Sex & Violence tour stop + giveaway

November 4, 2013 2013, carrie mesrobian, giveaway, guest post, mature themes, realistic fiction, Wendy 88

Sex & Violence is one of the strongest debuts of the year. This powerful contemporary novel deals with 17-year-old Evan’s painful recovery from a traumatic event, as well as his struggles to overcome his crippling sense of guilt, post-traumatic stress disorder, and grief.

Evan isn’t your typical YA protagonist, and in fact he’s a pretty unlikeable character when we first meet him. He’s an arrogant, hormonally-driven boy who makes no bones about his lack of interest in developing relationships with the girls he’s sleeping with, and yet the author manages to make us connect with him in a natural and intrinsic way before we’ve even begun to understand him.

Evan’s narrative voice is raw, real, and touched with occasional humor, and I appreciated how well-developed the characters were. The story portrays teen sexuality, both male and female, in a realistic and varied way, and it’s particularly interesting to see the consequences that come from objectifying other human beings. I’d strongly recommend this book for mature YA readers who seek books that deal with serious subjects in a non-self-pitying way, especially those who appreciate moral ambiguity and realism in their stories.

We’re also pleased to be kicking off the official Sex & Violence blog tour today–the author’s here to talk about her approach to sex and violence in books, both as a writer and as a reader, and her conviction that there’s a strong similarity in potraying the two. Her post certainly made me think about why certain scenes work for me and some don’t, whether they’re explicit or merely suggested.

~ Wendy

divider vine cropped

Writing Sex / Writing Violence
by Carrie Mesrobian

Recently, I was talking about book titles to Andrew Karre, my editor on my debut novel Sex & Violence. He was talking me off the wall about the title of my next book and he said this, “Remember, there’s not a lot of written sex and violence in Sex & Violence.”

Which is true. (Though there are scenes of sex and scenes of violence; the book isn’t false advertising in its title.) But this conversation made me think about the different approaches involved in writing about sex and violence.

In the case of Evan Carter, the main character in Sex & Violence, we see him in sexual situations with girls many times, though not every situation is presented fully in a scene. Sometimes, the sex is summarized and sometimes it fades to black. Similarly, there are violent situations in the story that are shown in full detail while others are not. Sometimes this was because I didn’t think the story requires more detail. Sometimes, as in the cases of some violent events, it was because I personally couldn’t stomach writing them.

Throughout the book, Evan contends with sex or violence – whether he’s passive or active, a victim or a perpetrator, because he cannot think of one without the other. Beyond Evan’s situation, though, I’ve found that both kinds of content have a lot in common when it comes to our response as readers.

So, here are some points to consider when reading sexual or violent scenes in a story:

Point #1: In terms of choreography, writing sex scenes and writing violent scenes, or fight scenes, are amazingly similar. You’ve got two bodies, multiple parts, and intentions that may or may not be aligned. There’s awkwardness and failure, sound and texture, movement and stillness, and a cinematic need on the part of the reader to SEE. Because we don’t see sex out on the sidewalk; we don’t encounter real violence there that often, either. Writers are tempted to summarize or make the scene blurry and chaotic – which it might very well be – but readers will want some details. To hear whispering lips on an earlobe, the whip-slap of a palm against skin. To see blood spit out on the dirt and eyes opening in shock, to feel knuckles splitting against ribs and hair tickling a bare shoulder. Readers want to watch, but they also want to participate. Being merely told that something was sexy or that something really it hurt knocks us out of the story. Which leads me to the second point…

Point #2: Sometimes what we don’t see is more powerful than what we are shown. This statement is often used as an excuse to write sex out of YA books, which drives me crazy. If anyone needs to see what sex might look like, for real and not in porn, it’s young adults. What I’m saying here, though, instead of FADE-TO-BLACK/NO ONE WANTS TO SEE THE DIRTY SEX, is that writers must make difficult decisions about why a sexual scene or violent scene is being deployed.

