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Reaching the climax!

(so sorry, but I couldn't resist!)

A discussion on Sex and the YA Novel is not complete without thinking about the following hard questions.  As I really don't have any answers, I'd love to begin a discussion. 

Boys V Girls
Is there a difference in the way we read about sex, dependent on whether the narrator is a boy or a girl?  Whether the narrator is straight or gay?

I thought DOING IT was one of the most accepted books about sex.  LOOKING FOR ALASKA certainly received its share of controversy, but in both cases, their supporters were louder.  (And for good reason...I loved both these books.) 

Note of interest:  Interesting to me that both these books are also authored by men.  Is there a difference between books about sex when they are written by women??? (In other words, do we as readers still believe, "Boys will be boys?")  

Do we still get nervous about sex in the novel when it is part of a cautionary tale/reason other than pleasure? 

Censorship:

Book banning is a huge issue for all of us.  But really, the issue is ACCESSIBILITY.  Are kids who need our books able to get them?  Are librarians and teachers, the links between books and kids, able to recommend our books without fear of criticism?  Are communities supporting or unaware of the review process that schools face to get a book into a library?

On many  listservs, challenges are a frequent topic.  I think we know the issue:  FEAR.  This fear comes from good intentions: parents want to protect their kids.  The question is, I guess: is there anything we can do to help alleviate fear?

How can we, as authors, build bridges to parents?

I'm also curious to know:
Have you ever been asked to take out a sex scene or sexual language because of potential challenges/markets? 


Marketing

As a sales representative for a small book publisher, I also look at marketing and publicity.  Remember when there was all that hullabaloo about the "friends with benefits" books and mass market paperbacks?  Remember how a few literary novels with sex got tiny miniscule mentions in the press?  Sadly, as YA novelists, we are in a conundrum.  You can't exactly go crazy publicizing your book--and it has SEX IN IT.  Because that will scare people away.  Or will it?  How do we handle the publicity of these literary books without getting challenged....

Books with sex, like all books, are written to be read.  

So let's make a list.....

Literary novels that include sex.  Your favorites are..........

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
seaheidi
Mar. 7th, 2008 05:47 pm (UTC)
LOOKING FOR ALASKA

GOOD GIRLS (is that considered literary though?)

NICK AND NORAH'S INFINITE PLAYLIST (literary?)

Also, I think we need to define 'include sex' because I thought the most erotic parts of LOOKING FOR ALASKA were Pudge 'looking at Alaska' and thinking about her etc., but the books above have actual sexual content.

saraharonson
Mar. 7th, 2008 06:38 pm (UTC)
I love Good Girls. Totally literary!!

And I think if it includes sex, let's add it to the list. Thinking about sex often gets the same response as actually having sex--when it comes to books.

lizgallagher
Mar. 7th, 2008 07:22 pm (UTC)
BETTER THAN RUNNING AT NIGHT, Hillary Frank

ME, PENELOPE, Lisa Jahn Clough
ex_zeisgeis
Mar. 8th, 2008 12:07 am (UTC)
BLEED, Laurie Faria Stolarz
DANGEROUS ANGELS, Francesca Lia Block
STORY OF A GIRL, Sara Zarr
THE BOYFRIEND LIST, E. Lockhart

Having a temporary brain fart but know there are a ton more great books, especially by awesome female authors.
niamhaevalnimue
Mar. 8th, 2008 03:42 am (UTC)
what about Guyaholic by C. Mackler?
but then again does "hooking up" mean sex or not. I've always been on the fence about that.
then there's Tamar by Mal Peet and How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )