Thursday, July 15, 2010

Doin' IT (Yes, IT) in YA

Katarinasmama and I were discussing a certain book via text and the LACK of sex in it. And how this vexed me. (Trust me. I was very vexed.) So I thought it'd be fun if we split up some of our favorite YA books into categories. I propose the following:

1. Needs Some Doin' It (e.g. Twilight)
2. Needs LESS Doin' It (e.g. Breaking Dawn *cough*Renesmee*cough*)
3. Did It JUST RIGHT (e.g. Shiver)

Did It Just Right: Well, besides Shiver, which defines JUST RIGHT, there is Lisa McMann's series, WAKE/FADE/GONE. The scene with Cabel and Janie in the shower?? Okay, yes, I'm laughing. And only because they referenced Judy Blume's Forever which is the ultimate Did It Just Right book. Who can ever forget the name "Ralph"?

So add to these some new stories where the focus isn't a Coming Of Age Theme but where there is a romantic subplot and the Doing It parts are written really well: Siren by Tricia Rayburn (out on July 13th) and the recently released Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready. They don't skirt around the issue. Yes, I enjoyed using that cliche. *skirts away*

Ah yes, Janie and Cabel. I would definitely add that to the Did It Just Right category. And Shiver! I just finished it (again) so that scene is fresh in my mind.... Yeah, Just Right.

Needs Some Doin' It: I'll say it...but JACE AND CLARY! Okay, well, there was this outtake from the Mansion Collapse Scene and that, you know, hinted at what could have happened, if only the world wasn't literally collapsing around them and well, the small matter of that they could be *coughs* siblings.

But, did anyone think that Jace and Clary were really brother and sister?? I mean, seriously? I know it's icky to even think about it. Who didn't nod their head and understand perfectly when Jace told Clary in City of Ashes (p. 182), "We could keep it a secret."

Yes, I just said it. Nodding along to Jace's request. I'll now retreat back to my lair.

Okay, CoA was a book that definitely needed SOME DOIN' IT!

I was TOTALLY with you in the whole "nudge nudge, wink wink" Jace and Clary wrongness. I actually rationalized to myself while reading that our feelings on incest come from the RELATIONSHIPS that we have with siblings, and if that you were raised separately, and had no idea, then how could you really be faulted? Especially if you were in love with Jace? *nodding no* I would not judge. Unless your kids had 10 thumbs and no nose. Then I'd judge. A little.

My favorite Jace description quote from CoA: " "Some guys look at you like they only want sex. Jace looks at you like you've had sex - it was great and now you're just friends."

Mmm... And then there's this new excerpt that Ms. Clare just released, as if she KNEW we were having this discussion, involving a bed. *grins evilly*

While this whole topic is an attempt to look humorously at the way sex is handled in YA lit, I feel like it is really important to recognize the books that get it right. It's not because I want to read about sex. (Well, not ENTIRELY. *winks*) It's because if I'm going to have a discussion with my children ABOUT sex, these are the types of encounters I want to discuss. Ones, like in Shiver, where it is portrayed as a natural progression of a loving relationship. It wasn't taken lightly, nor was it glorified. It just WAS.

I think the subject is out there, Leigh, and some books Do It, some just avoid it, and then some *smiles at Julie Kagawa* keep their characters too busy just trying to survive and leave no time for more than a really hot kiss and a declaration of "never again".

I've had THE TALK with my 11yo DS. It is important to present what should happen, i.e. "natural progression of a loving relationship" but also one must talk about the repercussions of unprotected sex, i.e. avoiding the half-vamp, half-human baby.

Which is also a great point. So I guess Renesmee serves a purpose after all.

All seriousness aside, just about any book with an "OMG we will all die in battle tomorrow" plot line NEEDS SOME DOIN' IT. *coughs and glares at Julie Kagawa* #TeamAsh

So, what do y'all think? What books would you put into the Needs More/Needs Less/Just Right categories? Let us know!



  1. LMAO you ladies crack me up ;-) I can't think of any more books right off the top of my head, but I might be back later with some.. Loved the post!!

  2. I remember reading Forever when I was in Jr. High. I rented it from the library and was certain I would be judged by the librarian as I was checking out! I swear, you would have thought I was borrowing porn I was so nervous! :)

    Breaking Dawn- I wanted more deets in the water. Like a very detailed description of Edward.

  3. Wow, this post was awesome! I definitely hate when authors totally skirt around the subject, like all teenagers do is kiss and they would never even think about having sex, NO WAY. I liked the scene in Shiver but I never got far enough in the Wake series to read their shower scene. Sounds sexy!


    I definitely agree. My friends and I have SO many inside jokes about the horror that was Breaking Dawn. Bruises. Breaking of the Beds. Pillows and Feathers (god, so many feathers). Discussion of the National Debt (wink wink). And then the crazy vampire-prego baby that ultimately made Bella prettier and stronger (WTF?).

    Also agreed: Julie Kagawa, I want some DOIN' IT. And on the whole Jace x Clary thing. Though I'll admit I always knew CC would find a way out of it. Sneaky CC...

  5. I knew there was NO POSSIBLE WAY that Jace and Clary could REALLY be bro/sis. That would be like committing career suicide for Cassie if she hadn't fixed that at the end. Millions of books across the world would have flown into walls in protest.

    Also second (third? fifth?) that Shiver was wonderful and perfectly done.

