 1 parent review

age 10+

I wish I'd read this when I was a young teen!

This is an age-appropriate, progressive, inclusive, accessible guide to puberty, gender, and sexuality for young teens. I totally recommend it and wish that I'd had this book available in my school library when I was a teenager in the 80s and 90s. Actually, I wish I'd had a school library, too, but you get the point. It's very accessible, and the comic-book format makes sure that younger teens aren't turned off by huge slabs of text. The way in which it's told by characters who are also young teens made it very relatable to my 11-year-old son. It helps that the information is conveyed by kid characters and not adults "talking down" to the reader. My wife and I read this before giving it to him, and we were both super-pleased by how progressive and inclusive it is of all genders and sexualities, and how it normalises the experiences of all young people throughout. This is a useful corrective to the prejudice and bigotry often experienced by those teens who realise they don't fit the norm when it comes to their nascent attractions or gender identities. It's also really important for those teens (the majority, of course) who are straight or cisgendered because it shows them, in light-touch, and low-key, ways how to be understanding friends and allies to those who aren't. The glossary of names and terms at the back is very useful. It's very good at dispelling the worries many teenagers have that they're either too far ahead, or too far behind, their peers in the bodily changes we all go through in puberty, as well as in their approaches to crushes and first boy/girlfriends. It also equips them really well by giving them strategies to deal with social and peer pressure about the speed at which they develop during their teens (in relation to both their bodies and their relationships). My son told us that this is a book he learned lots from and that he'll keep going back to as he goes through his early teen years as a source of reference. So will I.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

Informative and funny, this slim book is a knock-out success when it comes to what tweens and teens need to know about puberty, gender, and sex. This is a great option for readers who find that puberty and sexuality guides often lack important information or use exclusionary language, Wait, What?: A Comic Book Guide to Relationships, Bodies, and Growing Up has a refreshing, positive stance towards sexuality: It's just another way to express yourself (by yourself and/or with others, if/when you're ready). The language affirms all genders (e.g. "If you've got a vagina," "people with a penis") and sexualities ("Gay? Straight? Both? Neither? Who even knows?"). And it includes sexual assault in the discussion of consent. The nuance it brings to these topics shows a deep respect for tween and teen readers.

One surprising oversight is the lack of a discussion about body image. It's covered indirectly, but a more explicit approach would have affirmed the experiences of even more readers. There are no fat bodies in the illustrations either, which is out of step with this otherwise very inclusive guide. Still, the positives far outweigh this omission, and this guide is a great resource for tweens and teens.

Book Details

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