Jo Stapley runs the UK blog Once Upon A Bookcase and is holding a month dedicated to examining the topic of sex in teen literature. There’s some fabulous reading here, people – reviews, interviews and opinions. Space has also been given to the topic of sex crimes, and I was interviewed by Jo because she has read and reviewed RAW BLUE, which not only deals with the aftermath of sexual assault, but has a story line that involves the main character reclaiming her own sexuality through eventually having a healthy sexual relationship. A couple of quotes:
… it occurred to me while writing it that the most powerful thing Carly was going to do was reclaim her own sexuality. And she does that. But she can’t until it’s with the right person. Ryan does earn her trust to an extent, but I also had the feeling that there was a strong sense of urgency for her. I didn’t want her to exhibit perfect, socially approved, ‘good girl’ behaviour. I wanted her to be real. Real is helpful to the reader. Perfect just makes people feel like they fall short. I’m not interested in perfect at all. It doesn’t exist.
With regard to sex in teen fiction: my view is that in a world full of porn, there is a definite place and need for stories that deal with sex as openly and honestly as possible. I’m not sure what the stats are in the UK, but here, in Australia, the estimate is that by the time boys reach fifteen, 100 per cent of them have viewed violent pornography (Courier Mail, 20 September, 2015). I think we need stories that illustrate what ‘real’ sex might be like, and also stories that make a case for intimacy.
To read the interview in full, please click here.