Tuesday, September 27, 2011

All These Things I've Done

All These Things I've Done  by Gabrielle Zevin
16-year-old Anya is the heir to to the "family business":  chocolate. 

In the year 2083, chocolate is a controlled substance, and Anya's family is a modern mafia, importing chocolate and other prohibited luxuries to New York.   Her parents were both killed in mob hits, leaving Anya in charge of a younger sister, a brain-injured older brother, and a dying grandmother.  Anya considers herself the least romantic girl in the world...until she falls in love with Win Delacroix, the son of New York's new assistant DA.

Then Anya's ex-boyfriend nearly dies from eating a poisoned bar of Balanchine Chocolate, and the story begins to twist and turn and twist again.

Crime, drama, chocolate, forbidden romance...and this is only the first book!  At least two more in the Birthright series are already in the works. 

This book contains some sexual situations (including a steamy "near miss" scene in a hotel room) with no actual body parts on the page.  There is no cussing, some not-very-bloody mob violence, and several scenes of alcohol consumption by teens; in 2083, alcohol is legal for all ages, but coffee is not.

Recommended for ages 14 to adult.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

After the Golden Age

After the Golden Age  by Carrie Vaughn

Forensic accountant Celia West is the daughter of superheroes Captain Olympus and Spark, but her only "talent" seems to be a gift for getting kidnapped and held for ransom.  When the insane supervillian Simon Sito (aka The Destructor) is captured and prosecuted for tax evasion, Celia finds her chance to help bring evil to justice.  However, her investigation uncovers a conspiracy that might be the key to the origin of Commerce City's superheroes...and more.

Fast action, excellent writing, great characters, a unique setting, a little romance, and some tactful off-page sexual situations.  This book is written and published for adults, but it will be welcomed by teen readers of superhero fiction. 

Highly recommended for ages 14 and up.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

S.E.X. the all-you-need-to-know progressive sexuality guide

S.E.X. : the all-you-need-to-know progressive sexuality guide to get you through high school and college  by Heather Corinna

Teens who want to know everything about sex:  here's your book. 

Complete (and I do mean complete) information to answer all the questions you've ever had (and possibly some you never considered).  Body image, relationships, masturbation, STDs, pregnancy (and prevention of STDs and pregnancy) as well as the "mechanics" of kissing, mutual masturbation, and various types of intercourse are discussed in frank, readable language. 

The author "translates" medical terms into slang terms (and vice versa) to make the information in this book as accessible as possible. She also addresses many topics that traditionally have been skipped over in sex information books: pornography, relationship skills, gender identity issues, and detailed information about the process and the phyical and mental ramifications of abortion.

Obviously, this book could be problematic in many public schools, and probably too much information for middle schools or junior high schools. However, the information is good, current, and needful. 

This is a $16.95 investment that libraries should try to make wherever possible.  Recommended.

Beauty Queens

Beauty Queens  by Libba Bray
When a plane crash-lands on a (supposedly) deserted island, a small group of teenaged beauty pageant contestants are stranded away from parents, television cameras, and a powersupply for the straightening irons.  Will they turn all Lord of the Flies? Will the Sparkle Ponies prevail?  What will happen to their newfound sense of independence and self-worth when a ship full of faux rock star pirates lands on the island?  

Most importantly: what will happen when the television cameras and Corporation representatives reveal themselves in the heroic conclusion?

Satire?  Oh, yes.  Social commentary?  That too.  Wickedly hilariously funny?  Yes, yes, YES! 

HIGHLY recommended for teen girls, and parents of girls, and teachers of girls, and anybody who ever talks to girls (including boys).  This book contains sexual situations, GLBTQ characters, feminists, corporation stooges, an insane dictator of a tiny country called ChaCha, and a little bit of cussing. 

Also: some really good tips on alternative uses for feminine dipilatory cream.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Doing It Right

Doing It Right : making smart, safe, and satisfying choices about sex
by Bronwen Pardes

With chapter headings like "The Lowdown on Down Below", "Planning, Not Parenthood", "LGBTQ...Which One R U?" and "Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite", it's easy to tell that this book is a cheery, chirpy, and frank guide to sexual information.  The data is up-to-date, with online and toll-free contact information for organizations like Planned Parenthood, as well as for sources of emergency contraception, adoption resources, and STD testing locations.

The writing is naturally friendly without being condescending, the information is complete without being overwhelming, and the narration is uninhibited without being embarrassing.  The author's gentle sense of humor pervades the book, but she also offers non-judgemental advice on sexual decision-making that will make sense to teens. 

Highly recommended.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Unshelved = bookish laughter!

If you don't already get a daily giggle in your inbox, you are missing out. 

Unshelved comics aren't just for library staff--they will tickle anybody who has ever squinted at a situation and said "Huh?"

Here's my favorite comic, which seems like it was designed especially for Sex in the Library...and the cartoonists have graciously granted us permission to re-print it here:

Click the link in the caption to biggify the picture and view the comic as it originally appeared on the Unshelved website on August 22, 2011.