For example, do we want to see sex between two people who aren’t supposed to be together? Does seeing sex in a scene make it clearer to the reader why these people don’t work as a couple? Or are we confused and now empathizing with someone we shouldn’t be? This accounts for so much fodder in the fandom world, where readers who feel led on will write their own version to remedy what they see as a mistake.

Similarly, there is the problem of making violent scene seem joyful and alive, full of juicy adjectives and loving attention. Sometimes writers slather violent scenes with the same gusto they would with any other scene, not realizing the impact it will have on a reader’s view of the characters involved.

A writer repels and attracts readers with scenes of violence and sex; if a writer doesn’t contemplate this carefully, she can inadvertently make a character into a monster or romanticize a pairing she never intended to develop. The other potential problem with deploying sexual or violent content in this unthoughtful way can result in the reader not caring whether your characters gets the girl or best the villain. Instead of getting swoony, they will feel gross; instead of cheering your heroine/hero to victory, they will wish them death and injury. A good story doesn’t get reckless with either sex or violence – being gratuitous about either is a sin many readers will not forgive.

Point #3. Sex & violence as clichés. A lot of writing featuring sex favors certain words and movements/gestures. (I once made a list of such words here.) But sex is an activity that everyone tries to make their own. Everyone does weird things. You probably do weird things! And believe me, we’re all interested in those weird things. Porn may appear to reveal all, but nothing could be less real than people being paid to sexually perform.

Similarly, violence we see in television and movies is so fake. We’re supposed to believe that anyone can take multiple punches and still be standing. In boxing, there is something known as “the glass jaw.” It means that despite a fighter’s muscles and training, he or she cannot take a hit and remain standing. Since most of us are not trained pugilists, it’s safe to assume that we will not be able to take many multiple blows.

Violence and sex are not, then, the extended, lavish, panoramically-viewed events that we see and read about. When a writer includes the right details, despite the length of the scene, it can be twice as potent and memorable.

When we are reading a sex scene or a fight scene, and we find ourselves bored or unable to suspend our disbelief, it’s often because the writer has deployed worn clichés or tropes instead of attuning themselves to the characters and how they’d behave in either a sexual or violent situation. A lot of writers feel that sex is private and personal, so they assume they can glide over that aspect in the lives of their characters and coast along on easy clichés. But love scenes and battle scenes are perennial reader favorites; readers are WAITING for both to occur, anticipating and hoping and cheering along with the story for both events to happen. When they do, it is intensely disappointing to discover that what was surely going to be epic and unusual turns out to be a repackaging of something we’ve already seen over and over.

divider vine cropped

 

Win a copy of Sex & Violence!

Thanks to the author and Carolrhoda Lab, we are offering our readers the chance to win an autographed copy of this amazing book.

All you need to do is leave a comment below and fill out the Rafflecopter form, though additional entries may be earned by tweeting about the contest, sharing it on Facebook, etc.

Open internationally to readers aged 18 and older, or 13 and older with parental permission. Please see entry form for complete details. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

divider vine cropped

About the Author

Carrie Mesrobian has worked as a teacher in both public and private schools and teaches teenagers about writing at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis.

Her debut YA novel Sex & Violence is published by Carolrhoda LAB and available now. Her next book comes out in October 2014.

 

divider vine cropped

Sex & Violence Blog Tour Schedule

Visit the rest of the tour stops this week! The tour is hosted by our gracious friend Heather at The Flyleaf Review, whose glowing review first convinced me I needed to read this book.

Monday 11/4      The Midnight Garden
Tuesday 11/5      Ivy Book Bindings
Wednesday 11/6 A Reader of Fictions
Thursday 11/7    Jen Ryland/ YA Romantics
Friday 11/8         Into the Hall of Books

Our thanks to Carrie Mesrobian for joining us at The Midnight Garden today! 