  6. Haha this post is awesome! "one must talk about the repercussions of unprotected sex, i.e. avoiding the half-vamp, half-human baby" --FTW.

    DrgnFlyGirl, I agree--I wanted water deets so bad--but beyond the fact that like I think I deserved some details after 1,000 pages of angst and tension...I was mad that I was told for 3 books that their having sex would be impossible and then it was possible--off the page! Grrr! That's the equivalent of Harry mastering his Patronus Charm off the page and coming back and going, yo dementors, it's cool now, I have this--WHAM! And we'd all be like what??? That's how I felt.

    I'll add in Vampire Academy for just right.

    (new blog follower) :-)

  7. I agree! I love books with a little "Doin' it" in them! I've read Shiver, WAKE/FADE/GONE, The Mortal Instruments, The Iron King, and I'm reading "Siren" now.

    Yes, Shiver and Wake/Fade/Gone did do it just right! Loved those scenes.

    Also I agree "The Iron Fey Series" and "The Mortal Instruments" defiantly need some "doin' it!". The Wayland manor scene with Clary & Jace.. ohemgee I was hoping for it! lol :)

    Great post :)

  8. Glad that everyone was so very accepting of this topic!!! I thoroughly enjoyed participating in it myself...thanks Leigh and Rain!! Yes, I'm still laughing.

  9. Great discussion--interesting selections and thoughts. Agree--SHIVER did it very well. I shall now slink away and let this all bubble around with the last of book 3's rough draft. ;-)

    Ladies, while you're on this discussion, does sex in a YA that your child might read cause you to react differently (more protectively) than if it's just one *you* might read? The crossover of readers in YA always makes me wonder where lines get drawn.

    Always curious!

  10. Oh Shannon -- hi!!! No, it wouldn't make me read it more protectively. Not at all. In fact, all the ones that Do It Right, I hope my DDs would read. Well, DS is closer in age (the aforementioned 11 yo) but he's not so into "romance" per se. And I don't see that part changing.

  11. ...I actually liked the vampire pregnancy in Breaking Dawn. If you are going to have a vampire baby, gross should be the order of the day. It would have been much creepier if nothing gross or weird had happened.

  12. Such fun comments on this post! Shannon - I did think of that while Leigh & Katarinasmama were writing this post, and mainly bc the reason I have been so absent is our new daughter. So, I have a new perspective - being parent to a girl (even if she is a tiny girl at this point). That being said, I read such crap during my tween/teen years (it's embarrassing, but- Danielle Steele, VC Andrews, Sweet Valley High, etc.) where sex was often violent and just plain WEIRD. I'd be so much happier to have my daughter reading the YA sex scenes that are out there currently. Obviously they're going to read it somewhere, so better to read it in a book that handles it as well as those we mentioned.

    But, when my friends ask for suggestions for their teens, I do tell them which books have sexytimes, so they can make their own decisions on that.

    (Oh, I guess I did have something to add to this post! Hopefully it's coherent as I am still sleep-deprived! :)

  13. This is AMAZING! And quite hilarious =D I totall agree about SHIVER and WAKE,FADE,&GONE being just right. I'm looking forward to reading Siren by Tricia Rayburn and I am REALLY looking forward to reading CoFA by CassieClare ;D

  14. Hahahahahaha-


    Now, in all seriousness (or about as serious as I can right now), when I was younger I was reading a book (no title mentioned on purpose) and was completely destroyed for weeks when two of the main characters-who, mind you, I'd always considered to have a father/daughter/brother/sister relationship-suddenly started having a much more...ahem, *romantic* relationship. With that memory held tight I truly appreciate the authors who Do It Right. Mmmm...I a purely scholastic way of course ;)


  15. Hooray for new blog followers/commenters! I'm SO GLAD y'all GOT what we were doing here.

    Shannon, I second (third?) what the girls have said already. I have a daughter and a son, and although neither are old enough for this material yet (5 and 2 is a little young for vamp babies) I think that reading with the eyes of a parent simply make me appreciate well-done sex scenes all the more. I think sex is portrayed more realistically in YA (Shiver, Forever, Graceling, etc) simply because it's NOT glorified. Sex in adult lit is more of a fantasy. (Eric in the shower, anyone??) If my kids think sex is the way it is for Sookie and the Desperate Housewives, then they're going to be very confused someday. Sex is wonderful, but it's not EVERYTHING, and I think when it's handled honestly in lit then it's giving me an opening to be truthful with my kids in ways I might just avoid otherwise.

    Thanks so much for reading!!

  16. Thanks, Katarinas Mama, Rain Storm and Leigh!

    Leigh--I think you hit it on the head with sex in adult fiction being more of a fantasy nature.

    To me it's like most things in literature--it shouldn't be gratuitous or used simply for titillation--it needs to be a logical part of the character's development (and work correctly in their evolution/character arc).

    Thanks, gang!

  17. I really enjoyed this blog.
    You guys nailed the topic right on the head.

    Shiver was amazing.
    Jace and Clary deffinitely need some doin' it.
    (If I don't see some of that in CoFA, I will throw it at a wall)
    Wake trilogy was also amazing.
    Breaking Dawn needed some details!

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  19. ROTFL! This is just fantastic and spot on! Seriously, Jace and Clary? Who didn't love The Seelie Court Chapter in CoA? "The kiss that will free the girl is the kiss she most desires. Only that and nothing more" - Queen of the Seelie Court


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