Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I am J

I am J   by Cris Beam
J has always felt misunderstood, and no wonder: his parents think he's a lesbian, his best friend Melissa think he's a girl, and his girlfriend Blue is pretty sure he's gay. But J knows that he is a boy, although he was born female.  After doing some Google research, J learns about testosterone shots, and is convinced that taking "T" will fix everything in his life.  But even after seeing a psychologist and starting hormone therapy, J learns that, as much as he loves them, the people in his life are still not perfect.
Readers will learn a lot about the lives of transgender teens as J attends a support group, enrolls at a school for transgender teens, and does his best to become a man in a society that isn't quite sure how to define him.  The book is obviously issue-driven;  however, the convincingly multi-ethnic and gender-diverse characters retrieve it from the "Afterschool Special" pile.  Not everyone accepts J as he accepts himself, but there is hope. 
Almost squeaky-clean: no cussing, no sex; there is one scene of under-age drinking.  References to body parts are polite.  Sexual tension does not progress beyond a few exchanged kisses. 
Recommended for readers in grades 7 to adult.

You Against Me

You against me by Jenny Downham

Mikey and his sister Karyn are trying to hold their life together in a poor section of a sea town in England.  Mikey is the major source of income from his job as a cook and general  clean-up at a pub, while Karyn helps with their alcoholic mother and 10 year old sister.

Things fall apart when fifteen-year-old  Karyn says she has been raped at a party and refuses to leave the house, or even participate in life.  Vowing revenge, Mikey crashes a party at the home of the accused rapist, only to fall for the boy's sister, Ellie.  Life is messy for everyone, especially Ellie’s relationship with her parents, her adored brother, and now Mikey. Is Ellie reacting to her parents?  To Mikey?

She is unsure what she should do.  She gave a statement to the police,but what did she actually see the night of the incident?  This is a complicated, interesting look at what rape is and how we, girls, boys,brothers, sisters, and parents, react. All the characters are very
The ending is flawed  by its need to be too positive, and leaves us with many more questions about the upcoming  trial. Some sex scenes, tastefully handled.  --MJH

Thursday, January 12, 2012

We got good news today, oh boy!

VOYA (Voices of Youth Advocates) Magazine will be publishing a SEX IN THE LIBRARY article in the February 2012 issue (I will add the online link when it becomes available).

That's good news.

But there's even BETTER news:

VOYA Publications wants to publish a Sex in the Library BOOK!!!!  

We're working on the contract right now; we hope to finish writing the book by the end of 2012, and it will be published sometime in 2013.

So now it's a question for the readers: 

What teen books do you think MUST be discussed in the SITL book? 
Got any new title suggestions, or favorite older books? 
Any authors out there want us to take a look at your books?

The comment box is open!