 

Wendy signature teal

88 Responses to “Sex & Violence tour stop + giveaway”

  1. Paola Benavides

    This book sounds amazing. I am really intrigued by the concept even though it isn’t what I normally read.

  2. Ann

    Enjoyed your review! I’m always looking for books that aren’t typical, but are new and fresh. Plus, the male perspective is rare in YA so it’s a major plus!

  3. roro

    I love more realistic YA and realistic fiction in general However if I had not read amazing reviews I would not be interested because the cover is not pretty.

    But im so digging it now, that the reds remind me of blood and the blues of bruises

    Thnx for the giveaway and good luck 2 all

  4. Crystal Chalker-Keene

    This book sounds very interesting. I wasn’t into these types of books before, but lately I’ve been breaking away from my set YA reading list and venturing off into Adult novels, and have been surprisingly enjoying them. I like that these sorts of novels can be a lot more truthful in relation to characters, instead of glazing over critical moments and aspects of characters etc.

  5. Heather

    I have been so excited for this book ever since I first heard about it! Aside from the fact that so many young adult books barely deal with sex in a real way, I think it’s all too common to not deal with the issue of separating sex from having a real relationship and connection. Never mind within the the scope of YA, but across the spectrum of life and literature. To know that an author is putting this out there and looking at some of the consequences of this, and creating a character who is rather rudely forced to deal with this is amazing! Hopefully this encourages more authors to write characters who can confront the real issues that need to be brought to light and discussed. And thanks for the giveaway!

  6. Miranda @ Tempest Books

    I love how unique and interesting this book sounds. I’ve never really read anything like it, and I love books that are a little untraditional, so I’m pretty excited about this one.

  7. Will D

    This seems like an interesting read. Very different from what I usually see.

  8. Lynn K.

    Thanks for the post, it really made me think. Initially this wasn’t a book I wanted to read but after reading all those reviews, I’ve changed my mind.

  9. Rachel

    Wow, this sounds very different from what I usually read. I’m definitely intrigued but I worry that I won’t like Evan. Whether it’s realistic or not if a guy’s a jerk, a guy’s a jerk and I don’t necessarily want to read about him. However if he’s unlikable at first and there is positive character growth, I do enjoy those types of stories.

    I love Carrie’s thoughts on writing about sex and violence. It’s brought out things I would never think of but that are so true. The portrayal can really make or break your opinion on a character, really shape the way you feel about them.

    Wonderful post Wendy and Carrie, and thanks for the giveaway! :)

  10. Neyra

    I love your review Wendy, and the guest post. I’m always looking for books that aren’t the typical cliches, and this sounds like my kin of book. Plus, male pov’s are rare in YA, so this is a plus for me! (:

  11. Becca @ Nawanda Files

    This sounds brilliant. Great review, Wendy. I love when male protags are real and raw, even if it comes at the expense of likability a little bit. I’m a big fan of male POV contemporaries, like Split, where there’s something dark and gritty about them. I’ll definitely have to check this out. And the guest post was great! I love hearing the similarities between writing sex and action — I never thought of it like that before.

  12. Meg M

    I was intrigued by the premise of this book but this line cinched it:
    “…books that deal with serious subjects in a non-self-pitying way, especially those who appreciate moral ambiguity and realism in their stories.”
    Yes please! Great review and thanks Carrie Mesrobian for gues posting!

  13. Kim

    I’m so glad to see the caveat “when we first meet him.” I am all for flawed and/or unlikeable characters provided that we get some growth eventually. I just get really bummed when I read a story with a terrible MC who remains terrible.

    And I am so interested by your comment on the consequences of objectification. This is a topic I care a lot about and think on frequently. I’m very intrigued to see this addressed in young adult fiction, especially with the unfortunate prevalence of sexist tropes that I see way more than I care for in many popular YA novels.

