by Amber Lehman
Pub: Closet Case Press
For some people, discovering their actual sexual identity is easy; they are heterosexual and always know that without questioning it; or they have always known they were homosexual. Times have changed, and I think it's probably easier in today's world to be gay or lesbian than in the old days. However, I would imagine that not knowing for sure one way or the other would still be pretty rough to deal with.
This novel deals with a group of teenage friends. When a new girl moves into town and joins the group, the dynamics seems to change a bit. As a teenager, alliances change, petty jealousies come and go, and there seems to be a minor drama going on constantly. In this work, the author introduces us to a group of teens with more than just the minor drama; it's major stuff here. Some of the characters are well drawn, and you feel invested in their life and the goings-on. Some of the characters seem to drift, and it''s much harder to care what actually happens to them. For a first time novel, that's somewhat to be expected; hopefully in future works the author will paint her characters more fully.
There is a lot of sex here, and some graphic depiction. In other instances, it's so glossed over that you are unaware of whether anything actually went on or not. There is actually no real parental involvement anywhere, which I also felt was less than realistic. No one ever seems to have an actual parent giving rules, punishments, etc. Granted, lots of kids today don't have proper supervision; but it bothers me that there is no parental involvement here at all. I think that might have made the story seem more real, and easier for today's teens to identify with. There were some older brothers that seemed in charge of the family dynamics, but that doesn't really ring that true to life.
I'm definitely not a prude, and have no problem with sex when it furthers the plot or seems right for the situation in the story; but some of it is so gratuitious that it isn't really moving the story along and seems to be added just for sex sake. That being said, I do think the story will appeal to teenagers, but it should be older teens, as the author suggests, not younger teens.
I found the story line interesting, and I think that there are many good points here. For teens unsure of the sexual route they are taking, it would probably make them feel better to read about kids with the same issues. I am happy to see that the author made mention more than once of safe sex. That message can't be put forward often enough, in my opinion.
I finished reading this two days ago, and wanted to give myself time to digest and think through the story before reviewing it. There are many redeeming features to the story; but I think too much is left unsaid and unexamined. Life is not full of pat answers to problems, and the book sort of stops at a point that seemed unrealistic. I may be looking at this from the wrong perspective; I am coming at this from the other end of the spectrum, a person 30 some years past the teen years, and with more life experience I tend to view things much differently now than a teenager would; perhaps they would not be disappointed in where the story ends at all.
In all, I do think the author has a bright writing future ahead of her, and would look forward to reading her future work.
Tags: age, coming, confusion, identity, of, sexual, teens