Do you remember reading FOREVER? If you, like me, were a teen in the 80s or 90s, Judy Blume’s depiction of teenage love and first time sex was monumentally important. We’d never read anything like it—realistic sex where nothing bad happened to the teens involved.
There is a lot more sexual content out there now, but teens, especially teen girls, are still turning to young adult novels for information. This is one of the reasons that my new anthology THE V-WORD includes a Q & A with teen librarian Kelly Jensen about portrayals of teen sexuality in media.
In a wide ranging conversation, we talk about the best depictions of arousal, body image, gender identity, female masturbation, queer sex, straight sex, rape culture, and enthusiastic consent. Throughout, Kelly recommends go-to titles for teens who want to know more about these issues.
In a recent review on NetGalley, Melanie P. wrote:
I also loved the Q&A after the seventeen essays in this book. Kelly Jensen’s answers are so amazing, and I aspire to be more like her. She is so strong, and such an amazing voice for every young woman out there. I can’t recommend this book enough, just for the Q&A session at the end alone. I truly do believe with all my heart that this is a book all young girls would benefit from reading, because this book explores what schools and other outside sources are not going to teach you.
Recently you may have noticed a plethora of posts from me that feature a beautiful book with a canoe on it…
I know, I know!
I’ve been talking a lot about THE WAY BACK FROM BROKEN. It’s not every day I get to publish a novel, especially one that is drawn from such a personal and painful place. It’s been humbling and inspiring and amazing to share the book and to hear from readers, and you’ve all been very indulgent of my shameless self-promotion. Thank you!
However, if you are tired of hearing about leeches and portages, you might be excited to know that change is coming…
I have a new book coming out on February 2nd and it has nothing to do with canoeing or grief (well, maybe a bit of grief).
THE V-WORD is an anthology of personal essays by women about first-time sexual experiences. The women who have written for this collection are smart and funny and insightful and phenomenally honest. I can not wait to share their stories with you.
Our goal in laying it all out there is to give teens a broad perspective on what real sex is like—sometimes awesome, sometimes not so much. The landscape of sexual experiences is broad, and we hope our experiences will help young women to chart their own course and claim their own sexual agency. After all, they are the ones who should be in charge of this journey.
So you can expect to hear me blabbing for awhile about THE V-WORD. I hope you’ll help me get this book into the hands of readers who need it. Thank you, my friends!
In case you missed this interview when it aired live on KPOV in Bend, you can catch it here. Thanks, Pearl, for having me on the show. It was such a pleasure to talk about THE WAY BACK FROM BROKEN and THE V-WORD!