    “Excited” seems like the wrong word for this but I can definitely say I’m eager and very much looking forward to reading this. Thank you, Wendy! I doubt I’d have ever heard of it if not for this post. I think this is definitely going to be one of those “made me think” reads and I sure love those :)

  14. CourtLoveLeigh

    I very much enjoyed Carrie’s thoughtful analysis of sexual and violent scenes in literature, particularly in YA. And anytime someone says a book is “morally ambiguous,” I am there. Also, I’m interested in this unlikable male protagonist. Great post!

  15. Jasprit

    Woah I think you’ve won me over again with another great guest post Wendy! I honestly did think that Sex & Violence wouldn’t be a book for me, but I love some of the points made by the author, she made so many that I definitely agree with. Also books written from solid male MC’s are total wins for me! Thanks for sharing a great post with us! :)

  16. Cait

    I’ve heard a lot about this book! The premise is really intriguing. I was reading another post by the author (I think on YAhighway) about how she wrote the book. SO interesting. I love the story-behind-the-book. :)
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  17. Rachel @ Unforgettable Books

    Your mini-review on the top is absolutely amazing! Ezra sounds wonderful, I love troubled characters that are still ones to care for.

    Terrific guest post. I liked learning about Carrie’s opinion on writing these two hard things to write on. Yep, I love participating in books. Wanting what characters want.

  18. Jess Michaelangelo

    What an interesting guest post! I have to admit, I never really gave sex or violent scenes much thought while reading, as far as the construction/writing side of them goes. Everything that Carrie pointed out was pretty spot on, though. Sounds like I ought to give this book a go!

  19. Ina M.

    Thank you very much for the giveaway! I’m interested to read this book because of how much Carrie Mesrobian’s view on writing sex and violence resonates with me. A lot of the YA novels (and not only) I’ve read resently bore me to tears with the repetition of cliches, so I’d love to see how she tackles those two tricky subjects in a hopefully fresh and realistic way. She certainly sets herself a high bar, and I’m very curious to see if she really does manage to jump over it, metaphorically speaking.

  20. Jessica R

    Wow. I was already very interested in reading Sex & Violence because it sounds like a unique and important story, but after reading Carrie’s post, I’m even more interested. Everything she said was very well put and I agree that so much of the sex and violence we are exposed to in media does absolutely nothing to help teens deal with it in their own lives, often even making it harder. Sounds like an excellent debut.

  21. bookittyblog

    Sometimes sex scene in New Adult/Adult books are so unrealistic. Most of the time I skim through them because I can’t take it. The words authors use to describe what’s happening are so important and most of the time we don’t need 10 pages of porn to let us know what’s happening. 1 sentence can get the job done beautifully. Great post girls! Sex and Violence will go to my TBR list.

  22. Melanie

    I’m not entirely sure if this book would be suited for me right now but I would def think this is a necessary read for older teens!

    Thanks for sharing! <33

  23. Ashelynn Hetland

    “it’s safe to assume that we will not be able to take many multiple blows.”

    Oh how TRUE that is. I don’t know about you, but I was the type of girl with a fiery temper (it was a package deal with my red hair) who seemed to always want to fight. One hit, and I’d be done. And I have to remember this while I’m revising my novel, because while my MC is trained for fights, she also probably won’t be able to sustain multiple blows to the head (or abdomen.)

    Perhaps more than one blow, though. I had no training, just the temper.

    Ashelynn @ Gypsy Book Reviews

  24. LisaFicTalk

    I only found out about this book after reading Kara’s review on her blog just last week. Now I see that TMG is involved in the blog tour. I think it’s a sign that this should go on my TBR pile.

    Very thought provoking guest post by the author.

    Looking forward to reading it so much more now.

  25. Tanja - Tanychy

    I’ve just read Keertana’s review for this one and this book is already on my to-read list. I love strong and emotional books that deal with issues. Also I’m happy that this book is not only sex and violence but it seems to me it’s focused on characters. It sounds amazing and thanks for this giveaway, Wendy :)

  26. My heart is here

    The cover looks good and makes me want to read the book! Also the subject of this book is interesting and I´m sure I would enjoy reading this one.
    Jenna O

  27. Jenni @ Alluring Reads

    I love what she says about what we don’t actually see being more effective that what we are. I totally agree with that and often think about how that is why I am such a big fan of books over TV. The mind is a powerful thing, that’s also why there is often rage when movie adaptations are made. It just never is what the reader had envisioned. Great post! I think I need this book in my life!

