A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that authors Heather Corinna and Isabella Rotman pack a ton of evidence-based puberty and sex education into Wait, What?: A Comic Book Guide to Relationships, Bodies, and Growing Up. Several interactive pages, like a word search and a writing prompt, reinforce learning. Five teen friends -- Rico, Malia, Max, Sam, and Alexis -- guide readers through topics such as puberty, masturbation, gender, attraction, consent, sex, sexual identity, and finding support while growing up. The friends are incredibly diverse in terms of gender (including nonbinary and trans characters), sexuality, skin color, and personality. Empowering messages, delivered in affirming, inclusive language, consistently emphasize choice, knowledge, and respect of self and others. Sex is defined broadly, as more than just sexual intercourse, and includes helpful information about readiness for sex. While the chapters about sex are age-appropriate for both tweens and teens, parents may wish to preview content for tweens. This is a thoroughly modern guide for tweens and teens, however they identify.
- Parents say
- Kids say
There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.
What's the story?
Along with brief instructional text, knowledgeable Rico, Malia, Max, Sam, and Alexis take readers through each Chapter. They discuss maturity in the context of puberty and growing older, have a shame-free approach to bodies, masturbation, sex, and sexual readiness, use natural, gender-inclusive language to show respect to others, talk about respecting crushes and people you date, and include sexual assault as a part of the consent discussion. Interspersed between content, a coloring page, paper dolls, a wordsearch, a crossword puzzle, and a writing prompt will help readers reflect on and integrate what they've read. End pages include a note from the authors about what to do if you lack friends as awesome as those featured in the guide, an extensive glossary, and a resources list.
Is it any good?
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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the different genders represented in Wait, What? Why do you think the authors included characters who are nonbinary and transgender? How has your understanding of gender changed as you have grown? What questions about gender do you have?
How does this compare to other books about puberty and sex? Did you learn anything new? What surprised you?
This book talks about assembling a "superteam" of people who can help you navigate puberty, relationships, and sex as you grow up. Who's already on your superteam? Do you have any open spots on your team? Is there anyone you know who can fill those roles?
- Authors: Heather Corinna, Isabella Rotman
- Illustrator: Luke B. Howard
- Genre: Body Awareness
- Topics: Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, Science and Nature
- Book type: Non-Fiction
- Publisher: Limerence Press
- Publication date: September 3, 2019
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 10 - 18
- Number of pages: 80
- Available on: Paperback
- Last updated: August 2, 2021
Our editors recommend
For kids who love learning about their body
Themes & Topics
Browse titles with similar subject matter.
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.