  28. Inês

    I didn’t know this book existed until a few minutes ago, but it sounds really interesting and I can’t wait to read it. It’ s very different from the usual YA books, and it’s more realistic.

  29. Salma

    I think this is an interesting and important topic to cover in a YA book. It sounds like something I’d like. The narrator sounds realistic, and I think this would be an enjoyable reading experience.

  30. Bailee Christiansen

    Edit options make my life easier… but apparently the delete button will work for now!!

    I wanted to change what I said a little bit. I found what the author put as her thoughts in regards to sex and violence and I honestly agree with her. It has become very similar in today’s world that sometimes, it would be easier to mistake one for the other. I like the idea of confronting it bluntly and I would love to read this novel!

  31. Candace

    I hadn’t had an urge to read this before, but the authors thoughts on the subject of sex & violence has me very curious. I’m wanting to see how things go in the book. It sounds unique. And I’m really wanting to see how this MC is pulled off.

    • Wendy Darling

      Definitely give it a try, Candace–I am pretty sure you will like it. It’s not at all the typical heavy-handed type of trauma story, and I think it’s one of best books to come out this year.

  32. readingdate

    I just picked up a copy of this and it sounds fantastic. What a great guest post – I’m even more intrigued to read the book now. I’ll definitely keep these points in mind when I read the book.

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh Lucy, I’m so glad to hear you’re going to read it! I look forward to hearing your reaction. It’s such a great character-driven book.

  33. Lisa Farhana

    I was first attracted to the cover of the book, and then I saw the title and immediately went “whoa.” The blurb was interesting enough for me to add it to my TBR pile.

    Honestly I’m a little scared of reading about “unlikeable” protagonists. It’s important for me to like a character or to just be able to connect with them to continue reading. Hopefully I won’t have problems with this one, the book sounds very promising and I heard a lot of good things about it already.

    Thank you for the chance to win, Wendy!

    • Wendy Darling

      Let me put it this way, Lisa–if you described this character to me, he’s not one I would normally “like” in a book either, particularly in the context of a lot of boyfriends in YA novels. I mean, he straight out does not want to develop any sort of relationship with girls. But as you read the story, you’ll find that there are reasons why he keeps people at a distance; even though those things aren’t explicitly pointed out as revelatory “oh yeah, this is why I do this,” you can’t help but put the pieces together. I think it also helps that this is from his POV and he’s not a secondary character. But above all, it’s the writing that makes you strive to understand this character, as well as sympathize with him. Boys are rarely all good or all bad, just as girls aren’t.

      Sorry to soapbox, hah–I just don’t want you to be scared off by it! I’m glad you entered the contest, and will try to give it a chance.

  34. Kate Bond

    Um, this is amazing, Wendy. So incredibly thoughtful and honest. This is exactly how I want everyone to talk about these topics.

  35. Whitney

    Once in awhile I’ll find a book with the male point of view that I like. I can already tell that I’m going to love this book! So excited to read!

  36. Unknown

    I do not read many books with a male POV that seem to work. I would love to read this one because I heard that it is very well-done from the male POV.

    • Wendy Darling

      I’ve read a decent number of well-written male POVs, but I just don’t think we get that many of them in YA, particularly written by a female author. This narration is done extremely well, though, I hope you agree when you get around to reading it.

  37. Keertana

    I love, love, LOVE this post! I think Carrie is absolutely right about the portrayal of both sex and violence in movies and literature, so I’m thrilled she got it right with her debut. I also think she’s right about the importance of having a sex or violent scene in a novel. It holds a lot more weight, especially when it’s not the typical fade-to-black or when it’s without the cliched phrases that make it so plain. I remember a lot of books because of the powerful sex scenes – scenes that carried weight, like that in Where the Stars Still Shine where sex was one of the first moments the MC felt safe. I’m glad you enjoyed this book so much, Wendy – I was very impressed with it myself – and I can’t wait to see what Mesrobian writes next!

    • Wendy Darling

      It’s a debut that doesn’t even feel like a debut, you know? The writing and characterizations are so strong and assured, and the conclusion felt realistic and not at all overplayed.

      Sex is an extremely pivotal part of life, especially at this age, so I’m happy to see more authors exploring it in their books in a thoughtful way that is organic to their plots. Very much looking forward to her next book, too!

  38. Karen

    Wendy – you’re the second blogger I trust to say they loved this book.

    I love the title and the premise but I wasn’t sold on those two things being told in a non gratuitous way.

    Between your review and this guest post I’m sold.

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh, EXCELLENT! I would love to hear what you think of this one, Karen. The book is not at all gratuitous or even particularly explicit, and I think you’ll appreciate Evan’s narrative voice.

  39. Carmen B.

    I think this is a really thoughtful post and I agree with many of the points made! Both types of scenes are really hard to write, but I think it’s necessary to write them instad of glossing over them. And I am so tired of the clichés! I really hope this book is as different as I am now anticipating! Thanks for the chance to win :)

    • Wendy Darling

      I think both “fade to black” and explicit sexual and violent situations can be done well, but I am very glad to see more authors choosing to tackle them head on. Difficult to portray in a non-gratuitous way, but I think they can both add value to story quite significantly.

      I’m glad you entered the contest!

  40. Chenise Jones

    I like the challenge of reading about an unlikable narrator, and to see if they can redeem themselves and turn me into a supporter.

    • Wendy Darling

      YES. I love that the author didn’t go for the easy ride to likeability for Evan, from the very beginning and even to the end, when he’s grown as a person. I like characters that are nuanced, and let’s face it–that’s very realistic and human.

  41. Alise (Readers In Wonderland)

    Okay, this one sounds absolutely amazing. The protagonist seems like he goes though a huge amount of character development and the fact that you could still understand him and be sympathetic to his attitude makes me want to read this right now. This is definitely one of those books that could be classified as NA yet is still YA, which I don’t get. (Going back to my discussion post you visited) Fantastic review!

    • Wendy Darling

      Hah, yes–our continuing conversation about YA vs NA. This could definitely be shelved as NA because of the maturity of the content and themes, although it is leaps and bounds beyond most of those titles marketed as such in terms of writing, plotting, and characterization. Amazing book however it’s shelved, though–and Evan definitely evolves as a character, in a realistic way.

  42. lisazj

    I actually really like it when the MC POV is male, when it’s well done and this one sounds excellent. Can’t wait to read, whether I win or not! :)

    • Wendy Darling

      I really enjoy well-written male POVs, too. I’m so happy you’re going to give this a chance! Tricky book, but a great experience for the right reader.

  43. Heather Roddenberry

    I love this guest post–it is interesting to read Carrie’s take on both sex and violence–it’s as the book’s synopsis states: there really is a connection between the two, even if you don’t see it at first. And HECK YES to Carrie’s thoughts on how important it is for teens and YA’s to get a REAL glance at what sex can be and sometimes is, and not just the idealized, sugar-coated version or the less then realistic porn version. I really hope more people take a chance on this book because it is so thought-provoking and ripe for potential discussion. Not to mention it’s one of the best I have read this year:)

    So glad you joined in on the tour, Wendy! I enjoyed hearing your thoughts on the book and I, of course, am always intrigued by what Carrie has to say:)

    • Wendy Darling

      I never thought about the parallels before between how sex and violence is portrayed, but her post definitely got me thinking! And agreed, I hope people find their way to this book–it deserves an audience.

      Thank you for hosting the tour, Heather!

  44. Amber

    I added this book to my TBR list immediately after reading the synopsis. Sounds like it is realistically written and portrays an interesting topic.

    • Wendy Darling

      Definitely written in a very realistic way–the male POV is extremely well done, and the way the story unfolds keeps your interest.

  45. Lexxie Lin

    I actually enjoy books where the protagonist has to work to make me like him or her. And there is a lot more growth to a character who starts out unlikable, and then realizes that there needs to be some changes in their life.

    Recently, I’ve also really enjoyed stories with a guy as the MC.

    Thanks for the great giveaway! Happy reading :)

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    • Wendy Darling

      I actually really enjoy that too, Lexxie–sometimes authors work too hard to make us like a character, and then he/she becomes a lot less interesting. I just finished an adult urban fantasy book with one of the most unlikeable protagnonists I’ve ever come across, and yet I loved it! Human beings are complicated creatures, and there’s no reason why everyone should be so freaking nice all the time.

  46. Jen Ryland/YA Romantics

    Yes, I was a bit intimidated by the title (something that Heather and Carrie made fun of me for on Twitter) but I really liked the book a lot. There was no gratuitous sex or violence, but a very interesting take on sex and intimacy from a guy’s POV.

    Jen @ YA Romantics

    • Wendy Darling

      This book wasn’t high on my radar until I read Heather’s review–and even then I was surprised by how much I liked it. (It’s bad that I’m surprised when I’m pleased by a book these days, hah.) The title is pretty blunt, but I like that it’s different from everything else out there–it kind of gives you the indication that this is not your typical YA book.

  47. Dahlia Adler

    I love the idea of a book that shows early just how much of a conflation between sex and violence there can be, how fine the line. I find it fascinating how they’re often paired as the things that constitute Mature Content, and yet extreme, negative violence is frequently included in books and movies for a younger audience where even positive sexual attitudes and feelings are not. Definitely want to read a book that eyes the two side-by-side!

    • Wendy Darling

      It’s especially interesting to me to see the discrepancy between cultural attitudes about sex vs. violence–I think we’re pretty puritanical here in the US when it comes to depictions of sex in art, whether it’s books or films or traditional art, and yet we produce some of the most violent content entertainment-wise there is. What makes one acceptable but not the other? I hope we continue to see discussions about the value of both in our books.

      And yeah, you should read this, Miss Dahlia.

    • Wendy Darling

      Ah–sex and violence in YA are hot topics these days. Fiona Wood just did a guest post on the relevancy of sex in YA for us recently, too–it’s currently linked on the “popular posts” sidebar.

    • Wendy Darling

      They are one of my absolute FAVORITE publishers. I have been woefully lax in keeping up with all their releases this year, but my like/love record with them is extremely high. I love publishers with great taste, and those who take chances on unconventional material as well.

  48. Savannah Bookswithbite

    Thanks for the giveaway. I think this book can be insightful for young adults today. Most don’t understand the consequence of being an adult and making choices to have sex, etc. I think if teens get a good insight of making these can choices both good and bad, it could help a lot.

    • Wendy Darling

      It’s a very insightful book and portrays action in consequence very realistically. I have to say that it’s all done in a very natural and subtle way, though, unlike some “message” or “issue” books that maybe drive home the points a little too hard, often at the expense of the story. What themes are there are interpreted, they’re not ones that the author hits you over the head with.

  49. Mary @ BookSwarm

    This book sounds so different than what I normally read that I might actually have to check it out just to see! I’m intrigued by Evan and his actions.

    • Wendy Darling

      One of my biggest pet peeves in YA is the abundance of too-good-to-be-true boys. That’s not to say that some boys aren’t genuinely smart and nice and considerate, but I think there are too many unrealistic male characters as well–or at least they’re not balanced by enough boys who seem to have realistic urges and feelings and aren’t so PC all the time. You won’t have that problem with Evan at all.